How to Talk About Your Future Together
Planning your future with your partner can be exciting—but it can also cause some anxiety. Even in serious, committed relationships, all of the unknowns and “what ifs” about what’s ahead can contribute to hesitation and discomfort. However, it’s important to talk about your expectations for your relationship so you’re both on the same page.
Taking that next step can be scary, especially if you don’t know what you expect from your partner’s response. If you have plans to be in this for the long run, it’s better to talk about it sooner rather than later so you don’t end up disappointed.
Find some quiet time to sit down and chat with your significant other. The “future” conversation is serious, but it isn’t supposed to be threatening. This is your chance to be open about what you want out of your relationship and to set goals with your partner.
Don’t put it off
Whether we admit it or not, sometimes we brush things other the rug to either A) avoid an argument or B) learn something we don’t want to hear. Talking about your future shouldn’t be one of these topics. Of course, you shouldn’t rush into it but if the time is right, tell your partner you’ve got some things on your mind you’d like to chat about. If you’re already married or close to it, try using some conversation starters to cover serious topics you may not have talked about before.
It’s not always easy to kick off deeper discussions – questions and prompts may like Questions for Couples may help.
Set clear expectations
This is not the time to sugar coat or be vague about things. This is what you want out of your relationship so be clear. Instead of saying “I see us together for a while,” let your partner know exactly where you see your relationship going. Do you want to settle down? Live together? Get married? If it’s important to you, it should be important to your partner too.
Listen to their needs
You aren’t always going to agree on everything but your partner should feel heard and understood. If you’ve put this conversation off, it’s probably because you knew there might be some things you’ll disagree on and that’s okay. Relationships take hard work and compromise and the best way to get there is discovering the underlying needs your partner has.
Emotions can run high when talking about the future. This may be something you dream about each night or it may be your greatest fear. If you aren’t hearing exactly what you expected to hear, remember why you’re in a relationship together in the first place. Are those reasons enough to stay and make it work through your disagreements? Everything takes time so don’t freak out if your plans aren’t lining up immediately.
Agree on a plan
Even if you both envision different futures, talk about the next steps for your relationship. Do you need to reconnect on this in a few months? Do you need some time to think on your own? Whatever it is, find ways you can work through it together. If things go exactly according to plan, you and your partner are now working toward common goals and a future that makes both of you happy.
This important conversation can be a make or break it moment in a relationship. However, our goals for the future can change. What do you want five years from now? Ten? Twenty? Who do you want by your side? If you picture your current partner, it may be time to sit down and let them know just how important they are to you.
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Iona is a Wellness Coach specialising in relationships and dating. She works with single women to write their own love stories.