Anxiety is normal in any relationship, particularly when it comes to broaching certain sensitive conversations. But it doesn't have to be. The only reason we get anxious about broaching certain topics with our partner is because romance is placed on such a pedestal in our society. Our whole self-worth becomes tied up in how the other person sees us. That makes for an exhausting way to live. This fear is what prevents people from discussing all the "awkward" things to talk about — matters that are definitely going to have an impact on relationships. That leads to more time spent in the anxiety-inducing unknown, more time worrying over how your partner is going to react, and less time sharing and communicating with your partner and receiving emotional support, which are basically all the reasons why you would be in a relationship in the first place.
Fears don't go away on their own. You do have a choice, though, when it comes to how you want to deal with them. You can either face them head on and confront them in conversation with your partner, or you can ignore them and wait for them to build up. My recommendation? Don't let your fears go untended too long, or they'll find other ways to wreck your relationship.
Here are some unnecessarily "awkward" talks you and your partner might need to have:
1. Your Sexual History
The past is the past, and yet it still can have an influence on the present. While your partner should not be asking invasive questions that would cause you discomfort, it's definitely important to have a clear and open conversation about people you've dated, your sexual bill of health, and what you learned from those experiences.
If you don't talk about your sexual history, it will make it that much more uncomfortable when you or your current partner unexpectedly run into an ex, and can even lead to jealousy or suspicion. I'm all for a little mystery, but when it comes to your past lovers, transparency is way sexier.
2. Your Pleasure During Sex
If you can't talk about what does or doesn't feel good with the person you are having sex with, why are you having sex with them? Nobody is a mind reader, and yet we often magically expect people to somehow be able to intuitively know our pleasure and hold the keys to giving it to us. While it's great to be open to exploring and trying new things, if you like what you like, then vocalize it. Your partner should be excited for the exclusive access, and if they somehow treat the information like it's demeaning to their sexual prowess, it's time to get out of there!
3. Your Family's Prejudices
Do you come from an ultra-conservative family whose beliefs and value systems are seriously out of alignment with your own? Or do your parents vote liberal but make off-color jokes and complain about receiving workplace diversity training?
In this particularly tense and fraught political landscape, it's important to talk about prejudice more than ever. Traditional dating advice will tell you to leave the political discussions off the table, but I disagree. I think it's good to talk about your family's flaws up front, particularly if you are in a queer or interracial relationship. They're going to find out one way or another, and pretending like you come from a perfect family helps nobody.
4. Your Own Flaws
Nobody is perfect, and although all of us pretend to be at the beginning of a relationship, it's only a matter of time before the image shatters. It's good to be honest early on in a relationship about your own personal flaws so that you can be accountable to them.
Of course, it takes time to figure out what your own imperfections are — a lot of journaling and a ton of self-discovery, even. But the process is rewarding. Learning about yourself makes you a better partner in a serious, long-term relationship, and it also helps you out during conflicts. You'll have a better idea when something is actually your fault, and when it's just a projection.
And while discussing your foibles might be an awkward conversation to broach, once you start, you might just find you don't have anything to lose — not even your dignity.
Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.
Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!