Dating is tough, because there's so much you don't know about the other person. Sure, you appreciate their great laugh and funny texts, but will you really get along for the long term? And how can you tell, once things have moved along a bit, that this really is "the one?" Essentially, if you’re with your soulmate, you’ll be able to have these hard conversations at some point in your relationship.
Deciding when to have these tough talks is up to the couple, but it's often smart to make sure you are compatible on many levels sooner rather than later. If you're making a cross-country move for your job next year, but your partner is firmly rooted in your current town, that's something you need to discuss. Sure, sometimes these conversations don't go the way you want, and they lead to break-ups. But it's better to be honest and deal with the truth instead of sidestep the conversations and hope everything will magically resolve. (It won't.)
Of course, there's also something powerful about taking on these tough topics. Money, religion, and politics are just a few of the subjects many people avoid in polite conversation. But you and your SO have to dig in and see where you stand in order to test the relationship. You just might have more in common than you realized.
1. The Exclusivity Conversation
One of the first serious conversations a couple has typically involves defining the relationship. Talking about whether you're exclusive as a couple can be a nerve-wracking scenario for anyone, as evidenced by this column in Marie Claire that gave a man's perspective on the topic. But no matter how awkward it is, it's crucial to make sure you're both on the same page about the relationship's seriousness and exclusivity.
2. The Religion Conversation
For some people, comparable religious beliefs are a huge relationship "must have." It's important to be open about your religious beliefs and practices, particularly for interfaith couples, as Dr. Charles Joanides, a marriage therapist based in Newburgh, New York, told HuffPo. According to Dr. Joanides, one of the most common problems in his practice stems from couples not being honest with each other and with themselves about their religious differences. “Many end up sacrificing or compartmentalizing important parts of themselves to protect the relationship and/or keep the peace," he said.
If you have different beliefs, can you work together as a couple anyway? You should at the very least be able to have this conversation.
3. The Political Conversation
Things are about to get heated (and not necessarily in the fun way). When you like someone, it's common to assume they share similar outlooks about the way the world works. But that isn't always the case. Sure, it is possible for couples with mismatched political beliefs to maintain a relationship, according to The Spruce. However, this all depends on your particular beliefs, just how much they differ, and the importance of politics in your daily life.
4. The Financial Conversation
The money talk is so important. For many couples, it isn't so much about income or debt, but the way partners choose to spend or save money, according to the website for Forbes. A person who saves and tracks every dollar might not pair well with someone who prefers to spend more freely. There's a reason that, as CNBC reported, money is the leading cause of strain in relationships. But honest and open conversation is one way to ease that stress.
5. The Sex Conversation
Whether you're bi, gay, straight, asexual, or something else entirely, the sex talk needs to happen. In particular, discussing the type of sexual relationship you want with your partner is crucial, according to the American Sexual Health Association. The type of sex you enjoy, frequency, and any other pertinent information should be disclosed.
6. The Baby Conversation
Sure, you might not bust out a book of baby names on the first date. But it's smart to discuss your family plans before a relationship gets too serious, according to the website for Glamour. Making sure you agree about whether to have kids, as well as how many, is beyond important.
7. The Career Conversation
How much do you value your current careers? Is there another field or area of interest you're trying to pursue as a profession? Outlining your long-term career plans, as well as the likelihood of any major changes or potential moves, is only fair.
8. The Marriage Conversation
Discussing the "m" word can be a big thing for many couples. Talking about marriage doesn't have to be weird, or instantly lead to a proposal, according to the Date Report. If one partner does want marriage, and the other is iffy about matrimony, then it may be better to part ways.
9. The Living Space Conversation
You may not think dirty dishes would change the way you feel about a person, but they can. Allocating household chores fairly is one of the top issues in a successful marriage, according to the Pew Research Center. Sharing a space with all of your belongings, quirks, and one another can get testy.
10. The Family Traditions Conversation
If your families live far apart, you'll have to make some difficult decisions about traditions. Maybe you spend Thanksgiving at one family's home, and Easter at another. Or, you might begin your own traditions as a new family.
11. The Long-Term Care Conversation
It's a difficult topic, but one that affects many couples. How will you care for your parents as they age? Approximately one quarter of grown children care for parents either personally or financially, according to HuffPo. Review your thoughts on this long-term care, and make sure your expectations are compatible.
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