A Therapist Advises All New Couples To Have These 3 Major Conversations
In romantic relationships, the quality of your communication defines the strength of your connection.
By Jourdan Travers, LCSW | March 13, 2023
Communication is the bedrock of any healthy relationship. Good communication in a romantic relationship can ensure a strong emotional understanding, essential boundary setting, better and quicker conflict resolution, as well as a great sex life.
However, establishing transparent and authentic communication with your partner can be a challenging journey. It requires you to put your ego aside, develop empathy, and have difficult conversations along with easy ones.
If you're not sure where to begin, here are three necessary conversations to have with your partner to ensure that your relationship is ready for the next step.
#1. The work conversation
We often skip talking about our work life in detail with our partner because we feel like it takes away from our quality time with them or that they simply wouldn't understand. However, research published in Current Psychology suggests that couples who have extensive conversations about work show significantly higher levels of relationship satisfaction than couples who don't.
"When spouses discuss their work with each other, they share information about their experiences, tasks, challenges, and their colleagues," explains lead author, Delia Virga. "This exchange of information helps to shape each person's understanding of their own work and the work of their partner and can influence their perspectives and attitudes about their jobs and careers."
According to Virga, this is especially necessary for women as they receive less support in marriages and long-term relationships as compared to their male counterparts. Men also feel less compelled to go out of their way to support women, as their own needs for support and understanding are usually overcompensated for by their wives.
#2. The lag conversation
Most people do not pay attention to 'transition' phases in their relationship – that is, phases when the couple reunites or separates. But, according to a study published in Couples and Family Psychology, these transitions, whether big or small, can have a negative impact on the relationship if not handled well.
Couples who are not able to transition between phases of being together and being separate smoothly suffer from 'relationship jet lag.' Reuniting after a long day of work can hinder you from being present with your partner during dinner, or separating after a beautiful weekend together might put you in a foul mood.
Talking about how you personally handle transition phases, especially if you are in a long-distance relationship, can help you understand your own and your partner's boundaries well.
You should let your partner know if separation is difficult for you so that they can carve out some time to make it easier for you. Similarly, conversations about hanging out with your own friends without your partner or having some 'me' time after a long work day must be brought to the table. Concerns that aren't vocalized go unaddressed and can put pressure on the fabric of your relationship.
#3. The sex conversation
Pleasure and sexual desire are often taken for granted in romantic relationships. However, the fear that most people feel of the 'flame burning' out is real. In fact, according to NYU professor Zhana Vrangalova, the likelihood of infidelity increases with time.
The risk of losing the spark can be brought down considerably by having open and vulnerable conversations about one's sexual fantasies and desires. Caring and communicating about your sex life keeps things dynamic. It is also a powerful way to keep novelty, one of the key ingredients to a good sex life, alive in your relationship.
Authentic sexual communication is part of the larger umbrella of sexual mindfulness, shown to increase pleasure and meaning in your sex life, according to research published in Sexual and Relationship Therapy.
Another positive outcome of practicing good sexual communication, according to research published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, is that you will not need gendered sexual scripts to navigate novel sexual scenarios. If there is one thing that makes things boring in the bedroom, it is monotony.
Being vulnerable with your partner is an ongoing process. The only way to keep discovering new things about your partner is to find time to focus your complete attention on them and say exactly what's on your mind.