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The best way to have a tough conversation with your partner.

Relationships are tough.

You can't read your partners mind and have to rely on your partner to communicate to you their needs, wants, dislikes, expectations, etc.

Unfortunately, relationship conversations can be uncomfortable when unsure of your partners reaction; however, necessary to improve and make the relationship healthier.

Having regular conversations with your partner increases connection, assurance and reduces the opportunity for misunderstandings, assumptions and disconnect.

Here's the best way to approach having a tough conversation:

Tough conversations can elicit a range of emotions. If the conversation leads to anger, hostility, or one person shutting down, I recommend taking a break and restarting the conversation when you and your partner have cooled down.

Make sure you both are prepared to speak candidly about your feelings. To do this, practice active listening and use “I statements.”

Here is an example of active listening:

“I think you are saying I am not present in your life. Did I understand that right?”

Here is an example of I statements:

“I feel sad that we no longer spend quality time together.”

Most importantly, be patient with one another, monitor your tone/body language and seek compromise together.

Tough conversations are necessary and occur in every relationship. Consistent effort and commitment when the conversations are tough or not, will help your relationship go the distance.

If you are unable to navigate a tough conversation with your spouse, I recommend reaching out to a professional to assist with your needs.

Tracy Cooper is a Licensed Professional Counselor and the co-owner of Fit Therapy of Texas, where she helps couples and individuals to reach their goals. She understands the work required to maintain a healthy relationship and enjoys helping couples keep or regain their relationship.

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