“We need to talk” are the most threatening four words in love and relationships. When you speak these four words to your partner his or her mind races wondering what he or she might have done wrong, when maybe all you wanted to do was to connect with your partner.
Then there are the more important conversations about you not getting your needs met. More likely you’re apt to say, “We need to talk,” when something is amiss.
Sometimes your need to talk becomes so great because you’ve bottled something up inside for so long that’s it’s reached critical mass, and you explode at your partner as you release all that pent-up pressure. To prevent this from happening, you need a solid plan for uncomfortable communication.
Let’s face it, you love your partner and don’t want to do anything to hurt him or her. You don’t want to confront your partner about anything that he or she might think of as “no big deal” when it’s clearly something that’s important to you, so you decide to brush it away and try to tell yourself that, “Maybe it is no big deal.” And the pressure builds the more you try to squash your feelings in the best interest of the relationship.
By the way, chances are, you’re partner feels the same way and is doing the same thing.
This is the destructive dance which erodes and can lead to your relationship’s demise.
When either of you reaches that point of, “That’s all I can stands and I can’t stands no more!” and you or your partner explodes in a fit of rage, the other gets defensive, accusations and disrespect abounds and the war is on.
This is why you need a plan to express your needs or what is bothering you far before your angst reaches the boiling point; the sooner the better.
Before you start to execute the plan, practice your love mantra, “I love my partner. I wouldn’t do anything to hurt my partner and he (or she) loves me and wouldn’t intentionally do anything to hurt me. No matter what, we always desire the best for each other. We love each other.” You may need to repeat these words to yourself throughout the planning process, and you will want to have them ready to use during the potentially difficult conversation.
Review what’s bothering you. Try to reduce it to a single cohesive and definitive sentence (or as few sentences as possible). Then imagine what your highest and best outcome might be. I mean, if you could have all your dreams come true about this situation or concern, what would it look like?
Remind yourself of your partner’s best qualities, what he or she brings to your life that you would miss if he or she wasn’t in your life (you might like to start off a difficult conversation by first saying these things to your partner, so that he or she know you mean no harm and respect him or her for what he or she brings to the relationship which is highly valued by you).
Next, approach your partner about what might be an appropriate time to have a chat. You might want to avoid those four words, “We need to talk,” and maybe discuss with your partner what might be a more non-threatening way to ask to have a talk. Let him or her offer up the words that might be more appropriate.
Keep in mind that your partner may not be ready to have this conversation now, even though you might be feeling it’s getting close to urgent. Allow your partner the space to pick a time when they can focus on you, your concerns and your relationship.
Be certain to allow enough time for this conversation. How much time you’re thinking it’s going to take? Multiply that two-and-a-half times. Because most likely you’re thinking about how long it’s going to take to express your concerns, but you’re not allowing enough time for reaction and interaction.
Be prepared for this to be a two-way street. When you express your concerns, there’s a chance your partner will become defensive of having some concerns of their own that they will want to bring up during the conversations.
Find a way to sit during the conversation that is not confrontational. Sit beside each other (not across from each other), face each other and try to maintain eye contact. Do not attempt to have a difficult conversation while driving. This could be dangerous.
Express your concern as well as what it might look like if you could have it any way you want it, then allow your partner to figure out a way to give you what you need. You might be surprised that he or she can find a way to give you what you need in ways you may have never thought of.
Leave room for full expression of feelings, and try not to berate each other for fully expressing emotionally. There may be a pressure that has been building up over a period of time, and this is a good way to release it. Try to be open, not to take it too personally, be forgiving, and compassionate.
Be willing to compromise, like, this is what I want/this is what you want. Let’s find a win-win solution that can give us both what we are looking for.
If the conversation is tarrying on and is taking longer than you expected to reach a resolution, no problem. Agree to take a break, resume your loving relationship, maybe take a dinner break, or have a good night’s sleep, and pick it up again later.
There’s no need to adhere to the old adage, “Don’t go to bed angry,” and fight it out when your energy reserves are dwindling. This is not the best approach. Agree to lay down your weapons and let it simmer, then pick it up again later, when you both have the time and energy to honor each other and work through this process with your greatest capabilities.
There’s no need to rush through this, especially if you have the rest of your lives to think about.
You can do this and your love can thrive.