How to start difficult conversations

Welcome back to another week with the Tea Ladies!

The Q&A Episode this week was pretty juicy this week and definitely brought up a good discussion, from boyfriends behaving badly to how to tell him about his bad (terrible) dental hygiene.(Click here to listen) Let us know what you think about these because there are so many routes both of these situations can go…

"I moved in with my Boyfriend, but he spends a lot of time outside the house."

This week’s Q&A’s are pretty interesting, we have a listener whose boyfriend seems keen on spending much more time outside or sitting in the car than in the house with her. We all agree that this is unusual behaviour but we don’t have enough context to make a call on what could be really happening. But we love a good challenge!

The first step to resolving any issue is; talking. Men are usually quite simple in their reasoning behind actions, and for this one, there could be a very simple explanation. We don't know what is going through this lad's mind but we know it's definitely a behaviour that is not quite normal. It is appreciated that when you move in with your other half, there will be a period of re-adjusting. Adjusting to a new way of living together and compromising on a lot of things. The first compromise has already been the request to smoke outside. Which he has done. But, in doing so, he seems to have gotten carried away with his smoking, his phone or being outside and not realised the impact of his disappearance!

There’s a fairly general consensus that moving in with a partner there is a brief honeymoon period where all is cute and cuddly, where a decrease in spending time together can be perceived as a huge red flag. This is not always the case, this could have been his routine prior to moving in together or him not coping with living with you, heaven knows, but what is definite is that this is probably the perfect time to start working on your communication.

So how do you begin that dialogue? You could simply ask what is going on. If you feel its a difficult conversation to have or you have already explored that tactic; try talking about something else. Ask how work is going, family, friends to see if there are any hints of potential issues bothering him. You could also try offering to go outside with him or call him on his mobile when he is outside just to keep him company! See how he reacts to your efforts. If he doesn't mind the company, then that's probably all it was, losing track of time. However, if he rejects your offers then potentially he wants some alone time, there is more to the behaviour than he has let on.

One thing for certain is that once the dialogue begins, the reasons behind his behaviour will become clearer and you will be able to make an educated decision on how to move forward.

"He has bad dental hygiene, how do I tell him that he needs to go to the dentist?"

We feel like most of us have been through something of this type, whether it’s his bad breath, body odours, flatulence, meat sweats etc. But what do you do?! For some reason we think that it’s easier for girls to look past these things when they like a guy than it is for guys to do the same when it's the other way around. Women and self grooming has been part of our growth and education, so it becomes a ritual, to groom ourselves regularly. However, with men, some grooming goes unattended to; armpit hairs, bad breath, clothes worn on repeat for days. The list is endless. We've noticed that as a result; women tend to find it easier to let their attraction to someone’s character override the lack of physical attraction, so if she’s writing into us with this problem then a) she must really like him and b) his teeth must be really bad!

It’s a difficult one for sure, because if you’re just in the dating stage then it’s almost impossible to bring this up because you’ll be overstepping your mark. But if he’s your boyfriend in a serious relationship then you’re in a better position to raise the problem – but then you have to wait for a while before you say this in case you damage a relationship that’s too new! On the other hand, if you wait too long, then his main question is "why didn't you say anything before?" a literal chicken and the egg scenario! Yep, this one is hard, but we recommend you tell him the truth because you’re probably not the first person to notice. He’ll have colleagues who can’t say this to him, maybe other dates in the past that ended promptly and he never knew why… and what about when he meets your friends and family, it’ll be that awkward thing that nobody will discuss with you or him?

So the question from this particular listener was "How do you tell him he needs to get his teeth fixed and all?" We put this out to our followers on Instagram and we got a few recommendations as we were stumped on this one ourselves!

We must say, we loved the "let's go together" idea. Make it a date at the dentist! Also starting the conversation when you are all loved up and in a good mood would also be a good way to bring up an awkward topic. During this podcast episode, Leo suggested commenting on other people's teeth and how much she loved them in a way to subliminally plant the idea. This was also quite a good way to approach the topic and potentially slip in when you last went to the dentist and ask your partner the same question!

Next week’s episode

Back by popular demand is another voice-note episode! The last one we did was a hit and this week we want to hear you tell us your thoughts on what should a couple do if: “The man earns enough to support the family/household and the woman earns some but not a lot, what should the woman contribute to if anything?” Keep in mind that his salary covers all their needs plus a little bit more. This one goes beyond ‘splitting the bill on dates’ but into the deeper stuff, what do you think?

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