The secret to having tough conversations with your partner

When you are involved with a loved one, why is it all the more difficult to communicate with them? Is it because the stakes are raised, and you have a lot to lose if there is miscommunication? Whatever the reason, conversations with someone who is close to you can be challenging, especially when the conversation is about a sensitive issue. These tips may help you communicate successfully.

1. Pick a calm setting for the exchange. Plan the conversation at a time when the two of you are not rushed, irritated, or too tired to really listen to each other. Don’t have it in the bedroom. Pick a neutral place where the two of you will feel comfortable.

2. Always, always, always…use “I” statements. We hear this a lot, but do we put it into practice? If you are feeling guarded, it is easy to slip into old habits that are accusatory. “When you do this __ (fill in the blank), this is how I feel.”

3. Don’t assume anything about how your partner feels. Yes, you have history together, but people do change. Don’t judge your loved one based on the past solely. If you know he is sincere about taking your needs into consideration, give him the benefit of the doubt.

4. Be ready to compromise. Think ahead…what are you willing to let go of, and what is non-negotiable? Give and take is the name of the game. Be ready to let him know you are looking for what’s best for both of you.

5. Remember, love is the root of your relationship. The most important thing that sustains relationships is the love underneath all the mundane concerns of life. Keep that in mind as you discuss the issue. Remember how much you really love your partner, even if you are having a disagreement.