Love Talk

When you’re contemplating getting into a romantic relationship, you might consider having the Love Talk with your prospective mate, and if you’re already in a relationship and you haven’t had the Love Talk, yet, do it tonight.

Tonight is the perfect night to go out to dinner and have the Love Talk.

What should you include in the Love Talk?

Here are some ideas to include in your Love Talk tonight:

Where are we going?

Ask your prospective partner what he or she thinks this relationship is leading to? It may be awkward, but you should get your expectations about this relationship out on the table, and you want to know what your partner’s intentions are. If you can the two of you are going to be together, ask your partner, “Where do you see us in five years?” Then ask yourself as well.

What about the Benjamins?

Money is the number one reason relationships break down and fall apart. Talking about money issues at the outset of a relationship can help to avoid the pitfalls and incongruency about finances in the future. Know which money type you are and get to know about your partner’s relationships with the greenbacks. Don’t be shy about asking about bankruptcy, outstanding student loans, and other financial obligations.

Want to have sex?

You want to establish the parameters of your sexual relationship as soon as possible. If you are intending to be in a monogamous relationship you need to be open about this with your partner, and you both need to agree that your relationship is exclusive and includes monogamy. Otherwise, if no clear definition is agreed to, there is no injustice of infidelity if one of you engages in the sex act with someone else. Also talk about other things regarding sex, including expected frequency and fantasies (you don’t want to be surprised when your partner brings someone over to have a threesome). You want to be a match in the bedroom.

How are we going to communicate?

Communication, or the lack of it, is another leading cause of the deterioration of an otherwise healthy romantic relationship. Talking about how you might handle challenging or difficult conversations in the future can put you miles ahead of others who struggle to talk about things when the going gets rough. Create a safe process in advance. Make a plan that you can refer to in the event (when) the need arises to have an important but uncomfortable conversation.

What was life like growing up?

Talk about it now with your partner over dinner, or later in the therapist’s office at a high hourly cost, and possibly at the cost of your relationship, as the way we were brought up, our experiences with friends, relatives, and previous lovers, all have an impact on how we love someone else in our closest of relationships. Be open, compassionate, non-judgmental, and aware. This information can be invaluable in helping this relationship move forward in a positive energetic flow, or give you clues to seeing trouble ahead so that you can be prepared to handle things better if, and when, they come up.

Do you want to get married?

Knowing whether either one or both of you have a desire to marry someday can be important information to have early on in any relationship. Any way the balancing act goes, whether one does, and one doesn’t, both of you don’t want to marry, or both of you want to marry, just the establishment and knowingness of how it is can be extremely helpful. Even if it’s too early to know if you or your current partner are the participants in any given scenario, whether it includes matrimony or not.

It’s Not What You Say It’s How You Say It

Ever try to talk to someone, expressing an opinion that the person you’re talking to is not getting it? Not only is this person not getting it, they may have a completely opposite point of view. Once you’ve determined the person is not receptive to what you have to say, you might consider to assert yourself risking a full on debate which could lead to war, or clam up and walk away in an effort to avoid any potential conflict.

It’s Not What You Say,
It’s How You Say It

On the other hand, you can assert your ideas, concepts, and beliefs in such as way so as not to alienate the person (or people) you are trying to express your ideals to. I think finding a way to speak your truth is important. You need to say what you need to say but say it in a way that it won’t turn someone away.

You need to possess the self-confidence to assert yourself in certain circumstances. For sensitive or introverted personality types this can be a challenge. For those who are more sensitive, you need to get a grip on who you are. You are an amazing person who has been blessed with the opportunity to be here. You have accepted the life challenge which has brought you to this place and time to say what you want to say. It’s up to you to accept the challenge and speak your piece.

You are a unique individual who has come to this planet a purpose, message, passion, and mission to share and fulfill. You came here with special skills and abilities, everything you could possibly need to achieve your highest and best, live a better life, your best life, and make the world a better place. Step into who you know you are and boldly go forth into the world, ready and willing to speak up when it is necessary or prudent.

It takes courage, and you can prepare for this higher level of sharing by practicing your sharing skills in private. Yes, just you and your mirror, or record your own audio and/or video. Review your delivery, and tweak accordingly. This can be a huge confidence-builder in terms of strengthening your assertion skills. Practice is good.

Defending your position, when you’re faced with someone with an opposing view is tricky business. This is where most people fall apart, isolate their audience, potentially bully, and prevent any hope of meaningful conversation. If you assert yourself too forcefully, the person you’re talking to is either going to post up for a debate or shut down. Anything you say after that is falling on dead ears and is not only a waste of your time; it is counterproductive because your defense tactic is too offensive. You’ve potentially hurt their feelings, bullied them, repelled your audience and sent them (metaphorically) running in the opposite direction that you intended.

Be mindful of the delivery of your message. Don’t raise your voice when you’re approached with opposing views, or use words or phrases that will alienate or put the person you’re trying to talk to on the defensive, such as tossing shoulds at your audience. “You should,” causes the person to position for battle. No one likes to be told what they “should” do, and just as importantly avoid using should-related terms, like shouldn’t, must, mustn’t, need to, has to, only if, or only when.

Awfulizing statements (a phrase coined by Albert Ellis) refers to words and phrases associated with the word “awful” which causes your audience to put on their armor and prepare for battle. Awfulizing uses the word “awful,” as wells as other words and phrases like terrible, horrible, it bothers me, I can’t stand it when, or I hate it, etc…

Don’t punish your listener by framing your message with punishment, even if it’s directed to others outside of the conversation. This is a sensitive topic of conversation which causes the listener to reach for weapons to ready themselves for battle, so avoid saying someone deserves to be punished, should be “taught a lesson,” or needs to know what it feels like. Including the damnation of others, or yourself.

