Taking the next step in a relationship can be such an exciting time. However, it also comes along with more responsibility and seriousness. This isn't a bad thing, but there are some key topics for couples to discuss before committing more seriously to a relationship. As long as you agree on these potentially touchy topics, then your relationship will likely keep growing stronger.
Whether you're considering moving in together, getting married, or taking on some other milestone (for some, it can even be the jump from casually dating to let's make this official), it's wise to make sure you're working toward the same goals. That means opening up conversations that most people would rather avoid. And really, simply being able to discuss these tough topics is a skill on its own. "Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, but how couples communicate during a conflict goes a long way toward determining whether the problem will be resolved — or if it will continue to fester and corrode the relationship," said professor of psychology David Ludden, Ph.D. in Psychology Today. If you and your significant other can take on these topics without flinching, then that's a pretty good sign for your relationship all on its own. So if you're ready to discuss the tough stuff, here are some of the potentially difficult conversations that couples need to have before getting super serious.
Discussing your sexual past with someone is one thing, but sharing your credit score is an entirely different level of intimacy. Although it might make your palms sweat a bit, sharing your credit reports with one another is a great way to get this conversation started. "This helps couples identify the debt in a very noncommittal, no-blame kind of way," said certified financial planner Kitty Bressington in Nerdwallet. "At this point, we’re not talking about budgets or eliminating debt." From there you can take the debt talk into whatever direction is needed.
2. Future Kids
Sure your partner is great at caring for their nieces and nephews, but does this mean they're itching to become a parent someday? In many cases, it's best to have the kids conversation before getting super serious with a partner. "If the person you’re dating doesn’t want kids and you do, this could be a deal-breaker," said couples therapist Jessica Schroeder in Stylecaster. "This does not need to be a first date conversation, but this topic should be talked about shortly after that, just to ensure you’re not on completely different pages." Because going by assumptions here could lead to future heartbreak, it's best to have a real conversation ASAP.
3. Risk Aversion
If marriage is on the table, are you both comfortable with the idea of a prenup? It can be a difficult conversation, although it's better to discuss long before wedding bells are ringing. "In fact, bring up the subject when you are still dating," said family law attorney Lisa Helfend Meyer in HuffPost. "That way, you can gauge your partner’s reaction to one." You'll get a better sense of how to proceed from there.
4. Financial Styles
It's also important to have an open and honest discussion about your financial styles in general. Is one person a saver, and the other a spender? How do you feel about combining all finances at some point in time? There are so many questions to consider around this (potentially fraught) topic. Thankfully, introducing topic of money does not have to be stressful. "Don't drop a bombshell on your partner and demand that he or she answer to you at that very moment. Start by saying something like, 'I've been thinking some about my financial future lately. I wonder if this is something that the two of us should talk about as we look toward the future together?'" said psychologist Dr. Amy Wenzel in YourTango. It can be a casual conversation whenever the two of you are ready. And honestly, if you can get through all of these tricky conversations, then you're probably ready for that next step after all.