Taboo Relationship Topics That Need to be Discussed More Openly

Taboo Relationship Topics That Need to be Discussed More Openly

If you’ve ever googled “what to say on a first date?” before, then you’ve certainly encountered a list of what not to say. These taboo topics tend to be avoided not just on one date, but throughout the course of a relationship. But certain topics, like these 15, can provide an opening to build strength and trust in your relationship, whether you’re just getting to know a potential partner or have been together for years.

1. Your Dealbreakers.


Everyone has lines they don’t like to cross. Maybe you’re in recovery and don’t want to be around alcohol. Or you are very passionate about politics and need your partner to be, too. Regardless of what it is, there’s going to be moments that make you question a relationship. You might even decide to back out. What are your no-go’s? What won’t you tolerate? Being open and honest about these helps make sure your goals align, and no one gets hurt.

2. Your expectations around building a family.

guy at dinner table with family

This taboo topic is most relevant early on in a relationship. Yes, it can be intimidating to pop the baby question when you’re still getting to know someone, but kids are a very big life choice—one that you have to prepare for. Do you really want to invest six months in a relationship only to find out they won’t have kids when you want to have three? Knowing this sooner rather than later allows you to decide if your relationship might work long-term.

3. Your goalposts.

Where do you see yourself in five years? 15? 20? Not only in your work and personal life, but how do you see your relationship developing? Again, this helps you see if your potential partner’s wants will line up with your own. If you’re going to invest a lot of time and energy into a relationship, it makes sense to determine early on whether that sort of investment will take you where you want it to.

4. Your financial behaviors.

Here is my salary! Close-up photo of a young girl in a yellow hoodie, smiling with her eyes, hiding her face behind big amount of money in her hands.

Every long-term relationship will end up sharing finances in one way or another. But one person doesn’t always have to be the “breadwinner” while the other stays home to manage the house. You are each a full person with your own life, so it’s important to figure out how you plan on handling money. Do you keep separate bank accounts and split payments? Will you share accounts? Is one person going to provide more than the other? Openness and honesty in these conversations will help prevent potentially dangerous misunderstandings or assumptions.

5. Important political topics.


There’s one big caveat to this: are there political topics that are hugely important to you? If not, you’re probably safe not bringing it up, unless you want to know if your partner has any. But if you have your own hot-button issues, you’ll want to share those with your partner. How they feel about these topics could very well change the outcome of your relationship. But make sure to approach these conversations with an open mind, because without that there’s no growth.

6. The roles you’ll both play in the relationship.

Just like relationships share finances, they also share labor— mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, etc. Every person has unique needs and different capacities. You likely don’t have all the same skills as your partner. So how will you split this labor? In many relationships, this remains an unspoken assumption. But then resentment piles up as you feel your needs aren’t being met. Remember, a partner can’t meet your needs unless you voice them.

7. Your sleep needs. (Yes, even sleeping in separate beds.)


To some, sleeping is as easy as breathing. For others, it’s hours of tossing and turning. And for some reason, two people in a relationship often don’t have the same sleep needs. Discussing this openly will save you countless nights of disturbed sleep. Although there’s a stigma attached to it, one solution could be sleeping in separate beds. It doesn’t mean that your relationship is failing or the bedroom life is lacking. In fact, it can signal that you’re both mature enough to acknowledge your needs and work together to meet them.

8. Your family troubles.

Family and in-laws can be tricky. What’s worse is that family dynamics can affect the dynamics of your partnership. Does your grandfather-in-law make you uncomfortable? Sharing that with your partner builds trust. The two of you might never fully agree about a family member, and that’s ok. But if one of you has important boundaries, those need to be upheld. Whether it be your own family or theirs, these issues are better talked about than forgotten.

9. Your previous relationships.

Contrary to popular belief, talking about a previous partner doesn’t show hesitation on your part. It shows you know how to learn from and reflect on your experiences. Relationships change us in a lot of ways. To be able to see how a previous person affected you, for better or worse, is a strength. Of course, you don’t want to be talking about your exes all the time. But occasional mentions at the right moment will do more good than harm.

10. Any contingency plans.

Talking about bad things is not exactly enjoyable. But if you’re in it for the long haul, there are inevitably going to be bumps in the road—living paycheck-to-paycheck, unexpected issues with a pet or child, or medical emergencies. You don’t want to be blindsided when these things happen. So have conversations about what you’ll do during these crises. You can’t plan for everything, but you can plan what you know. What needs might you both have in moments of distress? How can you actually support each other?

11. Your relationship fears.

None of us are blank slates. You come with an entire story, one that has helped shape who you are now. And with that, you’ve probably experienced betrayal and hurt in your past. So what scares you in a relationship? Identifying this may involve working with your inner child or a lot of journaling. But your partner is going to do things that trigger those fears even when they don’t intend to. If you know each other’s worries, you can do your best to minimize those triggers and provide better support when that fear does come up.

12. What you need when you’re angry.

Conflict is never fun. Whether you’re angry at your partner or a coworker, it’s going to affect the energy in your house. Your partner’s attempts to help might only incense you more. So before you find yourself in that situation, have an honest conversation about what you’re both like when you get upset. How do you act? Is it better to be left alone or have company? Do you want advice or calming jokes? Again, you can learn how best to provide for each other.

13. Your physical needs.

Many couples fall into a pattern when it comes to physical intimacy. If this works for you, great. But if you start feeling bored, lose excitement, or only participate to satisfy your partner, something has to change. This change can’t happen if you don’t speak up. Regular conversations about your bedroom life can make it all the more enticing. You should be asking your partner if they’re happy too, or if there are things they want to change.

14. Death.

Death is one of life’s few inescapable realities (at least for now), and something that has touched everyone in some way. Maybe you’ve lost a parent, a best friend, or a beloved beta fish. You likely still carry some of that grief, and your partner can help support you in that. Plus, you may experience death together. Talk about how you both deal with death and what meaning you find in it. Figure out how to show up for each other. And, even if it’s hard, discuss what you might do if you lost your partner.

15. Your need for alone time.

No matter how much you love someone, you can’t be around them forever. You’re going to need moments away from your partner. This could be a solo bedtime routine, some time with family or friends, or even a personal vacation. Make sure your partner knows that you still love them, you just need some very healthy space. Find ways to give each other this space and ensure that both of you still feel loved and supported.

16. Looking for love? Think it into existence.

couple in denim standing against wall

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Ashton Rose is a writer, creator, and educator. They have written for dozens of blogs and helped build and maintain multiple websites. They have been a teaching fellow teaching math to middle school students, a soccer coach, and a mentor for college students. They are currently studying Creative Writing at Macalester College. They love to crochet, garden, play video games, get outside, and spend time with their loved ones. Ashton can be found on Instagram and Linkedin at @ashtonrosewrites and online at