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10 Questions You Probably Don’t Know You Should Never Ask Your Partner

10 Questions You Probably Don’t Know You Should Never Ask Your Partner

There are some obvious things we all know we shouldn’t say to the ones we love. However, some things may not seem so clear. Here are a few questions you should never ask your partner.

1. Am I the best you have ever had?

It is understandable to wonder where you stand in your lover’s eyes when compared to past suitors. Asking the question though could put your partner in an uncomfortable position.

Remember two things: First, no matter who they were with in the past, there is a reason they are no longer with them. Second, confidence in the boudoir is sexy. Show your partner you are secure in the relationship. Also be willing to listen and learn to be better. Ask instead: “What do I do that you like? What/how could I do it better?”

2. Do you think you could fall in love ever again if I died?

We are all guilty of a little narcissism now and then, like wanting to believe that should we die the world would stop spinning and those around us would be crushed with mourning. Morbid, I know, but true nonetheless.

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Temper these moments of narcissism by remembering that the world will keep going whether you are here or not. Think of the love and happiness you have with your partner and mentally allow them permission to find such love again should you be gone. If you find yourself dwelling on these thoughts, ask your partner: “Should I die, would you do something special once a year in honor and remembrance of the life and love once shared together?”

3. Do you like my mother/ family/ friends?

Our lives are filled with overbearing mothers, crazy family and annoyingly-goofy friends… but we love them because they are ours. When you and your partner make the decision to belong to each other, you unwittingly sign on to adopt whatever baggage your partner brings with them, which includes family and friends.

You have to have patience with your partner, as they may not automatically fall in love with all the other people you love. Don’t try and force it. It may come over time or it may never come at all. The important thing is how you feel about each other. Ask your partner if they will commit to spend one night a month with your family/friends in exchange for one night a month spent with theirs.

4. Are you done yet?

Communication is one of the most challenging aspects of a relationship and the bedroom is no exception. You and your partner could be compatible in nearly every way… except in regards of the timing of intimacy.

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Some partners sprint to the finish before the race has even started and other partners are like the Energizer Bunny of marathons. Wait for a private, yet non-romantic time and ask your partner, “What is your ideal, sexual time frame?” Then you can work together to find a happy compromise.

5. What would you do if I cheated?

This should be a non-starter from the get-go, yet it is not uncommon to get into hypothetical discussions such as this. Asking this question though could put your partner in the uncomfortable frame of thinking about you cheating. This can lead to fear, doubt and uncertainty in the relationship, all based on a hypothetical question.

Instead of worrying about what they might do if you cheated, try and make sure that you are not giving them a reason to cheat. Ask them, “What could I do to make you happier or more satisfied?”

6. Do you think we will make it?

It is not new news how prevalent divorce has become in our society. But this hypothetical question has a similar pitfall as number 6. It implies that you doubt or fear that your relationship might not make it.

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You and your partner are a team and to make it you must act as a team. Sit down with your partner and discuss mistakes you have seen others fall into or mistakes you yourselves have fallen into. Then ask, “What changes/practices could I apply to improve our long-term relationship?”

7. Can we afford that/ do you want me to pay for this?

A person’s financial-worth is often considered to be the same as their romantic-worth. This, combined with the fact that one of the most common problems in relationships are arguments about money, makes it easy to see why the topic of finance is sensitive

Asking if they can afford something or if you should pay for them can be extremely humiliating to your partner, especially when in public. Try to write a budget together and encourage each other to stay accountable. If you must ask these questions make sure it is in private and you are sensitive and understanding of the financial situation.

8. Are you really going to wear that?

This one sometimes slips out before we have really thought through the consequences of our words. You see your partner walking out dressed for dinner in that overused pair of sweatpants with the hole or that shirt they love that doesn’t quite fit them anymore, and the words seem to just volunteer themselves. Once said, the situation can be a hard one to salvage. Instead, try, “That looks nice. But I’d love to see you in that… outfit. Would you try it on for me?”

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9. Have you gained/lost weight? Are you pregnant?

No matter the size, most people are a little sensitive when it comes to issues of weight. Still, it is not uncommon for us to make casual observations about other people’s appearance without thinking about the effect it may have on them.

Unless it is a compliment, it is usually best not to comment someone’s weight; this goes doubly so in reference to women suspected of being pregnant. If you must comment, leave it at, “You look great today – is something different?” If they want to expound on any bodily changes, they will; if not they will accept the compliment and move on.

10. Why do you always do that?

No matter how much you love someone, if you spend enough time with them, they will eventually begin to annoy you. This can lead to lots of silly squabbles that can pile up into a much bigger problem. Before you lose your temper and lash out over something trivial, remember that you are just as annoying to live with.

This is the person you love. Approaching with anger and frustration as you vent your feelings will only make them get defensive. Instead, tell them how you feel with patience and love. Make it an open dialogue by not only kindly telling them what they are doing that annoys you, but asking, “What are things that frustrate you, that I can work on?”

If you are still asking these questions in your relationship, you should probably stop. Try the alternative questions instead and hopefully you will find the results to be a peaceful and harmonious relationship.

Featured photo credit: happy young couple in love outdoor in autumn via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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