Originally posted on Bustle
One of the benefits of being in a long-term relationship is feeling comfortable with each other. You should be relaxed enough that you feel like you can be yourself and be honest, no matter how tricky the situation is. And the truth is, if you don’t feel comfortable or like yourself then you might not be in the right relationship. “Not all relationships are meant to last forever,” Kali Rogers, CEO and founder of Blush Online Life Coaching, tells Bustle. “If you want the opportunity to find a life partner, you might need to leave a happy relationship in order to find that.”
Having a long-term partner means getting past the awkwardness and facing issues head-on, whether it’s working through a fight about a difficult topic or just getting through a holiday dinner with the in-laws in one piece. There are going to be some complicated things that come your way, but if you’re in the right long-term relationship, then you should be able to deal with them without feeling totally uncomfortable or like you need to hide how you actually feel about a tricky situation.
Here are seven things that should never be awkward in a long-term relationship.
1. Saying You’re Not Happy
We all struggle from time to time in our relationship, and it’s OK to say you need a change or something it’s working for you. “Not asking for what you want in a relationship can make you have much less pleasure and joy, and eventually stop thriving in that relationship,” Marthe Schneider, co-founder and co-developer of Authentic Tantra, tells Bustle. “From there, resentment, disconnection, and misunderstanding grow.”
If you’ve been together a while, you should feel comfortable enough telling your partner what you need.
2. Talking About Sex
Talking about sex can be uncomfortable in the beginning, but it’s important to get to a place where you’re communicating about sex. [Couples with healthy sex lives] have awkward conversations,” sexologist and relationship expert Dr. Nikki Goldstein tells Bustle. “Often people can have sex but are scared to talk about it out of fear that might offend their partner or it might be awkward. In order to have a healthy sex life you need to have sometimes awkward conversations about what might not be working in the bedroom or what you want more or less of.”
And after a while, it shouldn’t feel scary anymore. The more you get to know each other the better the communication (and the sex) should become.
3. Asking For Help
Sometimes we all need a hand. If your life has become difficult — whether it’s with work, friends, or just how you’re feeling within yourself — you need to be able to ask your partner to help you get through it. That’s what they’re there for and they should never make you feel uncomfortable about that.
It’s normal to fight — and it’s definitely normal to disagree. Just make sure you do it constructively. “Would you want the entire world to see you yelling at your partner for leaving dishes in the sink? If the answer is no, think about how you’d want to be seen on camera (probably as a mature, loving person who communicates clearly) and then talk to your partner that way,” dating coach and licensed marriage and family therapist Pella Weisman tells Bustle. “It’s OK to fake your way into being a more reasonable partner!”
5. Talking About Money
Very few people like talking about and dealing with money, but if you’re in a long relationship than it’s a must. “Talking about money is immensely important,” Priya Malani, co-founder of Stash Wealth tells Bustle. “Studies show that spending habits and money decisions are a very clear indicator of your values and priorities in life. So if you and your partner have vastly different spending habits and you don’t have a system in place to manage the difference, it’s likely there will be conflicts in other areas of life as well.” Being able to negotiate money is a very good sign for your relationship.
6. Sharing Sexual Fantasies
Whether or not you ever plan on acting them out, you should be comfortable enough to talk about your fantasies. “It’s completely normal and healthy for couples to have fantasies,” Sarah Watson, LPC and Sex Therapist tells Bustle. “To share them with your partner can create another level of intimacy and closeness. It can improve communication as well. Some fantasies aren’t going to be played out in real life, that is OK.” Just communicating about them shows how relaxed you are around each other — and you may just find some common ground.
7. Talking About The Future
If you’ve been together a while then talking about the future, whatever that means for you as a couple, should be easy— but some people still find it really difficult. “When one half of a couple want to talk about the future of the relationship with the other half, it can be scary for several reasons,” Chris Armstrong, relationship coach and founder of Maze Of Love tells Bustle. “One, they may not know where the other person stands on the matter. Two, they may not be confident about themselves and what they bring to the relationship and thus they could forecast rejection from their partner. We humans do not like uncertainty and it’s particularly hard if we lack the confidence to boot.” It can seem scary at first but it’s so important to get on the same page about it.
It’s important that, at some point in a long-term relationship, you learn how how to feel truly comfortable with each other. The sign of a successful relationship means feeling like you can be yourself — and that means navigating tricky topics and situations, together.