Many of my friends are in serious relationships. Monogamous relationships over 1 year at the least and many of them find themselves thinking “Okay, so what’s next?” Many women have some sort of idea about marriage, kids, family, etc. But what happens when the male doesn’t want to address these issues or doesn’t feel ready? Most people get into relationships with the notion that there’s going to be some sort of future…but that’s not always the case. Here are some dos and donts for couple communication.
1. Do Attempt to Communicate– Communication is key in a relationship. Both parties should feel comfortable enough to talk about how they feel, what they want, what they like and dislike, etc. If only one party is doing all the communicating it can take a serious toll on the relationship. If your counterpart doesn’t feel like communicating nudge them gently, remind them that you care for them and you want to consider their feelings but it’s difficult when they don’t mention what their feelings really are. Whether they are good or bad, it’s better to get them out in the open.
2. Don’t be Pushy– Don’t be forceful in the things you want. Let them be known, but don’t intimidate or scare off your partner, especially if you aren’t sure of exactly what they want. I think we learned from Sascha that you can’t always put hard deadlines on love and marriage. Make sure you’re on the same relative page, but giving ultimatums and timelines makes the other person feel trapped.
3. Do Discuss Values– We’re all different, unique people with different upbringings, childhoods, and experiences. Personal values are extremely important, and although you’ve probably learned what your partner does and doesn’t value it’s important to re-affirm that before taking more serious steps in a relationship. For example, let’s say you’re the type of person who wants to share everything regardless of whom is generating income (joint bank account, bills, mortgage, etc) and your partner prefers things to be a little more independent from each other (personal accounts, splitting bills right down the middle, etc), this may be a serious point of disagreement in the future; addressing them now can be beneficial to both parties. Are they things that both of you can compromise on or are they “make it or break it” type issues?
4. Don’t be Defensive– You’re entitled to your opinions and beliefs but it’s also key to listen to the other person’s point of view. By acting defensive or closed-minded you’re not giving your partner a fair chance to explain why or what they feel. Come into the discussion with an open mind and try not to be stubborn or set in your ways as best you can.
5. Do Care– Many times when there are uncomfortable conversations or questions being asked some people instinctually act indifferent and say that they “don’t care.” This is not a suggested approach; acting or saying that you don’t care can be hurtful and inconsiderate to your partner. Not stating your opinions or feelings and having a “whatever” type attitude can really change the dynamic of the conversation for the worse. Now if you truly don’t care then that’s a totally separate issue which should be addressed ASAP.