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So my partner and I have dating for a couple years, and it's definitely been a relationship of learning. Our communication feels pretty healthy. However, now as we're finishing college/university, we have more time together and our conversations aren't as hurried.

Because of that, we have a tendency to just watch TV together and not say as much. I feel lacking in conversation "ammunition", since we spend a lot of time together now. Conversations tend to stick with "How was your day?" and feel less authentic by both parties.

How should I approach maintaining healthy conversation with a long term partner that I spend a lot of time with?

EDIT: Most of my "ammunition" was from our differences in work at school. She does Studio Art and I'm a Programmer. We once took a class together on Early Scientific Literature, which sparked some awesome conversation for about 4 months. Since we see each other more often, those daily college stories don't tend to hold as long in a conversation.

  • 1
    Welcome to IPS! Can you describe what your "ammunition" was like before, was it just everyday topics or something related to your common interests? – ElizB Jul 5 '18 at 17:23
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    Can you point out what the actual problem is? I mean, (small-)talking less is not necessarily a bad thing in itself. Does it lead to uncomfortable silences? The problem seems more that you're having no meaningful habits at home (except TV and eating, probably), but it seems like maybe cause and effect are mixed up here? – AnoE Jul 7 '18 at 22:07
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Honestly, I think its natural that you have less to talk about since you're able to see each other more often. When I was away at university, I would call my parents about once or twice a month to update them on what happened. A lot can change in a month and I always have something to talk about with them.

Once I returned home for the summer I can now see them everyday. The large amount of things I had to talk about because I had to wait became a small amount of daily updates that didn't seem like much, but still when I look back on the past month, a lot has still gone on.

In summary, don't stress too much about conversations mainly sticking to "how was your day". As you get closer to your partner you will know more about what they do in their time, and people's lives are (usually) pretty static.

My Tips for Better Conversations

  • Go out with other friends (without your SO) and share once you get back.
  • Find a hobby you both enjoy, but can do at different times. Participating in the hobby at the same time ties into what I said above about knowing what your partner does in their time. I play fighting games with friends and I when we have the chance to play together we show off new combos or other things we learned while alone. You could even expand on those new things by then working on something even better together.
  • Find similar but slightly different hobbies/topics that you both like. For example, my father and I are both interested in music. He plays in a traditional rock band I and prefer digital music production. I share my tracks with him as they progress and he will tell me about his meetups with his band mates. Sometimes I can even get authentic guitar samples by going to his sessions, which helps us bond as he can hear the final result of something he played a week ago.
  • Just start talking. Seriously, it works. I've had great conversations with friends just by randomly blurting out a question or thought I've had. Talk about a theory you're thinking of about the TV shows you watch. You might be surprised at how interesting the conversation gets.
33

In addition to the good advice in the other answers, I'd suggest that you not treat "how was your day?" as a throwaway formality. I find with my girlfriend that if I really listen and then ask a few questions, there is plenty that happened in the day that is interesting and worth talking about.

She will do the same and ask me a question about my day that gets me going. It not only provides conversation, it gets us reflecting on what's going on. A lot of time we get through the day and don't think about what happened. Giving your partner time to reflect each day is a gift.

11

It sounds like you may feel like your relationship has stopped growing. Things feel rote and you need something new.

Pick up a new hobby together.

I haven't been in the place that you're talking about in my relationship, but I've picked up a couple new hobbies with my SO. For us it was jigsaw puzzles and niche board games, but the effect was instant. It's given us something to do during the quiet times of the week and it's something that's shared between only us. We have something new to bond over and talk about. It's also let me see a different side of my partner as I've gotten to watch them learn in a new situation.

Find something that sounds interesting to both of you but that you've never really explored and dive in head first!

7

Here is suggestion to watch movies and improve your relationship:

University of Rochester published a research: couples watching and discussing 50 movies cut divorce rates in half

Discussing five movies about relationships over a month could cut the three-year divorce rate for newlyweds in half, researchers report. The study, involving 174 couples, is the first long-term investigation to compare different types of early marriage intervention programs.

Discussing five movies about relationships over a month could cut the three-year divorce rate for newlyweds in half, researchers report. The study, involving 174 couples, is the first long-term investigation to compare different types of early marriage intervention programs.

The findings show that an inexpensive, fun, and relatively simple movie-and-talk approach can be just as effective as other more intensive therapist-led methods—reducing the divorce or separation rate from 24 to 11 percent after three years

List of original movies plus additional movies added later.

So you can watch the movies, will have something to talk about, and improve your relationship. I am in no way suggesting that OP's relationship is in need of expensive and intensive intervention by a therapist. :-)

5

I was in a bit of a similar situation until I had to move temporarily for a few months. I found the distance helping a lot since you are not together. My partner and I had so much more to talk about, when before "how was your day" didn't seem as interesting, now, we had to much to talk discuss about our days. From there the conversation naturally stemmed into other topics and we could talk for hours. So simply I suggest spending a bit of time away.

On the other hand, I also suggest doing something different. What's killing your conversations is the monotony and same daily routine. Have a day trip somewhere new, research some fun and exciting activities, go out drinking with your friends, play board games etc. Stimulate your minds by doing something different.

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