Jan. 10, 2011 -- Tanishia E. from Florida wrote:
How do I talk to my boyfriend about the things I want from our relationship without sounding like I am accusing him of not doing enough?
Tanishia, I can't talk fast enough to say everything in a one-minute video, so here's more to think about. Before you talk with your boyfriend, consider what you want him to do differently. Then ask yourself two questions: Is it realistic and is it sustainable?
Before I got married, I had all kinds of unrealistic expectations of the husband I had yet to meet—he would be funny and smart and romantic and perfect. Then I met my honey and laid those expectations on his strong shoulders. And that wasn't fair. Huge expectations are relationship killers. They basically tell the person you're with that he's not enough. That doesn't mean you can't have any expectations. You should expect him to treat you with kindness and respect. You should expect him to be faithful and honest. But is it fair to expect him to know what you're feeling before you even feel it, or to fill your living room with roses just because it's Tuesday? Probably not. He is who he is and you have to decide if that's enough.
You also need to know if the changes you're asking for are something he can sustain. Hopefully, you're with a guy who truly wants you to be happy and who wants to do right by you. But if you're asking him to be something he's not—whether that's more talkative or more nurturing or more romantic--the chances that he can suddenly and permanently turn himself into a different person are slim. He'll either become a yes-man with no mind of his own or he'll come to resent you for not accepting him for who he is. And neither of you wants that.
Relationships involve all kinds of compromise, but the good ones are absolutely worth it.
Fran Harris' Advice:
Love this question, Tanishia!
Before I jump into my "advice," let me high five you for being proactive in building a solid relationship. Communication is sooooo key, as you know, and anything you can do to nurture open and honest dialogue in a relationship goes a long way in making it work. So, way to go!
Now...on to the good medicine!
In general, women tend to focus on where a relationship is going and men tend to focus on what? Where it is right now! Huge difference between the genders that often causes disconnect, arguments and even breakups. So, what you're asking is a very important question.
Keeping the generalization above in mind here are a few do's and don'ts for you to consider as you prepare for a productive conversation.
First, the do's.
***Do know that there's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to talk about where the relationship is going.
***Do trust your intuition about what's happening with your man but don't assume you know what he wants or what he's feeling.
***Do acknowledge his contributions to the relationship.
Now, the don'ts.
***Don't say, "We need to talk." This is one of the most dreaded phrases men hear.
***Don't start a conversation with "I need to know where this is going."
***Don't get angry because his answers are short and seemingly without a whole lot of thought (women tend to be more verbal than men).
Finally, if you like him and feel good about the direction, be patient. One conversation is not enough to build a solid relationship. Keep the conversations light and fun, and who knows? Pretty soon he might even say, "Babe, I don't wanna have sex tonight...let's talk."
If that happens, hit me on my cell, we're on to something really BIG! :-)