OK - So I’m talking to this woman I met yesterday who is telling me about what a great marriage she has, and I ask her, “What is your biggest relationship challenge?” (You can see now why people don’t invite me over for dinner….!)
So she tells me, “Well I’m afraid to bring up uncomfortable subjects.”
“How long have you been married?”
“OK”, I say. “So how “hot” is your relationship? How much “juiciness” is there after 30 years?”
“You mean sex?”
We haven’t had sex in 10 years!
“Is that OK with you?” I asked.
“Well, not really… but I don’t know how to bring up the subject!”
OK, obviously I am making a point here…
More from YourTango: The Absolute Best Communication Advice
You may “get along” and “keep the peace” by never talking about anything real. That’s what I call “false harmony.” So we have this surface impression of harmony but there is no passion.
One of the most important relationship skills (both in close personal relationships as well as work relationships and other family and friend relationships) is how to talk about what is true. It’s important to really be able to name what is going on and then have a productive conversation that moves things toward real resolution. Not false harmony.
Couples struggle to talk about difficult subject and sex is one of those subjects. So if there was a way to talk about difficult subjects effectively would you want to know what that is? If you’d like to learn how to have those kinds of conversations so that you are less afraid to bring them up, join me in my Lifetime Love Affair Formula: 6 weeks from Fizzle to Sizzle.
More from YourTango: The Best Sex Advice You'll Ever Get
Have the Real Conversation
People avoid conversations because they don’t know how to have them and end up in conversations that spiral down rather than conversations that open up. If you want to open up a conversation here are a few tips:
1. Start by acknowledging that you feel uncomfortable or scared to bring this up.
Leading with your own openness and vulnerability helps create a space for your partner to open up into.
2. Acknowledge your partner’s positive intention if it’s something that they do or something that they did, that you want to discuss.
This will reduce defensiveness in them and make it safer for them to have the conversation.
3. Talk about yourself and how it impacts you, rather than what they should do differently.
Always a good idea to stay out of the “telling someone what they should do” game. Instead of saying what they do or did wrong, talk about how it impacts you personally.
4. Turn all complaints into direct requests for action.
Underneath every complaint about what is not wanted is a hidden gem: a request for what is wanted. Instead of complaining which has a negative energy to it, make direct and specific requests for exactly what you do want.