During a relationship's first weeks and months, your days might be filled with extended conversations and late-night phone calls. As the relationship develops, you may feel excited about talking with your new partner, eagerly looking forward to every opportunity to see them.
Some people refer to excitement and euphoria as the "honeymoon phase" of love. Your laughter, lust, and attraction may feel at their peak in these early days. While these emotions can last months or years for some, the feelings can simmer to a lower intensity over time.
Communicating can feel challenging as a relationship moves to a more secure stage. If you're looking for ways to revitalize your connection and improve communication, know you're not alone. Many romantic partners successfully navigate the post-honeymoon phase and may emerge as healthier communicators and more confident conversationalists.
Common Communication Challenges In Relationships
In a romantic partnership, you may have experienced some or all of the following barriers, which can lead to communication difficulties over time:
- Control: If you're more concerned about getting your way than compromising with your partner, you may set yourself up for a struggle for power and control.
- Fear of judgment: It can be challenging to discuss the facts of a situation if you're worried about your partner judging your experiences or decisions.
- Silence: It can be healthy to request space from your partner. However, some people may use silence to avoid discussing a risky topic or invoke the silent treatment to "punish" a partner.
- Loss of trust: If you catch your partner in a lie, it might foster distrust and fear of dishonesty, which could be heightened by external stressors.
- Lack of time: Healthy communication takes time and intention. In some cases, busy schedules or unexpected events get in the way of communication. If you don't schedule quality time to check in, you may struggle to maintain an open line of communication with your partner.
Note that the above challenges are only a few possible communication roadblocks. Each relationship is unique, and some relationships undergo periods when effective communication may seem more challenging or unattainable.
How To Improve Communication In Your Relationship
Healthy communication with your partner may be attainable with time, patience, and a willingness to listen. Clear dialogue can be beneficial, but paying attention and listening to your partner as they speak is often one of the most effective forms of connection. The goal of communication is to listen to understand rather than listen to respond. While active listening can take practice and effort, consider it a long-term investment in a healthy, mutually rewarding relationship.
Active listening and emotional validation are foundational aspects of a healthy connection. From there, you can use the following tips to keep the conversations flowing with your partner beyond the honeymoon phase.
Show An Active Interest In Their Passions And Hobbies
From the beginning, many romantic partners connect over a common hobby, activity, food, or value. Although you may also have your own hobbies and work to focus on, you and your partner may enjoy sharing a few activities together. If there's a hobby you would like to try, ask your partner if you can participate in one of their favorite activities with them. By joining in on the fun, you can show interest in your partner's niche interests and that you're willing to learn and grow alongside them.
If your partner has a passion for plays, but you have limited knowledge of theatre, attend a show with them. Ask your partner if there are particular activities they'd like you to attend with them, and ask for them to check out your hobbies in response. For example, maybe you want your partner to watch one of your soccer games or listen to you practice a solo before a signing performance. By taking an interest in each other as people, not only romantic partners, you may deepen your connection and understanding of each other.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Consider switching up your question-asking strategy if you're drawn toward questions with "yes" or "no" answers. You can use open-ended questioning with both romantic and platonic partners, and the technique may help the conversation flow toward unexpected but stimulating topics.
For example, instead of asking, "Do you like going to the beach?" you might instead ask, "What do you like (or dislike) about the beach?" The second question prompts the answerer to reflect on and explain their reasoning rather than limiting them to a one-word response.
Check In About Your Communication Preferences
If you're unsure how your partner prefers to communicate, consider taking a quiz or asking them about their communication style. Regularly checking in about your communication preferences may make you feel better prepared with responses and strategies for emotionally difficult or stressful conversations.
To develop a deeper understanding of each other's preferences, consider asking some of the following questions:
- What makes you feel appreciated and acknowledged (and how can I make you feel more appreciated)?
- How do you feel we communicate during stressful times, and what would you change about how we communicate?
- When we disagree or argue, what do you need most from me?
- Is there anything you'd like me to communicate or do more daily?
Because communication can be verbal and non-verbal, it might not stop – even if you're sitting silently with each other. In these moments, a list of predetermined questions can jumpstart meaningful conversations and prepare you for the future.
