How to Handle Sensitive Topics with Your Partner

Dating Couple

Lives of Style’s DatingSpeak ™ ©2015 addresses questions about dating, relationships and communication.

Our Lives of Style authority–Laura Pugliese, shares must-know dating “Do’s and Don’ts” that will help you find success in your relationships.

Lives of Style: My boyfriend’s friend just got engaged and when we were talking about it he said that he doesn’t know if he ever wants to get married. I didn’t know what to say. We’ve been together for 6 months. I’m only 24 but I don’t want to waste my time with someone who doesn’t want to get married some day. What can I say to him?

Laura: If he is currently telling you that he doesn’t know if he ever wants to get married, then that is where he is right now. Since you are only 24 years old my suggestion is to relax and enjoy your relationship. See where it goes. If all is going well, and you two are still together in 6 months, then bring it up. At that time you can say, “There is something important I want to talk with you about involving our relationship. Is now a good time?” Wait for him to say, “Yes.”  Then you can say, “When (insert couple’s name) got engaged you mentioned that you weren’t sure if you ever wanted to get married. You have every right not to want to ever get married, and I respect your thoughts. We have been together for a year now, and I feel happy with you. I want to ask you what your current thoughts are in regards to our relationship and also your current thoughts about getting married one day. I know for certain that I want to get married one day, so I do not want to waste my time or yours if that is not an option for us. What are your thoughts?”

Lives of Style: My husband and I agreed on having one child and then deciding if we want more. Our baby girl is 2 years old now and I really want another baby. I keep bringing it up and he isn’t budging on having another. I feel like we have a time ticking and I want our daughter to be close in age to her sibling. What can I do or say because I feel so strongly about this?

Laura: I am hearing that you feel strongly about wanting another child right now, and I am also hearing clearly that your husband is adamant against it at this time. Adding another child to the family is a huge life-altering event. I do not think you should push this issue right now. If you press the issue and get your way against your husband’s true wishes you will greatly risk bringing resentment and negative energy into your marriage. I know of some women who have forced the issue because it’s what they wanted, and it damaged their relationship. It’s the ultimate betrayal to completely discount his rights and choice to father another child.

You made an agreement together to have one child and decide together if you want more. That agreement means that you accepted the risk that having another child was not definitive. I suggest accepting the possibility that you may only have one child and letting it be for now. Keep in mind that a happy marriage with one healthy and happy child is better than a danger relationship with two children involved.

Having said that, you can say this to your husband, “I want to talk with you about something that feels sensitive to me. Is now a good time?” Wait for him to say, “Yes.” Then you can say, “I’ve mentioned to you several times that I want to have another child. I understand that it is not something you want to do right now, and you have every right not to want to.  I do not want to nag you into it or be disrespectful to you. I want to give you some time without hearing about it from me too, and I want to ask you to make an agreement with me to discuss it again in 6 months. I understand it is something we both need to agree to. What are your thoughts about doing that?”

Lives of Style: My husband has been recently acting differently with me and his friends. He was never the macho guy at a party but now he is behaving that way. He’s making some crude jokes involving women, drinking more, and not paying any attention to me at group events. When we are alone he is his usual loving self. What can I say to him because his behavior hurts my feelings?

Laura: The best time to bring this issue up is directly following a specific incident when the two of you are alone, however wait until the next morning if your husband has had more than 1 or 2 drinks to ensure you are speaking with a rational mind.

At such time you can say, “Honey I want to talk with you about some things that have been feeling uncomfortable to me. Is now a good time?” Wait for him to say, “Yes.” Then you can say, “One of the things I have always appreciated about you is how loving and considerate you are to me. You remain consistent in those ways towards me when we are alone, and that feels good to me. Over time I have been noticing negative changes when we are out socially with others, and I experienced those changes again last night at (insert event). It didn’t feel good to me when you were (insert specific things that occurred that time).  I want to be honest with you and tell you that I am also noticing an increase in the amount of alcohol you are drinking along with these changes in your demeanor and behavior. It’s becoming a consistent pattern. I don’t like it, and I don’t feel comfortable with things continuing this way when we are out socially. What are your thoughts about what I am sharing with you?”

Lives of Style and Lives of Style’s DatingSpeak ™ ©2015 want to facilitate answers to questions.  While authorities such as Laura may not be able to email each of you individually, select questions will be answered. 

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