(Closed) The Talk For Dummies

posted 6 years ago in Waiting
Post # 3
4060 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

Try not to stress about it. What the worst that could happen?

This is probably really bad advice but have a glass of wine to settle your nerves if it helps. I’m not saying get drunk just relax. Maybe there’s something else that relaxs you?

Let the conversation flow. Try not to make it a game of twenty questions. Just start off by saying “I’ve been thinking a lot about our future lately…” if he freaks out at this statement don’t try and push the subject of marriage. You can guage his reaction and move on to “marriage is really important to me and I’d really like to get married one day” I think if he’s up for a full blown conversation you guys will be fine from there. If he requires a little probing “what do you think?” “what are your thoughts on marriage?” then do so but don’t put too much pressure on him if he’s not responsive.

I’m super emotional too: I cried hysterically when we said “I love you” for the first time.

SO and I openly talk about marriage, I can’t imagine not being able to discuss it with him. But talking to my ex was like getting blood from a stone and I just had to be really blunt with him, maybe your Boyfriend or Best Friend is the same?  (Although we never had the marriage talk it took until a year after we broke up to admit we were actually boyfriend and girlfriend.)

Post # 4
3668 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Don’t start with, “We need to talk” — if he is anything like my SO, those four words will send him straight into “Oh crap, what did I do” mode and make him put his guard up.

We had a preliminary talk before I left for Japan… we had already known that we wanted to move in together when I got back (we were long distance while I was there for two years, so we were done being apart) and that we wanted to get married after that… this was the first time I heard “around 25 or 26 is a good age” instead of “eventually/some day.”

When we moved in together in January, I asked him where he sees us after I finish grad school, and he said that would be a good time to get married. I said it would take a year to plan a wedding, but I wouldn’t mind being engaged for longer, so we agreed that a proposal would happen while I’m still in school.

Then I dropped it for a month, and in February I brought it up again and asked him what his timeline looked like for getting engaged. He said it would happen within a year.

Brought it up again in April just to make sure we were still on the same page, and he said, “Yeah, like I said, I’ll ask you within a year” and I practically had a heart attack and said, “But you said that in February! Two months have gone by, that means you have to subtract those two months from the original timeline of one year!”

So… my guy is the type that needs gentle reminders every once in a while rather than one Big Talk and then never mentioning it again, otherwise he would not realize that time passes. Haha.

Good luck!! It might be easier to incorporate it into a general talk about the future… you could try, “Where do you see us in x years?” and go from there.

Post # 6
807 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

You’re not a bonehead–it’s a big conversation to have!

Maybe it will help take the pressure off to remember that you don’t have to come away today with all the answers–you just want to get the ball rolling so it is something you can become comfortable talking about. For us, it was a conversation we had multiple times. 

Just be open to hearing his side, be honest about what you are feeling, and remember that this guy loves you a lot, no matter how awkward the conversation may be at times.

Post # 7
3720 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

My advice may seem scattered, so if it doesn’t make sense, feel free to follow up. 

1) Make sure you have had all of the little talks first– do you agree on where you want to live 10 years from now? How many kids you want? How to spend money? How to practice your faith? How to balance family and friends with alone time? How to balance chores? How to handle debt/savings? If not, I recommend having each of those conversations first. We tend to have those taking walks or driving and had them over a 6 month period.

2) Once you know you are on the same page and would be a good long term match, then I started it by saying, where do you see yourself at 35 (5 years out)? Well if you want to be married with two kids, when do you plan on having them (33 and 35)? When do you plan on getting married (31)? When do you see yourself getting engaged (uhhh…)? Then be honest, tell him you think he is the one and want a future with him. Ask him what his thoughts are. Then negotiate. I knew I wanted to be engaged before August 2012 to get married by summer 2013. He agreed. We agreed on a longer engagement and got engaged in February.

Post # 8
485 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

Well, I have a different take… because I am a parent of a tween…  Anyone will tell you that to successfully talk about ANYTHING with a tween you have to break it down into a series of mini-conversations.  Partly because of their attention span, partly because of their level of maturity and party because it’s SUPER intense to have a huge conversation and even MORE intense if you have to do it looking at someone right in the face.  So, I’ve never had THE talk with her.  It has been a series of *age-approrpriate* conversations that started…. when she born practically.

Translation?  I would NEVER have “the talk” and expect that it would be one conversation that answered all my questions and we each came out of it knowing exactly where we stand and where we go from here.  I don’t think that’s realistic.  I have some anxiety about that kind of stuff and big conversations freak me out.  My Fiance knows he has to ease me in….. just like I ease in my daughter.

So, skype?  Sure.  It takes the pressure off.  Email?  MOST DEFINITELY…. just ask him when he can committ to a reply, so you know what to expect and then you can give him the space and freedome to reply.  Talk in the car.  Talk while cooking dinner together.  Talk while you take a walk around the neighborhood together.  Send him a yahoo article on whatever and ask what he thinks about it.  Your goal is to GET INTO HIS MIND.