Talk About What You Want, Need, And Feel
While listening to and honing your partner's needs is essential, it's equally important to confer your own. Using ''I' statements, such as "I need," "I want," and "I feel," can remind you to focus on your emotions first, take responsibility for your thoughts and actions, and avoid immediately blaming your partner for a situation.
If you're concerned about sticking to "I" statements, consider writing them down before conferring with a partner. Adjusting to this "me-first" language can take some time, but it may help your partner feel less defensive. Practice using these statements in daily conversations and emotional discussions or arguments.
Seek Guidance From A Mental Health Professional
It might sometimes feel like you and your partner are against each other instead of teaming up. However, with the above strategies and a clearly expressed commitment to each other, you may feel better prepared for the expected challenges of a long-term relationship, as well as unexpected bumps—and you don't have to do it alone.
For many romantic partners, the outside perspective of a therapist is essential for a healthy and sustainable relationship. Many therapists specialize in working with couples, married partners, and families, and a growing number of these professionals offer their services through accessible online therapy platforms like BetterHelp for individuals and Regain for couples.
Online therapy can be an effective and accessible option for many individuals, whether they want to engage in sessions with their partner or separately. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many researchers have studied digital therapy's effectiveness and rising popularity. One study found that digital mental health services might offer a physical distance that makes it easier for couples to discuss more sensitive topics. In the study, couples were more likely to address emotionally challenging topics via online therapy when compared to couples in an in-person therapeutic setting.
In addition to offering a healthy degree of emotional distance and support, online therapy is often easier to schedule and more affordable. Online platforms feature thousands of counselors who can work with patients individually or with their partners with hundreds of therapeutic modalities available.
BetterHelp Counselor Reviews
“Erin really helps me set goals for communication, and it’s really crazy how much it’s improved the communication in my marriage. She also asks me every week what I’d like to work on, so it’s just really great to be able to decide and then to put it into action. Without her, I wouldn’t even know where to start.”
“Mark is an amazing therapist. He listens so well and has such valuable insight on male and female perspectives and issues while also not passing judgment. I have only just begun, but he has already given me so many great takeaways to improve my relationships and situations. I am filled with gratitude, and I would highly recommend him to anyone!!”
How do I start a conversation with my boyfriend over text?
It may be challenging to know how to start a conversation with your boyfriend over text, and a lot of how you will start depends on what you have to say. If it is a light conversation or small talk, you may just jump right in and send text messages asking various questions. However, if it is a more serious conversation it may be a good idea to make a phone call or wait until you see him in person. Deeper conversations may require body language and reading non-verbal cues to really understand how he is feeling. This may be difficult if you and your boyfriend are in a long distance relationship and using video calling may help.
When starting a text message conversation you may start with a simple one-liner, like “Hey! Are you busy?” or simply, “Good morning, what are you doing today?” Starting a basic conversation doesn’t have to be difficult, and in many cases keeping it simple may allow the conversation to start rolling. If he is busy or cannot talk that is ok, just let him know that you will check back in later.
How do I keep a conversation going with my boyfriend?
Keeping a conversation going with your boyfriend involves being attentive, engaging, and open. Here are some strategies to help you maintain interesting and meaningful conversations:
- Active Listening: Pay attention to what he's saying and respond thoughtfully. Show that you're genuinely interested in his thoughts and feelings.
- Ask Follow-Up Questions: When he shares something, ask related follow-up questions to delve deeper into the topic. This demonstrates your curiosity and encourages more detailed responses.
- Share Personal Stories: Open up about your own experiences, stories, and thoughts. Sharing personal anecdotes can lead to more intimate and relatable conversations.
- Discuss Shared Interests: Talk about hobbies, activities, or interests that you both enjoy. This can lead to enthusiastic discussions and possibly even plans to engage in those interests together.
- Express Curiosity: Show genuine curiosity about his opinions and perspectives. Ask questions like "What's your take on…?" or "How do you feel about…?"
What do I say to my BF to start a conversation?
Starting a conversation with your boyfriend can be as simple as sending a friendly and engaging message. Here are some ideas and conversation topics to get you started:
- Casual Greeting: "Hey there! How's your day going?"
