How To Have A Difficult Conversation With Your Partner


How To Have A Difficult Conversation With Your Partner

We all know that a great romantic relationship is one of the best predictors of future happiness, yet most people never consider taking a class on love. Similarly, social skills are one of the best predictors of success in life, and yet you don’t see too many classes or schools on how to develop them. I find that fascinating.

You can get online guitar lessons, coding lessons, Instagram lessons but the thing that matters most is the very thing we work on the least. I suppose we think we all have social skills so they shouldn’t require effort, as opposed to the innate ability to perform surgery, which obviously requires schooling.

If you still think that social skills are innate, ask yourself if most people do this well:

  • Self-regulation: Self-regulation deals with your ability not just to know your emotions, but manage them. Sometimes that might mean handling them as they come up. If you get angry, knowing how to calm yourself down is important. However, it can also deal with managing the emotions you will face. If you know that stalking your ex’s Facebook is just going to make you feel bad, self-regulation would help you go do something to better your own life instead.

  • Motivation: External factors like money, status, or pain are powerful motivators…This means that you know how to manage your own motivation and create or continue projects because you choose to, not because something outside yourself demands it.

  • Empathy: It’s just as important to be aware of the emotions of others. This might mean developing the skills to recognize how people are expressing themselves — can you tell the difference between someone who’s comfortable versus someone who’s anxious? — but it also means understanding how other people may respond to the circumstances they’re in.

  • Socialization: This area deals with your ability to steer your relationships and navigate social situations. It doesn’t mean controlling others, but understanding how to get where you want to be with other people. That might mean conveying your ideas to co-workers, managing a team, or dealing with a conflict in a relationship.

Do you know many people who have this all down? I don’t. And I’m including myself here! I can stand to be a more empathetic and patient listener.

I can stand to be a more empathetic and patient listener.

The thing that most of my Love U students struggle with most?

“Constructively confronting somebody”

Until you learn how to have calm but difficult discussions designed to solve problems (instead of pointing fingers), you will struggle in relationships – either because you feel like a doormat or because your partner feels you’re a selfish bully.

“Dr. Ryan Howes, a clinical psychologist explains that it’s our own fears that keep us from confronting others. Our fear that we’ll lose something we have, that we’ll hurt someone we care about, or that it will hurt but accomplish nothing. One of the first steps to constructively confronting someone is to recognize that fear in yourself and identify the real issues that led to the conflict in the first place. If you’re annoyed that your partner forgot your birthday, for example, ignoring how you feel about it won’t resolve the conflict.

Once you’re ready, Gregg Walker, a professor at Oregon State University, recommends having the conversation when there’s time to discuss the issue, focusing on “I” statements like “I feel hurt that we didn’t do anything for my birthday,” and describing behavior and your reaction to it, rather than hurling accusations. Healthy confrontations require a fair amount of awareness of your own emotions, so this is a good time to practice that skill.

These are far from the only social situations you might find yourself struggling with, but the principles that can be applied are nearly universal. Acknowledge your own emotional state and manage your needs and feelings in a constructive way. Take the initiative to pursue the social outcomes you want, and empathize with others who are dealing with the same struggles you are. With practice, the rest of the complex nuances of social interaction will flow a lot more naturally.

I’ve written about this a few times before but still believe that the perfect person without these conflict resolution skills is bound to be a terrible spouse.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

Happy ClientsHappy Clients

  • Busola O.

    “I feel very fortunate that I gave him a chance and that he’s in my life. The best part is that there is NO DRAMA!”

    “Why He Disappeared” made me feel like I was in control of my love life and that it was not in control of me. Now I’m VERY happy with myself and my relationship. I can relax and not stress about the future, I’m enjoying the here and now and its so much FUN!

    Busola O.
  • Julie H.

    “Thank you, Evan, for enlightening me, having faith in women, and being honest with what ‘is’!!”

    The result of giving up the search for “why” is losing the worry, the wringing of the hands, the wondering if he will call, and all the stress and sadness that goes with the worry.

    Julie H.
  • Charlene J.

    “I cannot say enough good things about this man.”

