Talking about ‘the relationship’
While it’s lovely dating someone you connect with, there will inevitably come a time when you’ll want to sit down and talk about where it’s heading.
All through a relationship there’ll be times when you decide whether to go to the next level as a couple or to call it a day. In order to make this decision you’ll have to talk about the relationship you both have and if you want to make a commitment to each other. These conversations can be difficult but they’re an essential part of developing intimacy in a healthy relationship. Here are some things to bear in mind before you have ‘the talk’.
Get the timing right
There’s no point trying to talk to your partner about something as important as your future together if you know they’re distracted, rushed or tired. Try to leave these types of conversations until times when you’re both happy, relaxed and are feeling very connected.
Equally don’t try and pin someone down to specific plans too early on in the relationship. It could have the opposite effect and scare them away, rather than bring them closer to you.
Often these conversations will arise naturally so resist the urge to force the point. Bear in mind that as keen as you may be to know what’s going to happen next no one can see into the future – your happiness exists in the here and now.
What do you want?
In intimate relationships it’s easy to spend lots of time wondering how the other person’s feeling, what they’re thinking, and where they’re heading. Asking them to share their every thought with you is one sure way to put someone off. You may want the reassurance that a commitment from someone else can bring, but first you must know yourself what you want.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time? What are your dreams, goals and ambitions? Do you envisage your current partner in these plans?
Your future happiness is ultimately your responsibility. A conversation in which you share how you’re feeling will invite your partner to share their thoughts and feelings too. They may not know what they want and just feel happy to let things unfold. You need to ask yourself, is that ok for you?
Conversations like these may help you both see if you’re heading in the same direction without any pressure being put on anyone.
Women develop intimacy through communication while men develop it through action. A woman’s need to talk about the relationship may be interpreted by a man as her trying to tie him down – something most men resist. Most men prefer to feel they have won their partner rather than been ensnared by her.
A man’s unwillingness to talk about his innermost feelings and thoughts with a woman may be interpreted as a sign that he’s not committed to the relationship. It’s easy to see how people can be left feeling confused and frustrated. Remember your partner is not going to necessarily communicate with you in the way you would prefer but it doesn’t mean they’re not committed to the relationship; they may just have different ways of showing it.
Avoid criticising someone else’s way of showing their feelings. We all want to be accepted and appreciated as we are, rather than told our way of relating is wrong.
Show don’t tell
How people treat one another can demonstrate much more about how they feel about someone than what they say. When someone is impeccable with their word, treats their partner with respect, keeps their promises, and is loving and supportive, you know that they’re committed to the health of the relationship.
If your partner doesn’t treat you well, you’ll need to talk to them about it but be careful – they may say the right things but unless they start treating you better then their words mean nothing. Awareness of a problem needs to be followed by action not just swept under the carpet.
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