Also avoid using constrictive or limiting words that are 100% exclusive, allowing no other possibilities, such as always or never.

Be open and honest without being offensive. You don’t have to be rude or resort to name-calling. Just say what you mean without compromising but do it in a kind and gentle manner. Assert yourself while remaining calm and centered as you share your message as you are being courteous, compassionate, and use a tender tone of voice, without having to be aggressive or disrespectful to your audience.

Try to speak the language of the person that you’re trying to talk to. Try to see your message from their point of view. Imagine what if might like to be this person, having lived the life they lived, dealing with circumstances and situation, which you may have no reference to. Consider having walked a mile in this person’s shoes. Then think about what presentation might be the best approach for trying to compassionately communicate with someone like this.

Listen to your audience’s opposing view with compassion, essentially seeing it with their eyes, from their point of view. Seek to understand first, then ask yourself, “If I were this person, what would I need to hear?” How would you need to hear it in order to be the most receptive?

It’s so important to say what you need to say, because if you don’t you give away your power and deny your divinity, So, say what you need to say but say it in way that you can continue to achieve your highest and best, live a better life, your best life, and make the world a better place.

We Need to Talk

“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.

We need to talk
We need to talk

Important Conversations

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.

Organic Conversation

We are unique life forms on this planet, with the ability to conduct incredible internal processes of thinking and maintaining energetic connections and we are so blessed to be able to exchange thoughts and ideas with each other via interpersonal communication. While we are learning that everything living (and elemental, which does not appear to be alive) maintains an energetic communicative connection, we possess an expanded capability for maintaining connection and communication via language and conversational speech which increases our ability to have even more meaningful relationships.

The ability to converse one with another brings the world together, and when I meet someone from India in Las Vegas and we can easily communicate because we speak the same language, the idea that “it’s a small world after all” resonates so clearly in that moment.

So, doesn’t it make sense to use our skills of verbal communication as much as possible?

With the proliferation of cell phones and their ability to exchange texts and images, our ability to communicate via the spoken word is diminishing. It might be time to review what your cell phone use says about you and consider reaching out to others in the 3-D world, it doesn’t take much effort at all.

If you look up from your phone, you might be surprised to see the myriad of opportunities available to practice your gift and skills of conversation with another human being, even though the tendency is to look up from the phone and avoid connecting with another person, even if it means fake texting or communication via your phone (fubbing).

I mean, you could practice your skills of verbal communication with inanimate objects, like (and you might have to start there, or you already be talking to your) stuffed animals, trees or rocks but they’re unlikely to respond to you in conversation. If they do, that is a conversation of a different type we can talk about later. And while you can talk to your dog, cat or other pet, it is still unlikely you will be able to hone your skills of interactive communication much.

So, think about putting your phone away and look around. I was in line at the store yesterday, and everyone in line was on their phone except for a young man with an armload of spinach. I might not have even noticed the boy if I was engrossed in my phone waiting for my turn to pay the cashier for my groceries. It turns out he was an 11-year-old grandson, running errands for his grandmother so that he could earn money to get a new video game. When I mentioned that he and I were the only people in line without phones, he said the only reason he wasn’t on his was because it was in his pocket and his hands were full with spinach for his grandma.

You could spark a two-way communication with as little as a, “Hello,” spoken to another person, though you run the risk of being snubbed (or fubbed) if the person is on their cell phone. It can be difficult to break through to interactive verbal communication with someone who has developed a dependency with their phone.

How does this happen? It starts with having the basic need of feeling connected to other human beings, so we text someone, comment or post a status update on social media. When we get a response, view, like or share, a shot of Dopamine is administered to our nervous system which makes us feel good. The feel good part is good but the downside of Dopamine is that along with it comes a craving, a need to have more. This is how Cocaine, or any other addiction, works inside our physiology.

Thankfully, reaching out via interactive verbal communication does not carry with it the same addictive quality but does satisfy our need for connection, so it might be worth giving it a go. If you try it, you might like it.

Try taking advantage of the many opportunities you have each day to strike up an organic conversation with someone you pass by on the street, or have a bit of fun with the cashier at the checkout stand. I love watching the expression of cashiers who are surprised to have someone actually try to engage in a brief conversation while they are trying to conduct their business in a trance state. Often their job requires they greet you as part of their compulsory duties, little or no response is necessary or expected. It breaks them right out of their trance when you respond with a complete sentence, or better yet a question. Try this live, unrehearsed organic form of entertainment… plus you will have connected with someone (even if only briefly) and may have even lightened someone’s workload that day.

While it is difficult to compete with the addictive qualities of our electronic devices, finding healthy ways to reach out in organic conversation can help enrich the quality of your life and potentially have a positive impact on the life of someone else.

The key is in the doing of it. Simply decide to start small. Leave your phone in your car while you shop. It will be there when you get back. This is a good place to start, to see if it makes you more aware of the real world full of people looking to feel connection (not the superficial faux-connection offered by our electronic devices) and connect a little bit. Just see if you can make eye contact, smile and say, “Hi.” You can feel the connection, even if that’s all there is to it.

You can ramp up the intensity, if you dare, by finding something about them (or what’s in their basket) to comment or compliment them on. If they take the bait, now you’re exercising your ability to engage in organic conversation. Congratulations.

To increase the quality of your organic conversation, think about engaging the energy of your heart in the communication process. If you have a general feeling that you have concern and/or genuinely care about the person you are talking to, they will be able to feel it in your words. And if you can maintain eye contact and pause to intently listen to their words as they speak, this intensifies the connection even more.

All it takes is a little practice and, who knows? You may find yourself not bringing your cell phone to restaurants or meetings. The possibilities are endless.

We are the only life form on this planet with the ability to experience real connection in face to face interactions with organic conversation. Let’s not let technology take it away.