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DO NOT skip over these conversations if you want a healthy relationship

Posted July 15

It’s hard to decide when in your relationship you should bring up some touchy topics. You don’t want to bring up sensitive subjects too early, but you also need to know answers to those pressing questions at some point.

Use this five-point schedule to make sure you get the answers you need at the right time in your relationship. It's also helpful to keep in mind that each couple is different. What works for one couple might not work for another, so use this guideline as a basic template to help you know when to talk about certain things:

1. The first few dates

This is the time to get to know a person. Learn everything you can about hobbies, interests, what their family is like or anything else you want to know about their personality. Figure out what makes them unique.

You don’t need to worry about the deep stuff on your first few dates. You might even scare off your potential future spouse if you start the relationship off with questions they’re not comfortable answering yet. You two are still practically strangers, so get to know each other without getting into your troubled pasts or secrets.

2. Commitment

Once you’ve been dating for a while, you've reached official "girlfriend" or "boyfriend" status ... you might even make it Facebook official. But don’t start jumping to the deep questions quite yet. Your relationship is still new and needs time to grow.

During this stage, get to know their family and friends and learn about the things that are most important to them. You might even feel comfortable sharing embarrassing secrets and talking about past relationships. It’s also important to talk about what you expect out of your relationship at this point. If you start off knowing each other’s expectations, you won’t accidentally let each other down.

3. Long-term commitment

You know you've hit long-term commitment when you start talking about marriage. You’ve gotten to know this person on a deep level, and you could see them as the mother or father to your children someday.

This is where you can start opening up about concerns you might have. It would be fabulous if marriage could work on love alone, but it’s so important to answer the hard questions to avoid future conflict. Discussing health histories, financial stability and other factors are important to discuss at this point.

4. Engagement (or just before)

Congratulations, you’re engaged! Amidst the wedding planning and the excitement, there are still some things you need to discuss with your future spouse.

It’s important to talk about what you expect from each other when it comes to intimacy, whether or not either of you have had a history with pornography and if that history will affect your intimate life. This is where you should discuss any other concerns you might have or things you need to know before you actually tie the knot.

Addressing these topics can seem uncomfortable, but it’s so important to set expectations before you go into a marriage so you don’t end up disappointed.

5. Marriage

Marriage is awesome, but it takes a lot of work. You and your spouse should constantly be talking about concerns you have or solutions to problems you face. Especially in marriage (but in any stage of a relationship), you need to work together to make sure you're connecting well and improving your relationship.

Remember, this is a guideline for when you should talk about things during your relationship. Every couple is different, so you might have to tweak things to make it work for you. Just make sure you’re having these conversations at times when you and your sweetheart feel safe and comfortable.

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