Everyone from Oprah Winfrey, to Jeremy Kyle, to your local couples counsellor preaches about the importance of good communication in relationships. But we all know that there are some things that are more difficult to talk about than others.
We take a look at two of the most common ‘elephant-in-the-room’ issues faced by couples and suggest ways to put the unspeakable back on the table.
Dissatisfaction between the sheets
Sex isn’t always the exciting, fulfilling experience we see played out in the movies. But neither should it be a source of pain, shame and disappointment. From differing sex drives, to erectile dysfunction, to problems reaching orgasm, there are many reasons you may find yourself dissatisfied between the sheets, so it’s essential that you’re able to talk to your partner about this issue.
Here are some top tips for bringing up the subject of sex:
- Choose your timing wisely. Don’t start the conversation after an unsuccessful attempt to make love or when you’re likely to be interrupted.
- Make your case concisely. If you go on about your grievances for too long, your partner may feel like they’re being lectured.
- Ask follow-up questions like ‘do you agree?’ or ‘what do you think?’ to encourage your partner to open up.
- Be sensitive to your partner’s feelings. For example, if your partner is having difficulties with erections, it may be useful to do some reading about erectile dysfunction causes, and the treatments available before you talk to them.
From deciding who pays for dinner on the first date to whether or not you should open a joint bank account, making decisions that affect your finances can be tough. It’s harder still if you or your partner doesn’t like talking about money. However, if you’re in a serious relationship and want to save for a wedding, a big holiday, a house or a family, these kinds of conversations really can’t be avoided.
Here are some top tips for bringing up the subject of money:
- Don’t leave it too late. If your partner is a careless spender in the early days, don’t expect them to turn into an accountant when the time comes to save for a wedding or property.
- Be tactful. First-time discussions about finances can make people feel awkward. Salary and debt information is very private and some people can have a hard time disclosing exact figures. Think about how your partner might feel and respond accordingly. Avoid judgmental statements and questions like ‘I can’t believe you only earn X’ or ‘what kind of person gets in that much debt?’
- Make time to talk. Proper financial planning can’t be done on the fly. Take time to sit down with your partner every week or month to talk about your financial goals and how you’re going to reach them.
- Never start a conversation about your finances when you’re angry. If you think your partner is squandering money when you’re diligently saving for something you both want, arguing won’t improve the situation. Wait until you’ve cooled down to approach them.