Are you or someone you know in a dating relationship? Are you confused as to what conversations can harm vs. help your relationship? There are conversations that you want to precede with caution with your boyfriend/girlfriend.

A “general rule of thumb” is couples should not keep secrets in their relationship. However, in saying that, there are also some things that are not relevant to the current relationship and can bring harm to the relationship more than benefit it.

These Four Conversations Can Make Or Break Your Relationship
1. In your dating relationship, if your partner has had multiple sexual partner it is necessary to know approximately how many sexual partners your partner has had in the past. You can get insight early in the relationship to the challenges that may occur in the long-term as a consequence of earlier sexual history. However, too much information can cause unnecessary harm to your dating relationship. You want to think twice before you divulge all the details of your past relationships past hook-ups, especially “what and where” details. This can bring hurt to the relationship if your partner feels that they cannot measure up or are made to feel insecure as a result of your past experiences.

2. Spending Habits: It is good to know generally what your boyfriend or girlfriend’s spending habits are before you invest too much into the relationship. The area of finances is in the top three major reasons for marital difficulties including divorce. In relationships, you want to have the same core spending values, however, it is not important to go into every detail of your spending habits early on in the relationship. After all, is it really important that you tell him how much you spent on those shoes after he compliments you wearing them?

3. In your dating relationship, you want to be very careful what negative things you say about your partner’s family. You must remember they were there before you and will continue to be there after you. Besides, you can learn a lot about your partner by just observing his family interactions. Regardless if he or she appears very different from their family, they have been affected in some way by being a part of their family dynamics. Instead of making a critical comment, take the opportunity to learn more about how your partner feels about their family. Instead of saying, “ I can not believe your sister made that comment to your mom, she is a witch to do that”, how about, “what did you think of your sister’s comment to your mother?” Rule of thumb when dealing with your partner’s family: ASK QUESTIONS AS OPPOSED TO MAKING STATEMENTS.

4. Innocent Flirtations: The mere fact that the workplace is mixed with women and men working together, flirtation is bound to happen on one level or another. In saying that, your response is what is most important in the occurrence, not necessarily whether the flirtation occurred. It may not be necessary to run back to your partner to tell them about every person that flirts with you. However, if there are incidents that cross the line and make you feel uncomfortable, it is probably best to discuss it with your partner. Also, if you feel an attraction starting to develop, it is important to share this with your partner to bring it out in the open and defuse it. Remember, you may get flirted with especially in the workplace, so how you respond to it is your best defense.

When you follow the above simple guidelines in your conversations, there is an opportunity to build trust and engage in productive communication in your relationship rather than hitting potential land mines. Sooner or later, you will face each of these situations and how you handle them will determine the healthy or unhealthy development of the relationship. Remember to ask questions, but also be sensitive to how you would feel if these scenarios were brought to your attention. Lastly, be proactive by not providing details that will cause more harm than good to your relationship.

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Author: Janie Lacy