Whether you've been with your partner for five weeks or five years, there will always be relationship conversations that feel slightly awkward. Even if you're both open and comfortable with each other — as you should obviously strive to be — everyone has one topic or another that strikes a nerve, or feels weird to talk about. It might be related to issues with sex or money, or whether or not to have kids. And yet, awkward or not, these are topics you should bring up eventually if you want to have a solid, loving, and trusting relationship with your SO.
Of course any issues in these areas should be discussed, ASAP. But it can also be helpful to check in with your partner in these areas, if you aren't currently having a problem. "Regularly having difficult conversations is one of the healthiest things a couple can do for their relationship," family law mediator Ivy Roberts tells Bustle.
If you can a) sit down and talk about awkward things and b) come out of it with a better understanding of each other, how can you not feel closer to your partner as a result? Read on for some topics and areas of concern you'll want to chat about, all in the name of a healthier relationship.
1. Whether Or Not You Want Kids
For some couples, any conversation about kids can feel downright scary. But I promise, if you have this chat, you will feel closer as a result. So sit down and discuss whether or not you think kids are in the cards. And if so, when you'd like to make it all happen. "There are so many things to think about," psychic and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport tells Bustle. "There is a lot of juggling that has to happen, [so] this can really bring a couple together."
2. Where To Go On Vacation
Depending on your likes and dislikes, it can be tricky to figure out, as a couple, where to go on vacation; not to mention what you'll do once you get there. Figuring it out together, and making sure you're both happy, can be quite the bonding experience. "Making a list of all the places and things you want to do can be fun," Rappaport says. "You can sort things out and prioritize your dream locations and start planning not only your upcoming vacation, but make a list of your next two or three vacations. Compromise should also be part of the discussion when you narrow things down."
3. How You'd Both Like To Navigate Family Conflicts
It's never fun to bring up family conflict, especially if it's really in-your-face and dramatic. Not only should you figure out, as a couple, how you'd like to navigate the turmoil, but discussing it can truly bring you closer together. As Roberts says, "It provides couples with a foundation of trust that they can work through difficult situations." And that makes it totally worth it.
4. What Your Shared Goals For The Future Should Be
If you two just got together, it can feel weird discussing what you'd like to do next weekend, must less the next five years. But chatting about the future, and what goals you'd like to reach together, is an important convo to have. "When couples sit down and discuss what they would like to achieve in their future, they create a blue print or compass for making decisions and prioritizing time and resources," says Roberts. "The process of working towards a goal, accomplishing, and sharing in the reward brings couples closer together."
5. How You'd Like To Merge Your Money
Whether it's splitting the bill on a date, or opening a joint checking account, you will have to talk about money eventually. And yes, it has the potential to be awkward. "Conversations that tend to fall on the awkward scale are usually centered around money and sex," pre-marital counselor Hope Mirlis tells Bustle. "Since we are rarely taught about them by our parents or educators, we don’t know how to discuss them." That said, you'll still want to bring it up so that things remain fair and balanced in your relationship.
6. What You Do And Don't Like In Bed
As Mirlis mentioned above, anything sex-related can feel downright embarrassing. And yet, if you want to have a mutually fulfilling relationship, you're going to have to broach topics like monogamy, frequency of sex, what you like in bed, what you don't like, etc. It may feel weird and uncomfortable, but you'll be glad you brought it up. And you'll have a better sex life as a result.
7. How You'll Define "Intimacy" In Your Relationship
If you aren't on the same page when it comes to giving and receiving love, and what intimacy means to you both, it'll be difficult to have a happy, healthy situation. "Rarely do couples truly understand their partners thoughts, beliefs, and feelings about intimacy," clinical psychologist and The Web Radio Show Dr. Joshua Klapow tells Bustle. "More specifically, couples rarely are able to define intimacy the way their partner defines it. The day you understand explicitly from your partner how they define intimacy, examples of intimacy for them is the day that you understand your partner better."
8. How They Feel About Spirituality
While religion and spirituality may or may not be part of your SO's life, do you really know how they feel about it? "It's one thing to know if your partner is of a religious faith or not, but that again does not define what they think about spirituality, faith, higher powers, etc.," Klapow says. "If you learn about that from them directly, you'll know your partner on a much deeper level." So have yourselves a deep, spiritual chat. You may be surprise what you learn.
9. What Really Scares Them
Not everyone feels comfortable opening up about their deepest fears. And yet, if you can't tell each other, who can you tell? "I'm not talking about snakes or height," Klapow says. "What worries them? What concerns them? This conversation can be very awkward when it's not relating to a fight or a problem that is in front of you. Understanding on a deep level what your significant other fears in life — and not making an assumption about what that fear is — will bring you much closer to them."
10. Their Long-Term Hopes And Dreams
As I said above, you'll certainly want to have shared goals as a couple. But it's important that you and your SO have individual goals, too. "What do they hope and wish for out of life? The topic is so big that initially it will feel awkward, and maybe even silly," Klapow says. "But the question is, do you know?" Sharing these things with your partner, and supporting each other while you both achieve your goals, can truly strengthen your bond.
11. Where You'd Like To Live Someday
This is a hefty topic for new couples, but Rappaport tells me it's definitely one you'll want to have if you're planning on being together for the long haul. It'll give you a shared goal to work towards, and can open the door for even bigger topics of conversation, such as whether or not you'd like to get married.
Sure, these topics can feel awkward, for a multitude of reasons. But that doesn't mean they should be avoided. If you can bring them up and talk about them regularly with your SO, you'll have a happier, healthier, and closer relationship as a result.
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