7 conversations you need to have if you want your relationship to last, according to psychology

We all know that communication is one of the most important things couples need to prioritize in their relationships. 

Without it, well, basically, you’re just playing a game of blindman’s buff – with both of you wearing the blindfold! You’re just groping around in the dark, wondering if you’re on the right track. 

But what exactly should you be talking about? According to psychologists, there are several conversations we need to have with our partners if we want to make sure that our relationships last the distance. 

Ready to find out what they are? Here are 7 conversations you need to have if you want your relationship to last: 

1) Expectations for the relationship

When it comes to building a lasting relationship, setting expectations is a lot like making an outline. Or a map. 

It gives you a guide for navigating the relationship together. I think this is something many couples skip over because, well, it’s kind of not romantic. It’s not sexy. 

In some ways, it can feel a lot like a business transaction or an assessment, complete with a checklist. 

But according to psychology, it’s foundational. Meaning, it lays down the groundwork for what you want to achieve together. 

Having unspoken expectations and unrealistic assumptions can breed resentment down the line if they aren’t met. And to be fair, how can your partner even meet them if they didn’t know you had all those expectations, right? 

So lay it all out – are you aiming for a laid-back companionship or an all-in, building-a-life-together kind of deal? Do you see yourselves flying all over the globe and exploring, or settling down and planting roots? 

Simply put, it’s about getting on the same page. It can save you a lot of confusion and heartache down the road, when you find out, for example, that the person you’re with has a completely different vision of life from yours. 

2) Needs and boundaries

This is closely connected to my point above. Relationships thrive when both partners are clear about what they need and what they will/won’t accept. 

Let’s talk about needs first. 

What do you need to feel loved and satisfied? Are you the type of person who feels most loved when your partner is vocal about their love for you? Or when they perform acts of service for you? 

Figuring out each other’s love languages goes a long way in keeping your relationship healthy. Because honestly, it’s like a cheat sheet – you immediately know the best way to show your affection and support.

Here’s what an interesting study revealed: People whose partners used their love language experienced more relationship and sexual satisfaction than those whose partners didn’t.

It goes both ways, too – those who express love through their partner’s love language also feel more satisfied. 

The study’s author, Maciej Stolarski, further says: “The more tailored your love language is to your partner’s needs, the greater their – and your own – satisfaction.” 

Knowing each others’ boundaries is equally important. You see, boundaries are there to protect our well-being. To keep us feeling safe and respected. 

As HelpGuide puts it, “Without healthy boundaries, your relationships can become toxic and unsatisfying and your well-being can suffer.” 

3) Sex and intimacy

Oh boy, this one’s difficult. A lot of couples find it so awkward to talk about their needs in the bedroom. 

But when you think about how important sex and intimacy are to a relationship, you might see why it makes sense to ditch the shyness and embarrassment and talk about it. 

So, what’s the best approach to this? 

Dr. David Ludden of Psychology Today suggests approaching with sensitivity to your partner’s feelings. He says: 

“Statements such as ‘I understand this is uncomfortable for you’ and ‘I really appreciate your willingness to talk about this’ can go a long way toward helping the other person relax and open up. If they show too much resistance, back off and approach again on another occasion.”

Those who’ve been brave enough to have this conversation will tell you how being open and honest about their sexual needs, desires and fears is so worth it – they end up having more fulfilling sex lives and better intimacy

4) Money

Another topic that’s incredibly hard to talk about is finances. For some people, it doesn’t even occur to them to talk about money because it has always been seen as taboo. 

But here’s something that should give you some food for thought – according to a 2021 Credit Sesame study, a whopping 60% of couples argue about money! 

And on top of that, money is one of the top causes for divorce, next to infidelity and lack of commitment. 

So…do you really want to be part of that unfortunate percentage? 

If you don’t (and I’m sure you don’t), have a sit-down with your partner, with money as the agenda. 

Be kind and respectful, and approach it from a team mentality – you’re in it to win it together, not fight over it! 

5) Attitudes towards work and career goals

Speaking of teamwork, relationships thrive when both partners are on the same page when it comes to work attitudes and life goals. 


Well, it’s hard to stay in love when you’re working your butt off while your partner lounges around in pajamas all day, isn’t it? Or when you’re all about climbing the career ladder while they’re happy just coasting along. 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in such a situation, and it was very frustrating.

Don’t get me wrong – you don’t have to want the same kind of work environment or goals.  

But you do need to get where the other is coming from. And you do want to feel like your partner’s growing along with you. 

Talking about how this stuff affects your time together and your future plans can help you see if you’re both heading in a direction that feels good for you both. 

This brings me to the next point…

6) Thoughts on family and parenting

One of the most natural directions relationships take after a while is that of building a family. 

Are you on the same page there? Is your partner committed to building a life with you? Having kids? 

It’s good if you both have this same vision down the line, even if it doesn’t have to happen right now. 

But what if you don’t and you find out much later, when you’ve already invested so much time, emotion, and energy? 

This comes down to shared values – psychologists agree that for a relationship to last, couples must share some common core values. 

Otherwise, you’re looking at a life with more friction and frustration than there needs to be. 

7) How to handle conflicts and disagreements

When my husband and I first started being serious about our relationship, we had a good, long conversation about how to deal with disagreements. 

We felt it was necessary because we had very different communication styles – I am confrontational (even aggressive at times, I admit), and he has a huge tendency to stonewall. 

That didn’t bode well for the health of our relationship. We loved each other and if we wanted to stay together, we had to find a way to deal with arguments safely. 

Psychologists say that it isn’t conflict that tears couples apart – it’s the way they handle it. 

So have your own conversation about it. What are the ground rules when you disagree about something? 

For us, it was these: 

  • No yelling and name-calling
  • No stonewalling
  • No bringing up of past issues

It’s actually a longer list than that, but you get the picture. Find a way to make conflict bring you closer – not tear you apart – and your relationship will last

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