Maintaining a healthy relationship can be hard work. It’s easy to focus on the fun and happy aspects of a relationship, but no one ever talks about the more difficult elements that ultimately provide a realistic balance. Not every couple goes through the same situation, but whatever is going on in your relationship, it’s important to be open and honest about it. Here is a guide to navigating some of those inevitable, cringe-worthy conversations with your main man or lady love.
The Sex Talk
Sex often plays a pretty significant role in keeping the flame alive. If your romance is new, you’re probably a bit unfamiliar with each others sexuality, and bringing it up can be uncomfortable for various reasons. But it’s important to know what you each like, and what you don’t like. Or, the reasons why you’re just not ready to do it quite yet. If you simply don’t know when to bring it up, try doing so during an affectionate moment or in a relaxed and private atmosphere. It can be scary and awkward, but also make sure you talk about any history of STDs and ask that they do the same. If you are unsure, go get tested.
The Ex Talk
At one point or another, you’ve probably been curious about who else has been with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Maybe you’re wondering where your honey picked up certain habits and notions, or maybe you’re just nosy. Either is normal and fine, but keep in mind that not everyone is comfortable disclosing details of their romantic pasts, especially not with their new loves. Feel free to ask questions, but remember there are answers to your questions you might wish you didn’t hear. If an ex of theirs is still hanging around or threatening your relationship, do not hesitate to address it. While jealousy can occur, don’t let it rule your actions and reasoning. It willy only lead to resentment.
The Future Talk
Do they want kids? Are they planning on moving across the country in a year? Do they plan on getting married? What do they plan on doing with their career? The future is somewhat scary to even think about, let alone talk about with your new romance. But, making sure that you and your partner want the same things is important. If you both of totally different futures planned for yourselves, chances are your probably not right to be with each other long-term. It can be a weird conversation to have because you don’t want to scare them off with pressures of the future, but there is no denying there is a bigger picture here.
The Family Talk
Chances are, if your relationship is serious enough, you’ve done the whole meet the parents thing. This can be nerve wracking because you want to make a good impression and hopefully display the winning qualities that made your boo fall for you in the first place. Unfortunately, sometimes putting your best foot forward isn’t enough. Establishing are good relationship with their fam squad can take time, but if something about your almost but not quite “in-laws” bothers you, say something. The fact that you were introduced in the first place means their presence matters, so don’t be afraid to be honest. Things can get very ugly if the situation bottles up and your bae feels like he/she has to choose between you and “them.” Remember it’s their family, so be respectful and mature with whatever you put on the table.
The Friend Talk
On occasion you probably interact with each others’ friends. Sometimes problems arise as a power struggle ensues. The friend(s) might think that since they’ve known your guy or gal longer, they have exclusive rights to time and attention. Maybe one is rude and disrespectful, or just makes you uncomfortable. Perhaps they act totally different around your boyfriend/girlfriend. Because your SO is conditioned to their friends they might not pick up on it. Talk about setting boundaries and individual hangout time. It’s important to keep a sense of self even when in a relationship, but it never hurts to know how to have a good time as a group.
The Problem Talk
Bringing up something that bothers you about your love is undoubtedly stressful. Did your partner like a selfie of an ex on the Insta? Does he have an annoying habit of leaving the toilet seat up or procrastinating on important things? Does her constant need to critique everything you do drive you up a wall? You’re probably holding off on bringing it up, because although certain things bother you, you don’t want your darling to read too much into it and feel badly about his/her self. When mentioning their crazy habits, note it calmly and ASAP to avoid an explosion of frustration. Don’t add anything uneccesarily hurtful, and don’t take it as an opportunity to bring up past mistakes. Be kind about it, and if it ends in a fight, cool off, hug, kiss and then have some great make-up sex.
The Final Talk
One of the hardest realizations to face, and probably the hardest conversation to have is a breakup. Not all couples last forever, and unfortunately the end is too often painful. If you’re going to have this conversation, make sure you mean it, because the consequences can be irreparable. Rarely is there a simple way to do this, because every relationship is unique and feelings aren’t always completely gone. Don’t act like everything is fine leading up to this, because clearly things aren’t. Have this conversation face to face, be clear about your reasons why. Be ready for heavy emotions and tears (or lack of), and prepare yourself for the aftermath. Remember, a breakup is rarely pleasant, but it’s much better than staying and ultimately living a lie. It’ll be better for both of you in the long run.
Kendra is an English major at St. John's University, totally embracing life as a student and finding herself along the way.