An awkward conversation consists of lots of fidgeting, sweating, hemming, and hawing. Some can breeze through it with nary a scratch, but most of us end up traumatized by the sheer anxiety alone.
It’s like the annoying relative that you need to entertain during family functions, even though you can’t stand them. You just have to wait it out until you can get some air.
Why awkward relationship conversations are necessary
Typically, awkward conversations are awkward because there is a stigma of sorts involved in the topic to be discussed. If the two people discussing it were open-minded individuals, it wouldn’t be an issue at all. [Are you more worried about silence than awkward conversation? Check out: 8 easy ways to avoid awkward silences during a date]
Unfortunately, there are still some things that feel too sensitive to discuss. As much as you’d like to be open-minded about these things, you still need to consider how the other person feels about addressing them.
Once you’re done, however, you can breathe a sigh of relief, because you finally cleared the air with your partner. Even if you don’t get the reaction you wanted, there’s something to be said about actually dealing with an issue, rather than just sweeping it under the rug.
What are the most common awkward conversations between partners?
#1 The STD talk. Let’s get right down to the heavy stuff and admit that this is probably the most awkward and disconcerting topic of all. Not many are keen to admit to how many partners they’ve had—especially if the number is a cause for concern. Most couples stick to their conviction that it’s highly unlikely that they have an STD. No symptoms, no dice. [Read: 10 ways to subtly ask your partner to get tested]
But that’s where things can go horribly wrong. A lot of STDs have long incubation periods—like HIV—and some are even asymptomatic, like Chlamydia in its early stages. For some, being asked to get tested can be as bad as being asked to strip naked in public. It all depends on how seriously they take their partner’s concern.
#2 The possibility of marriage. The discussion about when to get married should never be an awkward conversation. It’s going to be the happiest day of your lives yet, for crying out loud. The possibility of getting married, however, is a different story. Not all couples in serious relationships are open to the idea of marriage.
If you and your partner have never discussed it before, the time to finally do it can be extremely harrowing, especially if you have no idea how they’ll react. Many a relationship has faltered due to slight hesitation at the word marriage. You better be prepared for every eventuality, because you might not get the answers you want. [Need some ammo? Try: 20 reasons to get married and live happily ever after]
#3 Getting caught in a lie. A lie is one of the most damaging sins in a relationship. Once you get caught, especially when lying about serious stuff, you’ve effectively proven that you are untrustworthy. After that, doubt sets in. What else have you lied about? Is the relationship also a lie?
When you’re given a chance to explain yourself, it’s going to be very emotional. The awkwardness, however, comes with the task of admitting that you screwed up. You have to explain why you lied and how you’re going to fix the problem. There might also be some begging involved.
#4 Asking for something you know they won’t agree to. Nothing is more awkward than asking to be said no to. You know there’s a slim chance your partner will say yes, but you still have to ask because you won’t get any sleep if you don’t. [Read: Compromise in relationships – 12 tips to give without losing]
The problem is that these types of conversations are set up to fail. Why? Because you know your partner well enough to have an idea of how they’ll react. Still, if it’s something really important, like buying a dog or a sports car, you need to check with them.
#5 Discussing a friend who is getting a little too close. One of the hardest things you can tell your partner is that someone close to them betrayed you—other than you, that is. They have a different sort of trust in the people in their lives who came before you, so it’s going to be hard for them to believe that someone close to them tried to hit on you.
Apart from that, they have to deal with it. They can’t just sweep it under the rug, and they need to come to terms with the idea that they might lose someone important to them because of it. It’s not just an awkward conversation. It’s going to be heartbreaking, as well. [Check out: 13 signs your friends are ruining your relationship]
#6 Telling them when family members become too meddlesome. Another issue is when family members get too close. Some families think it’s okay to put their two cents in—or even the whole family fortune—when a couple is experiencing problems. Even when everything’s fine, some family members still have an opinion of how you can *and should* improve your relationship.
That can be disheartening, knowing there’s a possibility that they will become your family one day, as well. When the issue is grave, it can create a problem that might isolate you and your partner from their family.
#7 Explaining something you forgot to tell your partner about. When your friend starts telling you and your partner a story about something that you casually forgot to mention—like dating a certain someone in the past, or having done a boatload of ecstasy in college—how do you think your partner will react to this little tidbit? [Try: How to stop lying to yourself and to your partner]
We doubt they’d be happy about it, but some people are more tolerant than others. The problem is how you’re going to tell your version of the story, and whether or not you’re going to stick to it.
#8 Accidentally getting pregnant. Getting pregnant is considered a blessing by many, but the initial reaction for some can be quite nerve-wracking. Having kids is a big deal, and most couples aren’t prepared for that kind of responsibility. When you take every precaution and still get pregnant, it’s another story.
Telling your partner about it is necessary, but it can also be scary. Neither of you expected this to happen so soon, so it’s hard to say how either of you will react. Aside from that, you’re stuck wondering if you forgot to take a pill or let your handy box of condoms expire. [Read: Do you hate using condoms? Possible consequences to consider]
#9 Talking about your exes. Oh, the dreaded ex talk. It’s not necessary to talk about every person you’ve dated, but your partner will want to know about the ones who mattered to you. Aside from that, you’re probably wondering about their exes, as well.
At the beginning of a relationship, it’s not necessary to rehash the past, because it’s not significant to this stage. It’s all about you two and how you work as a couple. When the time comes, you’ll have to talk about sensitive things like this. If you don’t, you’ll end up having a very awkward conversation that could have been avoided in the first place.
#10 Having to break up. Why does breaking up have to be awkward? It’s necessary for some people, isn’t it? But it can still be awkward when one of you isn’t expecting it. Obviously, there’s trouble in paradise. If one of you refuses to acknowledge that, any conversation from there on out will be particularly awkward, since you have no intention of staying in the relationship. [Check out: How to break up with someone you love]
If you do get past that stage, you and your partner can rest easy, knowing that a huge problem has been acknowledged. Whether or not you wish to continue your relationship is subject for discussion, but at least you’ve taken the first step to letting go of the pain and finding your true happiness.
Awkward relationship discussions can sometimes be serious, but they can also cover completely trivial things. The one thing they all have in common is this: nobody wants to have them.
[Next, read: A guide on effective communication in a relationship]
Knowing what awaits you in an awkward conversation can be a big help. Some conversations will feel less awkward when you know what you’re up against. That way, you can prepare yourself and your partner for any truth bombs you’re about to throw their way. Remember: an awkward relationship conversation only lasts until you’ve said your piece.
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