Q: My partner told me recently na he thinks it'd be better if I stay at home after I give birth pero personally, I want to continue working. I'm not sure how to have this conversation with him. What can I do?
Communication is one of the pillars of every healthy relationship: It keeps you and your partner aligned, which is even more important now that you are about to bring new life into the world. Cosmopolitan spoke to relationship coach Aileen Santos to help dissect this problem.
Why is it hard for you to tell your partner you want to continue working after giving birth?
"I want you to think about the alignment between you and your partner," Aileen says, "Alignment is something that you're supposed to integrate into your conversations all throughout your relationship and the growth of your relationship." If you weren't able to talk about having children prior to getting pregnant or establish the roles you'll take on as parents, there is definitely an alignment issue.
And if you're concerned about bringing it up now, there is also a communication issue. "It sounds like you're walking on eggshells around your partner. It feels like there are things that you can't talk to your partner about. And if you can't talk about something that simple...[it] tells me that this isn't the only conversation that you're having a hard time bringing up in your relationship."
So of course, the next step is to actually talk about this topic. Aileen suggests checking your communication patterns in your relationship: "Improve everything that is under your control on your side of the communication spectrum...You have control over your communication style, the mode of communication you're going to use, the emotions you have when you are communication."
But it's also important to assess you why you have this expectation that it'd be difficult to talk to your partner about this. Ask yourself, "Is this expectation or is this fear of bringing up these deep conversations with your partner something that's coming from you? Is it just your fears? Or is your partner showing indications that he would really not be open to conversations like this?" See this as a starting point: If there's an issue of communication and alignment, it's best for the both of you to work on these things right now (instead of letting it build for years).
Aileen Santos is a relationship coach and romance author. Her mission is to help people learn love facts versus love fiction so they can have more awesome relationships. She is a registered guidance counselor and has a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. Aileen is also a certified professional coach internationally.
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