Things Couples Don't Talk About Until They're in the Therapy Room
When couples are early in their relationship, they're likely not thinking about some of the harder things that may come up over time. As a result, there are many important topics that couples tend to not discuss before marriage or making a long-term commitment. Oftentimes, it is not until a couple comes into the office for therapy that they begin to have these conversations. Presented below are some of these topics that couples tend to not discuss early. Having conversations about these can help you understand your partner on a deeper level, as well as understand yourself as a partner better.
How to Love & Support Each Other
We all have different ways that we like to receive and experience love and support from others. It is not uncommon for these ways to be different for partners. But often each partner shows love and support to the other in the way they themselves would like to receive it, and are then confused as to why their partner may not respond to these well-intentioned attempts. It is important for couples to talk about how they each need to receive love and support to feel fulfilled, as well as how they can best express love and support to their partner in the way that they need to feel fulfilled.
Decision-Making & Communication Styles
We all approach decision-making in different ways, and it can create issues when partners' decision-making styles do not match. It is important for couples to discuss what they need in the decision-making process, and what the expectations are from each other in this process. Similarly, partners may communicate in different ways. For example, one partner may like to talk through an issue as soon as it comes up, while the other partner needs time and space to think before engaging in this conversation. Knowing this about your partner can help you have a better chance of having successful discussions with them about issues that impact your relationship.
Another area that couples often don’t talk about until an issue arises is what each person’s role in the relationship will look like. Some areas this may include are expectations in roles regarding housework, finances, decision-making, and parenting, just to name a few. When role expectations are not discussed early on, each partner may be silently carrying resentment that their partner is not meeting the expectations they had. But how will your partner know you have these expectations if you never make them known to each other?
What is Considered Cheating?
An important area that couples often don't discuss until it is too late revolves around what is considered inappropriate behavior and boundaries when it comes to interacting and having social relationships with others. Specifically, what is considered crossing a boundary into cheating/infidelity? Today, an essential piece of this conversation includes what is considered appropriate behavior on social media as well (see next section).
Boundaries Around Technology
In our current times, we are more connected to technology than ever before, including our phones, social media, and email for work. It is important for couples to discuss their expectations and boundaries regarding technology use, including their use of it as a couple, as well as how to keep it from interfering with quality time spent together.
An intimate part of any relationship is being able to share your desires and goals for the future with your partner. But oftentimes, partners never share these inner thoughts with each other. Having an open conversation about your goals (both for each other and for you as a couple) can help increase your bond and help you understand your partner on a deeper level.
If you would like further guidance on the above areas, I have created a free resource you can download named "Things Couples Don't Talk About...But Should" (available to download under the "Free Resources" tab). The eBook focuses further on each of the above areas and includes some questions to help you get started thinking about and discussing these areas with your partner. If as you are working through these topics you feel like you and your partner may need some support in having these conversations, consider reaching out to see if couples therapy may be a helpful option for you in that process.