“that couple in that house are getting divorced because the guy has a gambling problem…. what are your thoughts on that?”
…while fixing a salad “I would love a salad spinner, but a good one is $60.  What do you think is the amount of money one parter should ask for permission before spending?”
… while driving “my friend Sarah and her boyfriend just decided to stop seeing other people and be exclusive, when they’ve only been together for 3 months.  what you do think about that?”
“This girl on the weddingbee just got pregnant after TTC for 5 years.  How important is having kids to you in the future and what lengths would you go to in order to have one?”

These are all things you need to know about someone as you move toward building a future.  But if you ask them all interview style…. well, that would be super hard for a lot of people to have.  If you have a series of well-timed conversations with him over the next several months… you’ll find out all you need to know, but it will be more natural and comfortable for both of you.

DON’T talk when he’s agitated, wants to have sex or watching/playing *whatever it is he watches or plays* on TV.

I’m not sure what your email said…. but I think it’s easier to find out where his head is IN GENERAL, rather than specificially about you.  Do you want to marry me? wouldn’t be a question I would ask.  Do you see yourself being married?  What do you want in a wife? What is your ideal engagement period?  Those are questions that aren’t centered on YOU, but on what his thoughts are, which will make it EASIER for him to answer you honestly, without fear of hurting you.  But you’ll still be able to figure out where YOU stand…. ie if he says, I want to be married within 2 years and I see a 1 year engagement, well you know a proposal is a year away.  If he says I really don’t see myself getting married until I’m 50.  Well, if YOUR goal is to marry and have children… this is not your guy.

Good Luck!

Post # 9
746 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

This might seem cheesy, but a few years ago my fiance and I (when he was still just a boyfriend) made a timeline of our past relationship. We included trips we’d been on, fights we’d had, big anniversaries, and so on. That might be a good way to get the ball rolling in a fun, low-stress way! Talk about your past and then, when you get up to present day, ask something like, “What do you think will happen next?” 

Post # 11
675 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I agree with PPs that you need to be on the same page about all that life stuff – money, kids, where you’ll live, etc, but I also feel like you might already know these things if you’re planning on talking to him about marriage? If so, just be casual about it, once you can demonstrate that you can sit down and have a rational conversation about marriage and your future, the rest of the conversations will go much more smoothly, it’s kind of like ripping a band aid off. I just one day said, ‘hey, i was thinking about marriage and when we might want to get married’ since we had already been talking about it in the abstract. He said, ‘ok…’ and I just continued with light questions. ‘When might you think is a good time? 2013? 2014?’ and you can kind of work back from there. 

One other thing, if this is really your first conversation about it, you need to make sure you’re ready to hear what he has to say, not just have him listen to you. You need to be prepared for him to say “I don’t see myself getting married for another 5 years” or anything else, and you need to respect his opinions since you guys haven’t spoken about it yet, haven’t set expectations. If his wishes are different from yours, I would calmly and rationally let him know that and see where that leads you. Good luck!

Post # 13
44 posts

I had my talk about a month ago.  And it wasn’t so much that we needed to talk, it was that I had some things i needed to tell him and he needed to hear.  I needed to tell him my perspective and when I was done talking an getting it all off my chest, then we could talk about it.  Make sure you set aside time.  That neither of you is thinking about something else happening later. That allows for you to take the time that is needed to talk about everything!  I also wrote out key points that I wanted to talk about, so I had a direction to go in and I wouldnt start babbling! For more tips try searching the “talk” tag on posts, lots of info that way! Good luck!!!  (sorry for any typos my phone is autocorrecting terribly)

Post # 14
597 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

@raye9289:  AHHH!!! You two sound like us, I’m very emotional so whenever we have a talk it usually involves me getting flustered and flubbing my words majorly. 

So, I’d suggest writing a bullet list, like you were giving a speech, write all your concerns/wants and have it with you in front of you so you won’t forget anything and just let it all out. Then give him time to respond. 

Best of luck to you! 

Post # 15
808 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

OOh….I teach a course on difficult conversations…let me think about what would be helpful.

– use “I” statements…saying “I feel”, “I want”, “I like” is easy and it keeps the other person from feeling defensive.  Its also easier to say what you feel/want first and then ask for the other person’s thoughts. 

– Try to get to the point quickly.  he’ll probably figure out from your tone/expression that you want to TALK, and he may start to get nervous that it’s bad news.  So, say something like “I’d like to talk a little bit about something I’m very excited about.  I really see a future with you and would like to talk about our future and to make sure we’re on the same page.  Would that be ok with you?”.  THen you can start with a statement about marriage, kids, whatever. 

– location is key.  Make sure you’re both relaxed and in a location where you won’t get interrupted.  Cook dinner together, go for a walk, etc.

Good luck!

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