By Jenna Brown
The five hardest conversations you will ever have with your spouse? Well, I can think of about 20 of them. So, I wrote those 20 down on a scrap of paper and found out that many were duplicates.
So, let's just pick five doo-zees out of the bunch and see what happens with that.
One of the great things about being a couple is that you can solve some things as a couple and money issues certainly falls into that category.
While it may be difficult to admit that you are spending more than you earn, there are services that help people dig themselves out of debt and get back on their feet again. So, this conversation need not be all doom and gloom.
Of course, “There's no money in our bank account and I just got fired from my job,” is a very different conversation. But so long as you are still earning, you likely have options for how to recover from money problems.
Being poor is not always fatal, however. No more Saturday nights at the movies could mean great at-home dates watching videos. The planned vacation overseas could end up as a great stay-at-home vacation. In the real world, second best isn't always a disaster.
“I did something awful in my past.”
Almost everyone has a part of their past that isn't their finest bragging point. But if you've done something truly embarrassing and this gets discovered, then you may have a tough dialogue ahead of you.
I have a friend who got into a car accident as a teenager and someone was killed. It has faded from his memory conveniently, but it never goes completely away. When he met his wife-to-be, he certainly had to get this off his chest. It was too big an event to ignore if he wanted a trusting relationship.
Helpful hint: One of the problems with something awful in your past is that it can form a wedge in a relationship. Try discussing it from an emotional standpoint. How did it make you feel then? How do you feel about it now? That allows your significant other to connect with you about the event.
“I think you have an addiction problem.”
The standardized approach to confronting someone about an addiction is called an intervention. This is generally done with several family members and close friends. It entails sitting the addict down and having this group confront them with irrefutable facts that show how bad an addiction has gotten.
The idea is to blast past the addict's denial over their addiction.
This type of conversation has a specific purpose, which is essentially to convince the addict they are in more pain than they believe. This is because addicts decide to stop their addiction when they hit rock bottom – when they realize the pain it is causing is worse than the pleasure they are getting from the addiction.
Helpful hints: Find the right mental health facility for a loved one before you begin the intervention, but remember a therapist in the room is not always a good idea during an intervention, because addicts tend to distrust people they perceive as standing between them and their source of pleasure. Do some research and seek professional help beforehand, but don't invite them to the intervention unless there are special circumstances that demand the presence of a therapist or social worker.
“I don't like your family.”
This is a conversation you might think is tacky. But your significant other won't take it that way. They will feel bluntly disrespected by this news.
The point is, good bad or indifferent, your family is part of who you are. Even if you dislike your family yourself, someone else telling you they don't like them is going to go over like a lead balloon.
This can be a long-term disruption of your relationship with your spouse.
Helpful hint: Everyone has a few redeeming qualities and you should focus on that. If an in-law is truly horrific, that's called the game of life. Your job is to win the game, not turn it into a battleground.
“I've Slept With Someone Else”
This is so devastating most of the time, that there's no need to discuss the fine details. The news is too unholy for most to remember how you spent weeks trying to get the wording just right.
Just to put it out there, Plan B is to keep this indiscretion to yourself.
If that sounds like an horrific idea, then it is probably not an option for you. But the reasoning follows that sleeping with someone else is a surefire way to hurt your relationship. Telling the other party about it is just a way of hurting them twice.
You'll just have to decided whether or not what you did was an indiscreet one-time mistake or whether it was a telltale sign that trust will never be restored. Remember, relationships pivot on trust, not love. Love changes over time. It has good days and bad days. But trust is trust. It doesn't have good and bad days. It just is what it is.