- Thoughtful Question: "I was just thinking about our last weekend getaway. What was your favorite part?"
- Shared Interest: "Have you seen the new trailer for [upcoming movie]? I think it looks amazing!"
- Funny Anecdote: "You won't believe the hilarious thing that happened to me today. Ready for a good laugh?"
- Future Plans: "I can't wait to try out that new restaurant we talked about. When do you think we should go?"
- Random Thought: "Do you ever wonder what animals would say if they could talk? I had a funny thought about that today!"
- Appreciation: "Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate having you in my life. You are my best friend and you make my world better!"
- Shared Memory: "Remember that time we got lost on that road trip? It's one of my favorite memories with you."
- Compliment: "I couldn't help but think about how incredibly supportive you are. You make everything feel possible."
- Movie/TV Recommendation: "Do you have a favorite movie? I watched [movie/show] last night, and I think you'd really enjoy it too!"
The key is to be genuine and to choose a topic that you think will resonate with him. Feel free to tailor these suggestions to your relationship and his personality or love language. Starting a conversation is about showing that you're interested in connecting with him and creating opportunities for enjoyable communication.
What topic can I discuss with my boyfriend?
There are a wide variety of topics that you may discuss with your boyfriend, things to talk about may include lists of favorites, future plans, goals and dreams, or opinions on various topics. You may ask questions such as, “If you had three wishes what would you wish for?” or “If you had to pick three words to describe your dream job, what would they be?” Topics like this can be lighthearted yet still may prove reveal parts of your boyfriends life and personality that may be hidden ordinarily.
As you progress in your relationship you may want to ask about past relationships and this is ok. The key is to be open and patient with your partner as discussing breakups and past loves may be painful and bring up negative feelings. However, it also healthy and may be beneficial to your current relationship and may be a path worth exploring.
What to ask your boyfriend?
Some questions that you may ask if you want to get start a conversation with your boyfriend include:
- Future Dreams: "What's one thing you've always wanted to achieve or experience in your life?"
- Favorites: "If you had to choose your all-time favorite movie, book, and song, what would they be?"
- Travel Plans: "If we could travel anywhere together, where would you want to go and why?"
- Childhood Memories: "What's your fondest childhood memory that still brings a smile to your face?"
- Personal Growth: "Can you share a significant moment that made you realize you were growing as a person?"
- Personal Passions: "What's a hobby or interest you're really passionate about? I'd love to know more!"
- Bucket List: "Are there any specific activities or experiences you've always wanted to check off your bucket list?"
- Daily Routine: "What's something you do every day that brings a sense of routine and comfort?"
- Unusual Questions: "If you could have dinner with any historical figure, living or dead, who would it be and why?"
- Silly Scenarios: "If you woke up tomorrow with the ability to communicate with animals, how would you use your newfound skill?"
How do I talk more in a relationship?
Communication is key to understanding each other better and building a stronger connection. Start by setting aside dedicated time for quality conversations. Whether it's during a cozy evening at home or a relaxed walk, find moments where you can both focus on talking without distractions. Share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences openly. Discuss your day, your dreams, and even your challenges. Active listening is equally important; give your partner your full attention when they're speaking, and respond thoughtfully to show you value their input.
Once you have time set aside, introduce new topics to your discussions. Keep the conversation fresh by exploring shared interests, current events, or even thought-provoking questions. Ask about your partner's thoughts, opinions, and preferences to delve into deeper conversations. Remember, it's not about having all the answers but about creating an environment where both of you feel comfortable sharing. Building communication takes time, so be patient and encourage your partner to express themselves as well. Mutual respect and a genuine interest in each other's lives will go a long way in fostering open and enriching conversations.
What is the sweetest way to talk to your boyfriend?
Talking to your significant other in a way that makes them happy is a good way to boost self-esteem for both you and your partner. There may not be one single way to speak sweetly to your boyfriend and you may need to play with different techniques to see if one speaks more to his love language. Some sweet-talking strategies include:
- Complimenting him
- Expressing empathy
- Stating gratitude
- Giving words of affirmation
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