In our previous post, we talked about making sure you are comfortable with the “speed” or pace of your relationship. We know that this may not be a subject all of our readers are totally comfortable talking to their partner about, so we wanted to spend a post about how to bring up setting a more comfortable pace for you with your new partner. Keep in mind that these communication tips can be useful in other tough topics with your partner as well. Here are some pointers:
- Keep it “I-focused.” You may have heard this before, but this is a great communication technique to keep your partner from feeling blamed and accused. Instead of, “You are making me feel like I can’t spend time with my friends,” you can try “I feel like I haven’t been spending as much time with my friends, and I’d like to change that.”
- Balance the negative with the positive. You may have been an unknowing recipient of this technique from a boss, supervisor or teacher. In this conversation, you are trying to change a behavior of your partner’s, but it is probably not good for your relationship if they walk away feeling like they are doing everything wrong. Balancing your more critical statements with compliments can help to keep this from happening.
- Come up with alternatives together. This may not work for all of you, but it may work for some. Getting to the heart of why your partner is doing this action can help you brainstorm some alternatives together. For example, if your new girlfriend calls you too often for your liking, a possible solution could be scheduling a time to talk that works for both of you.
- Be open to questions. Everyone communicates differently, and your partner may not be totally clear about what you have just expressed. His or her questions mean that he or she is trying to understand and working on changing. It may be a good idea not to reference specific past examples of the behavior, but instead offer how you would like the behavior to be different for the future. This way, your partner understands, but doesn’t feel attacked.
- Be patient. Yes, it can be frustrating if you really like your new partner, but can’t stand this habit in your relationship. However, everyone comes from different backgrounds, families and cultures, just to name a few. It may be difficult for them to remember at first, but what counts is that they acknowledge your feelings and are trying to change.
Remember, there are things that are acceptable and there are things that aren’t. If your partner is threatening you, calling you names, or pressuring you, then you may be in an unhealthy relationship. Call, chat or text us if you have any questions.