Bringing up your needs or addressing feelings when the person you're dating hurts you, can feel uncomfortable to many. You may feel anxious about confrontation. But how you communicate with each other during conflicts can make or break your relationship. You want to be with someone who can work through the stuff that's less fun to talk about. You need to feel safe and heard. In return, you too should offer your partner a safe space to be vulnerable.
Hard conversations are an investment into your relationship—when you go through the process of having tough convos and come to a resolution, you build trust and intimacy. You learn how to be better partners for each other. How someone reacts to you starting a hard convo says a lot about them, too.
Here are a few tips to help you have that hard talk.
Don’t wait for the ‘right time’
Ideally, bring stuff up within 24-48 hours of it bugging you. Of course, after you've had some time to regulate and collect your thoughts that is. It's okay if they're having a hard week at work or if their birthday is this weekend or if they're in a funk, as it’ll only get tougher the longer you wait to speak up. We are capable of dealing with difficult situations in various aspects of our lives.
Always be calm when you have these conversations
If you feel very emotionally activated, it's not the time to get into a difficult conversation. You'll have a harder time being heard and being able to hear them. You might end up saying things from a place of anger or sadness, and you might not even mean it. It is okay to say: "I need some time to calm down before we continue", and take a few minutes or a day to regulate and circle back to the conversation.
The right person won’t be easily put off
Speaking up can be terrifying. Some of us have been conditioned to repress our needs to make it "easier" for the other person to be with us. But know that the right person WANTS to meet your needs and show up for you. So, speak up and see what happens.
A few lines to help you get started
"There's something that has been on my mind that I want to share with you."
"This is hard for me to talk about, but I think it will help our relationship."
"I'd love to get on the same page about..."
"Lately I've been feeling...”
"I've noticed lately...”
Always talk in person or over the phone
No matter what stage of dating you're in, refrain from texting about your issues. The other person may be unable to comprehend your tone and feelings when communicating via text, which might result in serious misunderstandings. Talking in person or on the phone is advisable.
Speak in “I” statements
" I feel X when you do/say Y."
" I need X from you when Y happens."
" I would feel so loved if you did X more often."
" I want to do X with you because it makes me feel Y."