If you haven’t opened the lines of communication from the start, it can be daunting to talk about the future with your new(ish) boyfriend. Here are 10 ways you can get into the thick of it without losing your nerve or losing him:
Figure out why you’re so nervous to broach the topic.
Understanding what the flaws are in your communication as a couple might point you towards any issues your partner might be scared of talking about. If you can be objective and get to the heart of why it’s so difficult to talk about, you’ll have a better idea of how to start gently.
Know what you want.
Do you want concrete dates? Do you want to clarify whether you’re exclusive? Do you want to know if you’re on the same page – and if so, do you know what page you’re on? Know where the conversation is going so it can actually be productive.
Talk hypothetically, but keep things based in reality.
A playful way of warming up to this type of conversation is to talk about your dream future partner, and what kind of life you’d like with them. This frees them up to use the same framework, without the pressure of tying their future to you directly. It’s a great way to find out what someone wants for themselves without getting too heavy.
Explore, don’t judge.
When you’re talking about the future, be there to listen intently and hear his hopes and dreams rather than making judgments and testing how well what he says matches up to your needs and desires.
Go into the conversation with light-hearted expectations.
Just because you might not want the same things right this second doesn’t mean that your relationship is over. You’re basically testing the water here, not trying to lock things down indefinitely.
Don’t hold him to absolutely everything he says.
The more serious and tense this conversation is, the more it feels like everything that’s said is being etched into stone for all eternity. It’s OK to change your mind and it’s OK to be open to things evolving in the future.
Don’t run a teaser trailer.
Don’t make the conversation some big dramatic event by giving cryptic clues in advance like “We need to talk” or “We need to have a serious conversation about where our relationship is going.” Talk about it when you talk about it, and that’s it.
If he says he hasn’t thought about something, accept it at face value.
Sometimes, your partner just hasn’t been thinking about the relationship in the same way that you have. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want you in his future — more than likely, he’s been too busy enjoying the present to concern himself with anything other than the present moment. Take it as a compliment.
Don’t read into everything he says.
Immediately going on the attack, questioning what the things he says really mean and whether he’s being genuine or not can make what should be an intimate conversation into a nasty memory. Listen to what he has to say and give yourself time to digest what he’s telling you.
Figure out if it’s worth sticking around.
Sometimes, you’re just not ready at the same time. If he’s showing no signs of being on the same page, it may be better to move on rather than waste more time waiting for a guy who may never want to settle down.
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