"We Have to Talk": Managing Difficult Conversations with Your Partner

It's not easy to have difficult conversations when you don't like conflict, doubts, and disappointments in the relationship, especially if you experience unsatisfying sexual intimacy.

Men often address disappointments: "loneliness in a couple, having an emotionally neglecting partner (rejecting or controlling behaviors, etc.), and insufficient sexual stimulation."

Women use terms like "depressed, emotionally sad, and pain."

To start the conversation with awareness, the speaker must choose words mindfully and avoid making the listening partner feel defensive. This way, the listening partner opens up because they are not under attack.

Focus on what makes you happy, and continue sharing what you want to change. You are not judging or blaming when you speak from your heart about what you FEEL. 

Please schedule a consultation with clinical sexologist Christina Lindea alone or with your partner to discover how to better manage difficult conversations and handle situational conflicts in the relationship.

Want to be a better listener?

  • Start the conversation constructively by giving positive feedback
  • Choose the right time to talk
  • Give up the need to be right
  • Stay focused on the problem at hand
  • Make understanding a goal
  • Stay curious
  • Ask clarifying questions
  • Don't split your focus between the speaker and something else (e.g., your phone)
  • Reflect on what you hear to see if you have it right, even if you disagree
  • Try to find something to agree with

Questions to gain understanding during a conflict:

  • What is your need?
  • Is there a deeper purpose or goal for you about this?
  • Does this relate to your background in some way?

Ways to tell someone you need a break during a difficult conversation:

  • "I am feeling really overwhelmed. Can we take a break?"
  • "I need a second to think. Can we pause this?"
  • "I just need some time for myself. Can we talk about this tonight after dinner?"
  • "Can we take a break and come back to this?"
  • "I know this is an important conversation, but I feel like I might say something I don't mean if I don't take a break."
  • "I really want to finish this conversation when I am in a better mood. Can I call you tomorrow?"
  • Create a signal (e.g., time-out signal) that you use when you need a break.