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How to Talk About Difficult Topics with Your Partner: Overcoming Communication Issues

Idit Sharoni

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I'm a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist based in Miami, a relationship podcast host, and an educator. I help couples transform their patterns of communication and heal after infidelity. 


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If you are a couple trying to manage and resolve communication issues in Miami, FL, then you are like many couples in New York City, Chicago, Denver, and L.A. In other words, you are not alone. In any relationship, communication can become anxious or complicated. It comes with relationship territory. Particularly when it comes to discussing difficult subjects. Your ability to discuss complex and controversial topics indicates the health of your connection. Still, don’t compare or criticize your connection, it’s easier for some couples than others for various reasons. It’s perfectly okay to acknowledge where you are and choose to move forward together.

If you think you and your partner might benefit from some support as you tackle tough topics, give yourselves some credit for looking here for help. To start, consider reaching out for couples therapy. A qualified couples therapist in Miami, FL, like those on my team, or proven online counseling can provide effective guidance. 

In the meantime, the following strategies for navigating tough conversations with sensitivity and openness can start strengthening your relationship communication today. 

Image of a mature couple talking to each other in sofa. With the help of a skilled couples therapist in Miami, FL, they can help you effectively work with your partner and overcome your communication issues. Work with Relationship Experts to communicate effectively with your partner.

Give Yourself The Attention You Need

Self-awareness matters. Before approaching your partner, look internally.  Take time to examine your assumptions, attitude, and the “buttons” you feel might be pushed during a tense moment. When tough topics arise, we often think about the situation before talking about it. You must be careful not to project onto your partner if you hope to resolve a tough topic as a team. Increasing personal awareness and removing mental roadblocks or triggers now can keep you on point, undistracted, and less reactionary later.

Notice your thoughts and feelings. What’s been going on in your head regarding this issue? Is there anything unresolved or in your background that may be clouding the main issue? Mentally paving the way is crucial before approaching your partner. Ask yourself: Am I “cooling off” or hiding out? Am I “letting it go” or lying to myself? Am I “rising above it” or running away? Be honest with yourself and open to change.

Also, pay attention to your view of your partner. Are you able to talk without feeling attacked or lashing out right now? Why? How are you characterizing your partner’s actions? Are your feelings really your partner’s fault?  Is that really who your partner is?

The key? A little introspection and perspective. You may be able to do this on your own, but the help of a couples therapist could be helpful. Together you can look at how you might be interrupting healthy relationship interaction. Strong partnerships are built when each partner considers how they might be contributing to the difficulty between them. 

Prepare To Be Fair 

Again, you’ve likely been thinking about this conversation or difficult topic for a while. Therefore, it’s important to allow your partner time to get up to speed. Let them know ahead of time what you’d like to discuss. Ask (don’t demand) to set a time together to talk things through. Then, they can organize their thoughts, brainstorm, and compose themselves for a rational, respectful conversation.

If you skip this step, they may feel blindsided or defensive. Resist the urge to characterize each other as “the problem partner” and keep in mind that your mutual relationship satisfaction is the focus. No one needs to “lose” in your conversations, whatever the topic. We offer couples therapy in Miami, FL to help this aim. We want to help couples approach difficult topics vulnerably and compassionately so that dealing with any topic is an exercise in building trust and reducing unhelpful communication issues.


Image of a couple standing near water smiling and looking into each others eyes. Find ways to overcome communication issues and work with your partner through difficult conversations with the help of couples therapy in Miami, FL.

Initiate Discussion With A “Soft Startup”

According to the renowned Gottman Institute, relationship research reveals that difficult conversations begin and end with the same general feeling. A harsh start to your talk will likely end it with as much or more tension.

Try a “soft startup” instead:

  1. Begin with a positive statement or observation. Avoid overt negativity.
  2. Use “I”  statements when sharing your feelings and concerns. Complain without blame. 
  3. Make clear, polite requests of your partner. 
  4. Appreciate and acknowledge your partner’s willingness to hear and discuss the matter.

Inquire As Much As You Attempt To Influence

When having a difficult conversation, curiosity is key. Approach discussions as if you are attempting to establish policy with a foreign nation. Act as though you don’t know anything and assume nothing. Before diving into your view of the problem, discover as much as possible about your partner’s point of view. What do they want? How do they feel? What matters most? Be sure your partner has the chance to fully express their perspective on the topic.

Also, pay attention to your body language, tone of voice, and breath. Try not to interrupt verbally or physically. Communicate interest and respect by the way you create space between you. Let them know that you hear and understand them. 

Positively Clarify Your Position Without Criticizing Your Partner

You can advocate for and clarify your position without minimizing or criticizing your partner’s. Speak honestly and respectfully. Seriously share your feelings and perspective without blaming, shaming, or bullying.

The goal is to be truthful and authentic but solution-focused, not focused on each other’s faults. Avoid anything mean-spirited or undercutting the sense of progress and cooperation. Intentionally, phrase your comments in a direct way, wrapping your points with positive statements.

Affirm, Even if You Don’t Agree

Affirming and acknowledging your partner throughout the conversation communicates respect for them. It prioritizes the relationship and takes the sting out of the fact that you don’t agree. It also sends these encouraging messages:

  • We can disagree and assess the situation honestly. 
  • We can agree and allow for differing opinions. 
  • We can agree and still put our heads together for the sake of our connection.

This keeps the relationship safe and supportive, reducing the potential for relationship damage.

Partner in the Problem-solving Process

Discussing tough relationship topics with your partner successfully is one of the most valuable relationship skills you can have. It isn’t easy, or the most enjoyable activity, but it yields a lot of growth. Knowing you can lay your issues on the table, however uncomfortable, makes your relationship stronger, more resilient, and trustworthy. What’s a bit of discomfort if those are your gains?

Again, this isn’t easy if you’ve fallen into a habit of defensiveness or avoidance when it comes to certain topics. You may need some help working through resentment or contempt. How can you do so productively?  Finding objective, compassionate counseling close to home such as a couples therapist in Miami, FL is a good place to start. Experienced counselors offer support and solutions for navigating tough topics while simultaneously helping you strengthen your connection. We hope you see that a therapist can partner well with you both to improve your communication. If you are looking for a couples therapist in Miami, FL please reach out to Relationship Experts soon. We’re here to help.

Image of a couple sitting outside hugging. Solve your communication issues with the help of a skilled couples therapist in Miami, FL at Relationship Experts.

Ready to Start Tackling Tough Topics With Couples Therapy in Miami, FL?

Deal with difficult issues and strengthen your communication with couples therapy in Miami, FL, or online with us at your convenience. You can build trust and deepen your bond with improved listening, problem-solving, and deeper connections. Professional and experienced couples therapists at Relationship Experts offer time, tools, and support whenever you’re ready. These steps will get you started:

  1. Schedule a complimentary consultation 
  2. Meet privately with a couples therapist for a 90-minute initial session
  3. Start overcoming your communication issues right away!

Other Services Offered By Relationship Experts

The qualified counselors at Relationship Experts offer a wealth of services and programs to support relationship closeness and reconnection. In addition to in-person therapy, based in Miami, FL, we provide online couples therapy worldwide. These services include Infidelity Recovery and Communication Therapy. Please read more of our blog for more useful information!


Image of a couple having a stressful conversation. With the help of Relationship Experts, you and your partner can find ways to effectively overcome communication issues with the help of couples therapy in Miami, FL.

I'm Idit Sharoni, your podcast host.

I'm an expert on relationships and infidelity recovery. I'm a licensed marriage & family therapist, a podcast host, and the founder of Relationship Experts  - a Couples Therapy & Coaching private practice.

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