Falling in love is a wonderful experience, but at some point both partners have to level with one another in the real world. Those conversations can be serious and heavy, but they're totally necessary. Really, if you're not bringing up these things with your partner, you might be sabotaging the relationship. But if you and your SO can have honest conversations about these topics, then you're probably doing pretty darn well.
Ideally, these topics will come up naturally over the course of your relationship. (No one has to dive into the super tough topics on a second date, and really, no one wants to.) Although discussing your philosophies on finance isn't exactly sexy, it's a great predictor for relationship success. "Research has shown that successful relationships are not those that necessarily have fewer problems, but those that have found effective means of solving the problems that come up," Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W. in Psychology Today. Making sure you're on the same page about these big topics, or that you can at least compromise on them, is so important.
Read on to review the topics you and your SO need to discuss at some point. Hopefully, you'll see eye-to-eye on these big things and continue having a great relationship.
Although you probably won't whip out old tax returns on a first date, the money talk does need to happen at some point. After all, financial stresses are among the biggest causes of divorce, as explained in The Independent. But how do you begin talking about such a heavy topic? One way is start with smaller topics, such as whether certain restaurants are within your budget, and gradually increase the level of money talk to match the level of the relationship, according to financial advisor Dave Ramsey's site. By the time the relationship is serious, hopefully both partners will be on the page when it comes to finances.
Every person's sexual needs are different, and the only way to learn more about them is by communicating. Talking about everything from sexual desires and preferences to STI history is crucial, according to the American Sexual Health Association. In fact, keeping up an ongoing, open, and honest conversation about the bedroom is a great way to make sure everyone's needs are considered.
Religion and spirituality is another big topic that couples might not want to touch right away. But it should be addressed at some point. "Some things are too big and religion is a very, very big issue. If two people aren’t on the same page, it can cause a crack in the foundation of the relationship," said psychotherapist Fran Walfish in Deseret News. Honestly acknowledging whether your outlooks are compatible in this area is crucial.
Deciding whether to have children is one issue that's difficult, if not impossible, to compromise on. "The part of you which informs the decision of whether you want to have children or not, I guess it can transpire into being a fundamental, irreconcilable difference, because some people are so firm in their position they aren't prepared to shift," said Jenny Douglas of Relationships Australia in HuffPost. Even if you both want kids, it's still important to talk about how many children you see in the future, and when to have them.
This is another topic that couples can't just take for granted. "If you don't discuss marriage before the question gets popped, you can't be sure you are both on the same page, wanting the same thing, and ready for that level of commitment," said psychotherapist and relationship coach Toni Coleman in Brides. Talk about when (or if) you want to get married, and what a marriage means to you.
Do you and your SO have plans to live in the same city? It's important to make sure both partners are content with living in the same area, unless you're comfortable with a more permanent long-distance relationship setup. Even if both partners are pretty settled in a particular city, career or family pressure can make a cross-country move necessary. It's a lot to keep in mind.
This isn't to say that you and your SO must share the same hobbies. In fact, it's healthy to have separate interests. "It’s not so much the case that couples must share hobbies and interests," said historian Stephanie Coontz in Quartz. "But it is essential to be interested in your partner, to experience joy in their joy." As long as both partners support one another's lifestyle choices, the relationship is probably in a great place.