5 Places To Avoid When Broaching A Serious Topic With Your Partner

They say there's a time and place for everything, and having tough relationship conversations with your partner is no different. While these uncomfortable discussions are easy to put off and avoid, they're an essential part of a lasting and healthy partnership. The only question is ... where should you go about having them? 


If you're nervous about broaching a conversation, it can be tempting to just jump into things the instant you work up the nerve. And while "ripping off the bandaid" can be satisfying in some circumstances, it isn't the best way to make your partner feel respected and safe. You're better served by reaching out to your partner and asking when they would be available for a more serious and focused discussion. This eliminates potential feelings of bombardment or unexpected attack. 

Once you have the time sorted out, all that's left is to pick a place. Fortunately, for this step, there aren't too many ways you can go wrong ... except for these five spots you should be careful to avoid. 

Avoid your favorite spots

You'll want to choose a spot that you feel comfortable in, so it can be tempting to return to one of your favorite haunts. Perhaps you gravitate toward your and your partner's typical date spots, banking on the shared memories to serve as a reminder of what you're fighting for. However, the last thing you want to do is taint one of your iconic relationship locations with a hard conversation. 


While the Harvard Business Review says that you're better served by assuming that the conversation will go well, you should prepare yourself for alternative outcomes. If your discussion turns into an argument, ask yourself where you would be most comfortable with that taking place. 

Your favorite lounge, park, or coffee shop can be saved as a post-discussion reward. After a tough discussion, it can be comforting to head out and do an activity together to get back into the swing of a relationship and reaffirm your care for one another. 

Keep arguments out of the bedroom

Whether or not you buy into the relationship advice of "never going to bed angry," your bedroom is not the place for hard conversations with your partner. While we can't blame you for wanting to be bundled up in blankets and in a safe space, the peace and comfort of your bed shouldn't be disrupted. Beyond that, tucking yourself in might start to make you feel sleepy ... which the Huffpost suggests can exacerbate conflicts. 


If the tough conversation comes up during a midday cuddle-sesh, your partner may feel taken aback and embarrassed. Lying down in bed with someone, only to discover that they're frustrated with you or need to have a serious conversation, can feel embarrassing and off-putting. This gets your discussion off to a bad start. 

Trying to broach tough subjects right before sleeping comes with even more disastrous impacts. Couples who have these late-night discussions are said to lose nearly an hour and a half of sleep, between their discussion and the time it takes to regain a sense of relaxation. The bottom line? Don't underestimate the sanctity of your space (or your sleep). 

Pick a different dinner conversation

Being hangry will only make tough discussions worse, so we won't stop you from grabbing a snack beforehand. However, the dinner table — especially at a restaurant — probably isn't the right setting for the conversation itself. People approach meal times with the expectation of relaxing and recharging. The last thing you want to do is be making your points in between bites, or using your napkin to scrub away tears. 


Perhaps the conversation has been on its way for a while, and you're worried tension at the table will make it impossible to avoid. In this case, you may want to try to broach the subject ahead of mealtimes. Or, come prepared with plenty of other things to talk about. 

Anne K. Fishel, Ph.D., put it best to WebMD. "Dinner is not the time to bring up a touchy subject," she explained. "Wait until you've eaten and had a chance to connect with each other, and then set aside a time to talk about more serious topics." 

Wait until the car ride is over

Movies and music videos can romanticize tough car conversations. The pounding of a hand on the top of a steering wheel ... the wistful stare out the window as a silent tear rolls down your cheek. In reality, cars are not the ideal setting for these discussions, especially when you're driving. Not only are you limited by the uncomfortable constraints of your car seat and seatbelt, but the importance of focus while driving means that hard questions should be the last of your priorities. 


Once again — you never know the path that a discussion will take. Even if you and your partner aren't the types to get angry, any kind of intense emotion can be detrimental to your health and safety. Drivers who are sad or agitated are 10 times more likely to get in a car accident. Not only that, but you and your partner both deserve an escape route if you decide you need to step away from the conversation. Car-based relationship chats can make people feel trapped ... and make for incredibly awkward road trips. 

Definitely don't chat over drinks

So you want a little liquid courage — we don't blame you. However, tough discussions should not take place over drinks ... especially when those drinks are being served at a noisy bar. Not only could miscommunication come into play, but the public setting that often accompanies drink environments could feel intimidating and prompt your partner to hide what they're really feeling. 


Drinking can also exacerbate the issues that are prompting your tough conversation, making them feel worse. Alcohol impacts our brains' abilities to think or behave rationally. When having an important conversation, you'll want to make sure that your reasoning skills are operating at their full capacity. If you don't come across as thoughtful and coherent to your partner, they may assume you're simply picking a fight for no reason. 

Of course, alcohol can also increase feelings of impulsivity, and perhaps you're nervous that your concerns and frustrations will just slip out. In this case, you should make sure to prioritize having your conversation over having a night on the town. We're probably all best served by not going to bed or bars angry.