When you have a new boyfriend, it’s easy to put off communicating the important stuff, because you’re still not sure if it will cause damage to the relationship. And of course, when you don’t tell him, you can cause damage to the relationship! NOW what do you do??
5 Steps for Communicating the Big Stuff (Without Damage to Either of You)
Hi Claire, I have been seeing this man I really like. He has told me that he wants to be exclusive with me, and has talked about our future. He makes me feel like a desired woman.
But I have been going through a death in the family and he knows little about it. I am always scared to express my feelings because of previous abandonment issues. But I thought I would be honest and open with him (which was really hard to do), and just expressed that I have been sad and could use a little extra love. He read the message (we message on Facebook) but he didn’t respond.
I feel disappointed. He is the kind of man who super-exceeds what I need in a relationship. I want him to come back so we can have a fair shot at our relationship, but the stubborn side of me wants to jump ship. What should I do? Claire I need you! – Toni
Hi, Toni. You’re in a rough spot right now, and I wish I could hug you. But I do have some good news for you, and a little help as well.
Don’t toss this relationship out! You can tell him what’s going on and what you need, and keep the relationship strong.
He may not have responded for several reasons I can think of (didn’t see the message, didn’t know what to say, wasn’t sure what you needed from him, felt incredibly awkward), but you can easily tell him again. DON’T DROP THE BALL here, okay? Because it’s important. So…
Here are 5 keys to communicating the really important things in your life so that you can get your needs met…
1. Don’t withhold info on REALLY BIG things from someone who is important to you.
You want to keep the people closest to you in on the stories of your life, especially the most important ones. And if someone is close enough with you to be your exclusive boyfriend, a guy who envisions a future with you, he deserves to know what’s happening in your universe. So tell him.
2. Share stories as they begin, rather than waiting until they’re critical.
Be sure to share things as they begin, rather than waiting until you’re in a critical situation. It’s easier to hear “I think we have a leak in the roof,” and get updates as the situation unfolds rather than thinking everything is perfectly fine then suddenly hearing that your entire roof collapsed.
3. Tell him significant things face to face or on the phone.
The reason people tend to misuse social media for communication is because it’s less intimate, and intimacy is scary. But sharing the risk of intimacy is something every long-term couple learns to do.
Instead of sharing your life’s front-page news via text or chat, pick up the phone, or share it face to face. When you tell him in person (or even on the phone) some of the subtleties can come through and there is the chance for much better communication and fewer misunderstandings.
4. Be willing to accept some bumps in the road.
Don’t throw away a guy “who super-exceeds what [you] need in a relationship,” Toni! Going through bumps in the road are EXACTLY what you need to do if you’re going to have any kind of shot at a solid long-term relationship.
Sailing in fair weather under sunny skies is easy. Getting through storms successfully together will make your relationship stronger and better.
5. Know what makes you feel loved, and ask specifically for that.
My friend Henry’s young wife is going through heart transplant surgery. He recently posted to all of his friends on Facebook a really helpful message, something like this:
Dear friends: This is a really rough time for both of us. Thanks for your love as Julia goes through this heart transplant surgery. And I hope you’ll understand if I don’t have any response when you say “Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.” My brain isn’t working enough to come up with anything. But if you ask me something specific, like “Could I bring you guys a tuna casserole on Thursday?” or “I’ll be happy to clean your apartment on Saturday,” or “I will walk your dog every afternoon this week,” then you are very likely to be hugged and thanked profusely.
In your case Toni, you might tell him something like this:
Hi, Brandon. Sorry you haven’t heard much from me lately; my Aunt Erica died unexpectedly last week and we were really close. I miss her like crazy, and I’m surprised at how painful the loss feels. She was an artist just like me. The funeral is over, but I still need to say goodbye. I was wondering if you would be willing to go with me to the gallery where her last show is hanging. I will probably be a mess, but I would love a strong shoulder to hang on to. Your strength and support means so much to me.
However, this will still go over better if you tell him in person, or even on the phone. Write yourself up a short script like this and memorize it, if words tend to tangle up on you.
Work on your Baggage
This is a good word for all of us, ’cause honey, we all got baggage. You don’t get out of this life without a good handful of scrapes, injuries, and scar tissue.
If you already know what some of your baggage is (fear of commitment, fear of abandonment, etc – LOTS of them start with “fear of…”), then get started on it.
Talk to a trusted friend or mentor, someone who is emotionally healthy and has your best interest at heart. Journal. Read up and see if you can gather information that is helpful to you as you move forward. Get professional help if you can. You know how to do this.
Finally figure out LONG-TERM happiness with a man…
It takes a lot to surprise me, but this video struck a chord.
In it James Bauer explains the single most important thing to a man when it comes to overcoming his fear of commitment and having a rare and special relationship.Watch Now
If you think guys are “complicated” or “hard to figure out,” you really need to hear James explain the secrets he has learned after years of being a successful relationship coach.
After he reveals the “most important thing,” he shows you how to trigger the one critical emotion in your guy to draw him closer to you and make him happy long-term.
What I really love about what James says is that it’s not manipulative or “game playing.”
It’s definitely worth your while…
Join the conversation
If you have words of encouragement and support to share, or even just a story of your own to tell, I hope you’ll leave a comment for me or for Toni below… Your kindness will be deeply appreciated, and your voice will be welcomed.