Part of being in an
adult relationship is having the tough conversations. You may have fun together if you stick to the happy things, but you won't get to know each other on the deepest level possible. So, there are conversations every grown-ass woman should have with her partner.
"Honesty and vulnerability are key,"
health and wellness coach Caleb Backe tells Bustle. "If you can’t put yourself out there and tell the truth, then you may be two adults in a relationship, but it is not an adult relationship. These ideas should be addressed, even though it may be awkward. Better to be awkward and clumsy for a short time than ignorant and unaware for a lifetime. These topics of conversation will many times present themselves organically. Address them in their proper time and place. Don’t make any assumptions. Talk things out. We all require training, actual training, in how to live and love our partner. There is no shame in admitting that."
If you're truly in a healthy relationship, you and your partner should be able to talk about almost anything, so don't be afraid to bring any of these topics up. If you find out you're incompatible, at least that's better than going years without knowing. Here are some conversations every grown-ass woman should have with her partner.
Where You Stand On Social Issues
There are some issues partners can disagree on and still have a healthy relationship, and there are some they can't. Those pertaining to how people are treated in society tend to fall into the latter category. If
you're a feminist and your partner's not, for example, you may constantly feel disrespected by them. Figuring out where each of you stands early on will save you arguments down the line.
How Much Space You Both Need
"I think one of the most significant discussions a couple can have in order to build a mature, healthy relationship is the one involving subjects related to personal freedom and privacy," Lucia Grosaru, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist and author of the
Psychology Corner blog, tells Bustle. "It’s great to share your life and experiences with someone, but independent, mature individuals also know how to assert and protect their right to individual freedom and privacy. Setting healthy limits signals a trust-based environment. Respecting those limits generates even more trust in return. The same thing happens when partners understand and support each other when it comes to interests and goals that are not necessarily shared."
Dealbreakers need to be discussed so that expectations are known — and these boundaries need to be upheld," Certified Relationship Coach Susan Golicic, PhD, founder of Uninhibited Wellness, tells Bustle. "Needs and dealbreakers encompass things like having a family and financial issues — so that covers the typical kids and money discussions."
It's better to know what you're both expecting from your relationship before it reaches the point to actually pursue these things. "For a relationship to grow and strengthen, partners should discuss the goals they have for their future and their values," says Golicic. "These are important to determine there is a long-term match between the two. They should also discuss their needs and how those can be meet in the relationship — if one partner can't meet the needs of the other, the relationship won't last."
As a relationship progresses, your finances may merge, which can lead to conflict if you disagree on how to spend it. In fact, money is one of the
most common things couples fight over. "It's often the last thing people want to discuss because it seems very unromantic especially early on, but it's critical to understand how your partner views money and plans to use it long-term (and how they expect you to use money)," Emily Shutt, a certified life coach focusing on financial empowerment for women, tells Bustle. "When the dialogue is respectful and inquisitive rather than accusatory, you'll get to know your partner (and yourself) a lot better and will learn how to approach life as a team. Mature couples handle money conversations gracefully and even learn to like them, because it becomes more about building a future together than about shaming your partner for something they spent money on."
"If you know for sure that you want kids or don't, this is a key discussion to have right from the start,"
Lisa Concepcion, Certified Relationship Coach and Founder of LoveQuest Coaching, tells Bustle. "Oftentimes people make the mistake thinking they can fall in love and then get the other person to see their side on the parenting coin. We see a lot of relationships go on for three years or so and then come to an end when both partners want different things in this critical life category. Parenting is a lifestyle and it's not for everyone. Knowing where you stand and then communicating that early on can save precious time and heartbreak."
Where Your Boundaries Are
We think of boundaries as sexual, but they're not always. "They can also just be things you do not like in a relationship," sexual educator and trauma specialist
Jimanekia Eborn tells Bustle. Eborn suggests creating a list of "things you like, things you may want to try, and things that are hard limits and you have no interest in." That way, you're both clear on what you are and are not OK with in the relationship.
Try bringing these topics up on your next date, or sitting your partner down for a conversation. The discussion itself will help bring you closer.