How to have difficult conversations with your partner when you hate discord

It’s tough, yes, but also necessary.

Harper's Bazaar India

Communication is considered the most important thing in a relationship—something that’s the most basic requirement for it to be healthy. Even more so when you enter into a romantic partnership. You and your partner do so with a set of things in mind, including deciding how you both will be completely honest with each other. Of course, it’s all cute when you have to express love and start calling your better half ‘baby’ and go mushy about how much you miss them when they are not around. You even have these adorable little fights with them, possibly because they weren’t giving you enough attention that day or because they ate your cookie. Who cares? These are little hiccups that only add some romantic texture to your connection.

But what happens when the thing that is bothering you is not trivial? Many people hate confrontational conversations so much, they just keep brushing everything under the carpet. It starts to pile up until one day it erupts in a reaction that can be regrettable. Here’s where good communication and honesty can avoid this downturn as it involves talking about difficult things before they start seeming irreparable.

If you are someone who absolutely hates discord, here are tips that will help you have difficult, but meaningful and necessary conversations with your partner. 

Don’t delay it 

When something doesn’t sit well with you, it will bother you until you speak about it and find a mutually-feasible solution. But the first time it happens, people usually decide to tell their partner about it the next time it happens and guess what? It does! That’s when you try to convince yourself it’s not a big deal and you start suppressing your true feelings until you can’t do so anymore. So, let someone know what you feel in the first go, without sounding rude or dominating. In case it doesn’t get fixed, have a larger conversation. 

Give them the time to mentally prepare 

Your timing is immensely important when it comes to having a difficult conversation with your partner. These conversations may not go as planned and their first response may be defensive in nature. Good advice? Don’t just unleash these talks on yourself and your partner, especially at a time when something else may require focus. Instead, ask them when the best time is for this, so they too, can get into the right headspace to respond the way they would like. 

Don’t ruminate over what you will say 

If you are nervous about having a confrontational conversation with your partner, it is likely that you will think about what you have to say, much before you actually do. But if you overthink it, you may end up creating scenarios in your head and letting them drain you throughout your day. If something seems dreadful, just go through it once (when it actually happens) instead of several times in your head as this may make the issues seem scarier than they are. 

Actively listen to what they have to say 

Sometimes, you are so nervous about getting things off your chest that you focus only on that instead of actively listening to what the other person has to say. Ask your partner what makes them do the thing that bothers you or how can you both feel heard in the relationship. Let them offer a solution and also open up about the difficult conversations they may be avoiding. 

Never do it over call/text 

You won’t be able to understand a person’s tone, expressions and body language over a text. It’s also impossible to hug and make up over a text. Always leave these important discussions for a face-to-face interaction to minimise any chances of a misunderstanding. 

Don’t worry about being judged

It’s normal to want to be liked by your partner and you may be afraid that they may not be as affectionate with you after this or see you differently when you bring up a difficult topic. But if you see someone going quiet, remember people tend to retreat into their space to collect their thoughts and respond in a cool manner. They may take time to analyse how they feel and if your relationship is healthy and non-toxic, everything will be fine. If you are being judged for expressing your concerns, maybe you need to reconsider your relationship’s health status as a whole.