Money, sex and babies-- got something to say? Here are some tips to help guide you through the conversation.
By Samantha Leal for TheNest.com
Everyone knows that communication is key to having a healthy and happy relationship. But how do you get rid of the icky and uncomfortable feeling you get when you just think about discussing some of the most integral parts of the relationship. That's right, we're talking money, sex and babies. Here are some tips from Dr. B. Janet Hibbs, family psychologist and author of Try to See It My Way: Being Fair in Love and Marriage, to help guide you through the conversation, sans tissues (or lots of wine!)
1) Have talking points and stick to them
Think through the points you want to bring up and try not to diverge from them. Instead, start with the most important issue at hand and ask your partner to do the same.
2) Remain calm
It sounds simple, but you'd be surprised how quickly a "discussion" can turn into a full-blown argument. The key is to remain calm; try to monitor the level of your voice and remember that your partner isn't a brick wall. They're going to have opinions and, no shocker here, those opinions may differ from yours. Always be respectful and listen attentively to what the other person is saying, even if you think that budgeting money for a boat is absurd.
3) Always be specific
Why do you want to have two children in the next two years? What exactly makes a joint account so deplorable? And why is your partner's attempt at a kama sutra move not doing it for you? Always give specific reasons for your position; it gives validity to your opinion by grounding it in real life, and helps your partner understand where you're coming from.
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4) Focus on what you have in common
Reexamine your conversation and point out any overlapping ideas. Do you both want big families but differ on timing? Are you both feeling a lack of sexual adventure in the bedroom? Do you both want respect for your purchases as well as financial security? It's these overlapping ideas that give you a starting point to work from in negotiating your lives together.
5) Identify any compromises
Maybe you think an annual vacation is a necessity while he believes in saving for a rainy day. The compromise: have a bigger vacation every two years, while enjoying affordable "staycations" in between.
6) Anticipate problems (and solutions)
If you feel like the discussion isn't getting anywhere, table the discussion for now. If your partner rules something out entirely and just fumes (or you do), it might be that he or she isn't being receptive because she just got yelled at by her boss at work, or because a project didn't go right or because he just woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Set up a new date and time to resume your discussion.
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