Conflict is arguably the least-fun part of a relationship. Even if you don't mind confrontation, it can still be hard to talk to your partner about something you know will be challenging.
"Tough conversations are just that — they’re tough to have, they make people feel anxious and uncomfortable, and you want to avoid them a lot of the time, so they often are prolonged in terms of even happening," says Jane Greer, PhD, New York-based relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship.
And the thing is, letting things sit could make it even worse. Sometimes, that old adage is true: You just have to rip off the Band-Aid.
That being said, if you're really having a hard time bringing up an issue, or if you think you'd get more out of the conversation with an objective third party, you might consider seeing a couples therapist. (And yes, you can do that, even if there isn't a major issue.)
"Ultimately, a good option is to have difficult conversations that you’re finding aren’t getting you anywhere with a trained therapist," says Kristin Zeising, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and couples therapist in San Diego. "That way, you could have a container so that things don’t spiral out of control, but aren’t on public display either, while getting some tips on how to communicate more effectively."
If you don't feel like the problem at hand requires professional help, but still want advice on how to have an open, frank discussion, our experts have broken down what you should know about having a tough conversation with a partner.