Written by Zamara Perri
Communication can break or make a relationship. This is the fifth in a series of articles sharing how we can improve the way we communicate with the women we love.
You’re not happy with your sex life. Her children are rude as hell. She disrespected you some how. You’re feeling jealous or insecure about another person in her life. You want her to contribute more to the bills. Or you were snooping in her phone and discovered something shocking. Whatever it is, you now have to bite the bullet and have a tough conversation with your partner, wife or girlfriend.
You’d think it that if you can take off your clothes in front of her, it would be easy to have tough, awkward conversations with your woman. But in a lot of ways lesbians are no different than any other couple. We have the same fears and limitations as other couples do. Sharing how you truly feel especially about a difficult situation can be awkward. Scary. We worry about hurting her feelings or messing things up.
But what exactly are we messing up? Most of the times we are not fooling our partners because our actions often speak before our mouths do. And I get it.
I recently had one of the toughest conversations I ever had with my partner. I knew that keeping my concerns inside would only end up hurting the relationship. One of my biggest issues was just feeling like she was constantly reminding me that she didn’t need me.
So, I told her how her comments made me feel. And guess what, I found out that she had the same concerns about our relationship that she was too scared to share. And because we had that conversation, we got closer, which is what I wanted in the first place.
Here are my tips for black lesbians who need to have a difficult conversation with their partners but don’t know how:
- Realize that something has to change and be open to change. Know that change doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If the conversation is that difficult in the first place that is because there is a real problem that you must address.
- Tell her how her actions/the situation makes you feel. You can never go wrong sharing your feelings instead of attacking her. A good woman never wants to hurt you and will do her best to keep you happy.
- Place and timing is everything. Whatever the problem is, don’t bring it up when you’re angry and don’t blame her for everything. We all have a part to play in anything that happens in our lives—either we allow it or encourage it. Are you not happy with your sex life? Don’t bring this up when you’re having sex. That’s just awkward and insensitive. Pick a time and place where you won’t be interrupted.
- Show, not tell. Sometimes it is better to show someone how you want them to change something. My sensitive sweetheart has been such a great role model for me. One thing she is big on is speaking softly. She has shown me how to address her in a way that makes her feel loved. If you don’t like the way your partner performs oral sex, show her. If you don’t like the way she cooks your food, then you cook it.
- Find a solution together. Some problems are better solved together than alone. Whatever the issue is, think of it as an opportunity for you two to work together and brainstorm. You can often find a solution that works for you both.
- Get clear on what you want to talk about. If you’re upset about the way she disciplines your children, don’t bring up irrelevant stuff about how upset you are that she called you at work. That’ll only cloud the issue and lead to confusion. Focus.
- Get clear on why you want to talk about it even if it’s just for yourself. Dig deep. Figure out why this is an issue. If it’s a money issue, your concerns can stem from growing up in an unstable home where money was always a source of stress. By knowing why an issue is a stressor, you’ll be better to explain that to your partner.
- Get clear on how you want to approach the topic. Do you want to just sit her down and blurt it out? Do you want to start off by telling her how much you love and appreciate her? I recommend that you bring up something positive about the relationship and her before launching into the issue.
- Realize that this is not a one-time conversation. Sometimes it’s so hard for us to have difficult conversations because we treat them as precious and one-time events. But it really should happen effortlessly in daily conversation. Disagreeing with your partner doesn’t have to be a touchy scary thing. There are certain things that will keep coming up in your relationship because you’ve agreed to work on it. Frequently addressing an issue in with a problem-solving mindset can make certain conversations less scary. Doing this makes having hard conversation normal. And it makes it so that you build trust over time and it becomes easier to the point where you are never hesitant about bringing up an issue with your partner again.
- Be open to her not agreeing with you. You and your partner don’t have to agree about everything. But ask her to listen and be respectful and listen to her point of view, too.
- Try again. Don’t give up. Sometimes the first time you attempt a hard conversation can end in hurt feelings and even a fight. Sometimes the thing you wanted to communicate—which is your fear—comes out wrong and you don’t. But don’t give up. If you love her and want to be with her, don’t give up. Try again.
Genuinely honest conversations are a way for you to get naked with your partner without taking off your clothes. They are an opportunity to build understanding and intimacy. And if you are open and vulnerable about the hard stuff, then you can build trust which leads to confidence in the strength of your relationship.