You're in a relationship. You're having an awesome time. You're in love. And now, you find yourself wondering how to talk to your boyfriend about the future. It can be a scary time, because you're wondering if your partner feels the same way about you, while also maybe wondering exactly how you feel about them. A lot of times, we don't have it exactly worked out in our heads how we want the future of our relationship to look, but we do know that we want to have a talk with our partner.
I am a kind of an outlier in this situation because my husband and I got married within eight weeks of our first date. So even though there was a future talk at some point, there wasn't the normal transition most couples go through when deciding how to talk about their relationship.
That said, though, we did have to learn pretty quickly and early on how to approach topics that may feel difficult in our relationship. And talking about your future with someone can be quite nerve-wracking if you aren't already sure that the two of you are on the same page.
Fear not, though, because there are some easy tips you can follow when chatting to your partner about the future. Above all, remember that it's just one talk — it won't make or break you. Here are some other things you can do.
1. Be Honest
First and foremost, be honest. There's no point going into a serious relationship talk with your partner if you are going to hold things back. I know this is scary advice. You're probably thinking, "Well, what if they don't want what I want? What if they think I'm nuts? What if they think it's too serious?"
Well, what if? If any of those things turn out to be true, you can either find a way to deal with it in the relationship or realize they aren't for you. You aren't going to gain anything by being shifty with what you are actually looking for. Therefore, the best thing you can do in a talk with your partner is be honest.
2. Focus On What You Want
It can be easy to let one of these serious relationship talks devolve into ways you are not fulfilled by your partner. Don't let that happen. Instead of focusing on things you already know your partner may not be able to provide for you, focus on what you are looking for out of the relationship.
If you are thinking about engagement and marriage, then say that. Don't say, "I know you don't really want to get married, but..." If you are looking to just define boundaries, then say that.
It's going to be hard to do this next one, but trust me when I say one of the best things you can do is relax. By getting tense, you are more likely to have an emotional outburst, say something that hurts your partner's feelings, or give ultimatums. None of these things are going to be good for your relationship in the long-term.
While it feels tempting to have a, "I can't believe you just said that!" moment when your partner has just said they want something completely different than you, resist the urge. Instead, keep cool, calm, and collected, and let the conversation flow naturally.
4. Be Open To What They Want
Athough you will be trying to keep the discussion focused on what you want, make sure you also remain open to what your partner wants. You'll both have a chance to talk during this serious conversation, and when your partner talks, make sure you actually listen.
Too often, after we've said what we've wanted to say in serious relationship discussions, we sort of zone out and don't hear what our partner is saying to us. This can happen whether they want the exact same things or whether they are saying something hurtful.
It's not a productive situation for anyone, becase in order to come to a solution, you have to be willing to listen. Make sure you stay open to what your partner wants, even if it's not exactly what you want to hear.
5. Don't Overreact
Don't. Get. Mad.
You are supposed to be talking to your partner about the future of your relationship, and you are doing so because you love them and because you want a future with them.
By getting mad, you're signaling to them that you just want what you want, and if they don't fit in that picture, so be it. That's not the vibe to be giving in a conversation like this. Although you may have your feelings hurt at some point, stay focused on the discussion at hand and remember to stay loving and respectful.
You can set aside time to think about the conversation later, and then, if you have to get privately angry, do it. But keep all of the conversations with your partner productive.
6. Trust Your Gut
Does it feel like your partner is being honest with you? Or does it feel like they are holding something back? Is what they are saying something you already knew?
In a conversation like this, it's important not to read too far between the lines, but it's also really important to trust your gut. You'll know how it feels when your partner says they can or can't give you what you want. And you'll know if you already saw it coming.
If your partner is making promises you think they can't keep, don't argue with them. Just let your intuition figure out what you need. You may end up living happily ever after, or you may end up going your separate ways.
7. Decide If You Can Live With The Outcome
No matter how the conversation goes with your partner, it's up to you to decide if you can live with it.
If you said you wanted to get married within a year, and your partner didn't feel the same way, well, there's nothing you can do but either choose to accept it or choose to end it. You won't get anywhere by arguing constantly with your partner. Instead, you might just destroy the relationship you already had.
Are you going to change your mind about what you want? Probably not, so why would you think your partner is going to suddenly? Not only that, but keep in mind that what you want isn't necessarily the right thing. It's just what you want.
Marriage and a future aren't inherently good or bad, and there are different paths for different people, so avoid treating your partner like a jerk just because you don't want the same things. Instead, decide what will be best for you and take that route.
Although it can be scary to have a conversation about your future in a relationship you really care about, there's no other way forward. Just follow the tips on this list and be sure to keep your cool.
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