    He is a beautiful person and he is so generous, affectionate, well spoken and accomplished.  He is tall and athletic and totally hot.  He is 53, but I am here to tell you 53 can be pretty damn impressive. All this from a woman who a year before had equated dating with despair, rejection and pain.

    Charlene J.

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<div class=’gf_browser_chrome gform_wrapper’ id=’gform_wrapper_27′ ><div id=’gf_27′ class=’gform_anchor’ tabindex=’-1′></div><form method=’post’ enctype=’multipart/form-data’ target=’gform_ajax_frame_27′ id=’gform_27′ action=’/blog/communication/how-to-have-a-difficult-conversation-with-your-partner#gf_27′> <div class=’gform_body’><ul id=’gform_fields_27′ class=’gform_fields top_label form_sublabel_below description_below’><li id=’field_27_1′ class=’gfield gfield_html gfield_html_formatted gfield_no_follows_desc field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible’ ><img class=”em-head” src=”//www.evanmarckatz.com/images/em-head.jpg” width=”120″ height=”120″> <p align=”center”>Evan Marc Katz</p></li><li id=’field_27_2′ class=’gfield gfield_html gfield_html_formatted gfield_no_follows_desc field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible’ ><center><br><br> <strong><span style=”font-size: 14px”>Are you sick of men not making an effort? <br><br> Are you tired of texting relationships? <br><br> Are you done with “Netflix and chill?”</span></strong><br><br> <span style=”font-size: 12px”>Sign up for this free email training and I’ll tell you the <strong>8 Massive Mistakes You’re Making in Relationships</strong> so you never end up feeling this way again. </span></center></li><li id=’field_27_3′ class=’gfield gfield_html gfield_html_formatted gfield_no_follows_desc field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible’ ><center><img style=”margin: 20px 0″ width=”131″ height=”190″ src=”//www.evanmarckatz.com/images/8-mistakes-cover.png”></center></li><li id=’field_27_10′ class=’gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_hidden_label field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible’ ><label class=’gfield_label gfield_label_before_complex’ >Name<span class=’gfield_required’>*</span></label><div class=’ginput_complex ginput_container no_prefix has_first_name no_middle_name no_last_name no_suffix gf_name_has_1 ginput_container_name’ id=’input_27_10′> <span id=’input_27_10_3_container’ class=’name_first’ > <input type=’text’ name=’input_10.3′ id=’input_27_10_3′ value=” aria-label=’First name’ aria-required=”true” aria-invalid=”false” placeholder=’First Name’/> <label for=’input_27_10_3′ class=’hidden_sub_label screen-reader-text’>First</label> </span> </div></li><li id=’field_27_9′ class=’gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below hidden_label gfield_visibility_visible’ ><label class=’gfield_label’ for=’input_27_9′ ><span class=’gfield_required’>*</span></label><div class=’ginput_container ginput_container_email’> <input name=’input_9′ id=’input_27_9′ type=’text’ value=” class=’medium’ placeholder=’Enter your best email address’ aria-required=”true” aria-invalid=”false” /> </div></li><li id=’field_27_5′ class=’gfield gform_hidden field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible’ ><input name=’input_5′ id=’input_27_5′ type=’hidden’ class=’gform_hidden’ aria-invalid=”false” value=’https://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/communication/how-to-have-a-difficult-conversation-with-your-partner#comment-7588322′ /></li><li id=’field_27_6′ class=’gfield gform_hidden field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible’ ><input name=’input_6′ id=’input_27_6′ type=’hidden’ class=’gform_hidden’ aria-invalid=”false” value=’https://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/communication/how-to-have-a-difficult-conversation-with-your-partner’ /></li><li id=’field_27_11′ class=’gfield gform_validation_container field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible’ ><label class=’gfield_label’ for=’input_27_11′ >Comments</label><div class=’ginput_container’><input name=’input_11′ id=’input_27_11′ type=’text’ value=” /></div><div class=’gfield_description’ id=’gfield_description__11′>This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.</div></li> </ul></div> <div class=’gform_footer top_label’> <input type=”submit” id=”gform_submit_button_27″ class=”gform_button button om-trigger-conversion” value=”Sign Up Now” onclick=’if(window[“gf_submitting_27”])return false; 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