Communication How To’s to Handle the Most Uncomfortable Conversations

Couple Talking

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: I dressed up for Halloween as a sexy pirate. It was a cute costume but it didn’t show too much. My date when he saw me was very complimentary. We went to a party and I swear I could of be invisible. He kept looking at these girls in barely there costumes. I didn’t know what to say or do. How can I address this?

Laura: I don’t know how well you know this man, as you did not give any information as to whether it was a first date, second date or someone you have been dating regularly. What you did state clearly is that he was very complimentary to you when he saw you, and that is a good thing. As far as your date looking at the women in barely there costumes, I think that it is fairly normal that where there are scantily clad women, men are going to notice and look. In all honesty, even heterosexual women are going to notice and look. It’s human nature.

Is it possible that what you experienced was coming from an internal feeling of inadequacy? I want you to first think about the following things before you decide if you should bring it up. Has this man had a pattern of being distracted by looking at other women in general at other times when you have been out with him? How do you typically feel when you are in the company of this man? Did this man interact with any of the other women in a flirty way that night or has he shown any pattern of inappropriate behavior with other women that you have witnessed?

Having said that, if this man was truly so intensely engrossed in staring at all of these women to the point that he completely ignored you all night, then I think you have every right to say this to him the next time he asks you out.

You can say, “Thank you for asking. I want to talk with you about something before I answer you. Is now a good time?” Wait for him to say, “Yes.” Then you can say, “You had every right to put your attention where you wanted to. I want you to know that it really felt good to me when you complimented me on my Halloween costume the other night, but then when we went to the party it appeared to me that you were very distracted looking at all of the women in skimpy costumes, and it really didn’t feel good to me that you seemed more engrossed in looking at them than paying attention to me. You may think that I was being oversensitive, but I want to be honest with you about how it appeared and felt to me. What are your thoughts about what I am sharing with you?”

Lives of Style: I was dating a man for a few months, who I liked initially but then I didn’t feel cherished by him as we continued dating. He would always talk about his dog and his ex-wife and didn’t seem interested in me at all. He never made a move on me in three months so we had a discussion and I mentioned that I didn’t feel cherished and that I didn’t want to be in a relationship where I wasn’t feeling good about the dates. He didn’t call me for 4 weeks and then he just called me and left a message saying, “Hi,” and asking me to call him back. I didn’t want to call him back but I did and we chatted for a little but he didn’t ask me out. I know he isn’t right for me but it vibes me when he calls. Should I continue to call him back when he calls or say something to him so that he stops because I don’t want to get my hopes up?

Laura: You liked him initially, but as you were getting to know him you did not feel cherished. What that tells me is that you found him attractive on a superficial level in the beginning, which is perfectly normal. As time went on, you were getting to know him, and you consistently didn’t feel good with how he was treating you. Considering that the first 3 months of dating is ‘the honeymoon phase,” and people generally act their best to impress during this time.

You CLEARLY stated that you didn’t feel good with the way he treated you during that period, and you also stated that YOU KNOW HE ISN’T RIGHT FOR YOU. Based on those statements I suggest that you tell him that you do not wish to continue to be in touch. The next time he calls you can say, “I appreciate that you want to continue to call me to talk, but I want to be honest with you and tell you that it is no longer comfortable for me to respond to your calls. We met and I continued accepting dates with you for a few months with the intention of learning whether or not we were a good fit. Based on the way I generally did not feel cherished by you during all of those months, I have enough information to understand that we are not compatible. I am clearly not the right woman for you, and for that reason I do not wish to continue to be in touch. I hope you can respect that, and I do wish you all the best in finding the person who is best suited for you.”

Lives of Style: My husband’s brother has been having a hard time financially. I just found out that my husband gave or loaned his brother a few thousand dollars and he didn’t ask me. I might of been okay with it but I wasn’t given the opportunity to have an opinion about our finances since I contribute to our household income. I’m mad at him for not checking in with me. What can I say to him to make him understand?

Laura: It is always best to sit down and talk over all of the possible agreements you want to have a joint voice in to avoid misunderstandings and upset feelings.  This is particularly  important when one party makes a decision that the other party thinks should be a mutually agreed upon choice, especially when both parties are household contributors.  In the instance in which your husband was the sole provider of the household and very successfully handling all of the financial responsibilities with ease and no need for help from you, then I would say he should be able to make independent decisions about giving or loaning reasonable amounts of his earned income. However, at this time you are both contributors to your household.

For that reason, it is fair and reasonable that you have an agreement to have a discussion before either of you give or loan money that may impact your household responsibilities. You can say to your husband, “I want to speak with you in regards to our finances. Is now a good time?” Wait for him to say, “Yes.” Then you can say, “You had every right to give or loan money to your brother, but as your wife and co-contributor of our household, it was very upsetting for me to hear about it after the fact. I realize that we do not have an agreement about giving or loaning money, and going forward I want to ask you to make an agreement with me that we always speak with each other first before making a final decision to give or loan money to any third parties. What are your thoughts about agreeing to that?”

Lives of Style: I am pregnant and I am encountering women who are sharing all of their opinions about how I should give birth, raise my child, parent my child, name my child etc. I’m hormonal and don’t want to flip out. I am tired of getting this unsolicited advice. I’ve even had women get really upset when I said that I didn’t know what I wanted to do regarding pain meds in labor. I felt like I was being shamed. What can I say to people who shell out their opinions?

Laura: Do your best not to let it all get to you. The hormonal surges make everything feel even more overwhelming when everyone is telling you what to do. The bottom line is that it is your body and baby, and you have the right to do whatever you decide feels best for you at the time you are ready to decide. Here is what you can say to strike the balance of owning your rights and also feeling considerate when people are sharing all of their opinions with you, “Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me. I truly appreciate hearing you, and I will definitely consider what you have shared as I decide what is best for me.”

Lives of Style: I’ve been married for over ten years and my husband’s parents still barely acknowledge me. When we go to dinners with them they tend to get drunk and his mother tells me all the reasons why I am not a good mother or wife or what I am doing wrong. The holidays are coming up so there seem to be a lot of family obligations. How can I talk to my husband about limiting time with them?

Laura: It sounds like this woman has a problem with alcohol, and it doesn’t sound like she or anyone else in the family wants to do anything about it. I commend you for dealing with it for this long, but I can understand that it wouldn’t feel good to spend too much time with such toxicity. To your husband you can say, “Honey, I want to talk with you about something that has been feeling very upsetting to me and may also be sensitive for you to hear. Is now a good time?”
Wait for him to say, “Yes.” Then you can say, “I love you. I want you to know that I am happy with you, but I do struggle with how it feels when I am around your family because my experience has consistently been that your parents barely acknowledge me until your mother has had a lot to drink, and then she makes a point to tell me all of her thoughts about why I am a bad wife and mother. I am not blaming you, as you are not responsible nor do you control what they do or say. I do want to continue to deal with it to the best of my ability, but I also want to be honest with you and tell you that it is causing me great discomfort when I am around them more frequently like during the holidays. I want to have some limits to the amount of time I spend with your family for the upcoming holiday plans. What are your thoughts?”

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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