3 Awkward Conversations Every Couple Should Have

The key to a healthy and lasting relationship is maturity and commitment when it comes to facing those uncomfortable conversations.
3 Awkward Conversations Every Couple Should Have
Sara Clemente

Written and verified by psychologist and journalist Sara Clemente.

Last update: 22 April, 2024

Sooner or later, you need to do it. Either because an everyday, meaningless conversation leads you there or because it’s a subject that you have to clear up directly. These typical awkward conversations are ones that take a relationship off a cliff if not handled well.

In fact, if you discover you have opposing positions, and neither person leaves any wiggle room, it can end the relationship completely. However, the idea isn’t to avoid them. Instead, each person should ask themselves what it is they want to communicate and do so as well as possible. So what are these uncomfortable, awkward conversations couples should have? And how should we approach them so that they don’t end badly?

Exes: the past always comes back around

“I don’t understand what you saw in him/her.” ” How could you have been with somebody like that?” These are some things people end up using when talking about their partner’s past relationships. Innocently perhaps, but with the power to unlock Pandora’s Box.

Thus, in order to keep these conversations from being torture or turning into a fight, it’s important to make something clear. And that is, what place does that ex occupy in your partner’s mind and life? If they were married for several years and have children together it’s not the same as if their relationship only lasted a couple of months.

A couple is having awkward conversations.

And the only way to know this is to ask. But do so without getting riled up, from a place of honesty, respect and in search of understanding. Still, you subtly have to pay attention to three key aspects in your partner’s response.

Three key aspects in awkward conversations about your partner’s ex…

  • How he talks about her: Is his tone filled with anger, pain, contempt, or indifference? This will give you a hint about the feelings he may still harbor for her.
  • If he tends to bring her name up in everyday conversations: Whether he tells stories of past experiences with her and if he does so naturally, without giving it more importance than it deserves.
  • If they are still in contact with each other, and how often: Whether they talk very frequently and what communication channels they use. Whether the ex is part of their group of friends, or whether he has erased her number…

That said, don’t forget that when you are having these sometimes awkward conversations with your partner, the past should always be seen for what it is. For example, don’t try to interpret your partner’s experiences based on your own. Sure, you would’ve done things different in a lot of situations, but be understanding.

And then if jealousy makes an appearance, it’s good to remember that now your partner is with someone who complements them even better. And that person is none other than you.

The future: uncertainty can suffocate you

Does my partner think I’m the love of their life? Are they thinking about marrying me one day? Do they want to start a family with me? Will they be a good mother/father? Will their parental instinct ever wake up? These are some of the questions everyone asks themselves when they’re starting to consider a serious relationship with someone. With the one. 

It’s not easy to bring these questions up. While it may mean falling in love even more, it could also disappoint us to our very core.

Plus, if they’re the one who asks these questions and you haven’t had time to think them over, you may freeze up. The truth is that sometimes we don’t have all the tools on hand to keep demons and fears from the past from rushing back. And we can’t answer; we panic. Instead, think about it this way: the sooner you know what the situation is, the more power you’ll have over your own future. Uncertainty is not a good travelling partner.

Information is power. 

What if our answers are different?

If there are differences in your views of the future, it’s a good time to discuss these differences. Even if it seems like you have completely opposing views. For example, differences in whether you want to have children or not are not something you want to gloss over.
When it comes time to organize your future, it’s best to start with areas where your opinions are most similar. Then, slowly, you can increase the difficulty and identify the things where you don’t agree.

It will also be time to talk about what you are willing and unwilling to yield on. What concessions are you ok making, and what would you like to be firm about? In addition, you have to learn to even out the concessions each of you make. This way you’ll both end up content with your agreement.

Sharing is a part of life

Home sweet home… or is it? If you just moved in with your partner, sooner or later you will have to add shared costs into the equation. Or, better yet, you’ll have to add the idea of a shared life in.

Living together is difficult. Not just because it can end up wearing away at the relationship with little, mundane clashes, but also because if both parties don’t put in some effort, any little chore could turn into a confrontation. You can be as loving, sweet, and caring as you want, but if you’re not pulling your own weight around the house… there’s a problem!

Then the biggest problem comes when you have to tell the other person. When you have had enough and it has gotten on your last nerve. That moment when you have to sit down and tell them “we need to talk”. How should you approach this conversation? Well, authentically and naturally.

You can begin by making a list of all of the weekly chores that need to be done (if this is the problem). The ones that your partner mentions are the ones they value the most or consider most indispensable. So this exercise will also help you get to know them a little better.

Then you can proceed to distribute them between the two of you in a proportion that both of you are comfortable with. It’s good for both to be equally involved in the process and for the agreement reached to be acknowledged by both parties.

A couple sitting together near the water.

There are no awkward conversations that can resist

As you can see, the key to all of these awkward conversations couples have is to understand the situation and come to a mutually satisfactory solution. But it won’t happen overnight. And you can’t do it if you don’t really know the person you want to spend your life with.

A couple with a future is one that talks openly about their dreams and ideas, problems and worries. It’s a couple that doesn’t try to avoid or dodge them. One that approaches them knowing that it’s territory where skills of expression and comprehension will be key.

A healthy relationship is based on trust, respect and hope. Thus, the best thing to do in these awkward conversations is to not forget these three elements. Remember this when it’s time to sit down and talk. This is the only way you’ll be able to reach a point where you as a couple, and both members individually, will be happy living together.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.