Talking things over together in a relationship can be tricky – particularly if you haven’t been talking properly for a while, or you feel hurt or angry with your partner.
However, if you do feel able to give it a go, these tips may be useful:
- Keep things relaxed. Hearing the words ‘we need to talk’ can make even the most laid-back person feel defensive! Framing things more positively can get things off to a better start. You might like to try something like: ‘I’d really like to talk about our relationship together when you have a chance’.
- Pick the right moment. Try to talk when things are going well, not badly. Bringing things up in the middle of an argument is only likely to create more conflict. If you introduce the topic when you’re both feeling good about the relationship, you’re more likely to move in a positive direction.
- Say how you feel, not how you think they make you feel.If you’re both simply trading blows and blaming each other for everything, you’re not likely to get anywhere. To keep things under control, it can be useful to use ‘I’ phrases (‘I sometimes feel worried that’) rather than ‘you’ phrases (‘you always make me feel worried because’).
- A conversation has to go both ways for it to work. If what your partner has to say is difficult to hear, try to stick with it. Try to start by acknowledging their perspective may be different to yours.
- You could even plan. It might sound a little clinical, but it can be useful to think beforehand about what you want to say. That doesn’t mean preparing a shopping list of grievances, but just gathering your thoughts on what you want to talk about.
- Come back to it.These things are rarely solved in one chat. It takes time and effort to work on relationship issues, so you may need to revisit things in a month to see how you’re each getting on. After a while, this kind of conversation will seem much less scary!
If you’d like to chat with one of our counsellors about your relationship why not give our friendly appointments team a call on 01234 356350.