So it’s time for “the birth control talk.” You and your partner have been together long enough that birth control needs to enter the picture. Whether you want to start a family right away or not, this talk isn’t an easy discussion to face. You may be anxious and even nervous to talk about it with your partner. This is completely normal, no matter how long the two of you have been together.
Talking about protection is an important conversation to have, particularly in today’s climate. Not to be overly dramatic, but it’s your future. What you do with your body is your decision. Nobody, not even your partner, can make the decision for you. If you’re clamming up just thinking about it, keep reading. Below is your step-by-step guide on how to have a conversation with your partner about birth control.
1. Know Where You Stand
Before you even approach the topic with your partner, you need to have a clear sense of what you want for your body. Perhaps you already know what is best for you when it comes to your birth control. If so, that’s great. But again, being in a committed relationship may change or alter how you want to approach it.
This is also a chance for you to do some research and learn about all of your options. This may not be a fun assignment, but again it may impact your life significantly. There are more birth control options available today than ever before. From pills to rings to patches, birth control has come a long way. Online birth control is now an option as well. This allows you to contact a healthcare provider remotely and have the prescription shipped to you.
Once you’ve done your research, be firm in your final choice. If you are currently on birth control, you may continue to use what you are currently using. If you aren’t on birth control you will want to ensure it’s the best choice for your body. Don’t simply go by what your closest friend is doing or using. What works for them and their relationship may not work for yours.
2. Set the Mood
Will this conversation be as fun as watching a movie together or going out for a romantic dinner? No. Will it bring you and your partner closer together, allowing both of you the time and space to be open with your feelings? Hopefully, yes. The key to having a productive conversation is to set the mood.
Set aside a time that you know you and your partner will be in the right headspace to have the conversation. Bombarding them after what you know was a stressful day at work may not be the best idea. Nor should you have the conversation in bed after an intimate session. Think of this as a meeting, meaning both of you are sitting down in a safe, calm space.
Also, make sure there are no distractions. Put your phone away, signaling to your partner that you are focused solely on them. Now may not be the best time to have a glass of wine or alcoholic beverage of choice near you either. Instead, save the booze for after the conversation to ensure your head is clear and you’re saying what you need to say.
3. Be Upfront but Concise
Now is not the time to go in with a lengthy story of a friend or a family member who wasn’t on birth control and got pregnant accidentally. It’s also not the time to put the pressure solely on your partner. You want to initiate the conversation in a concise, mature manner.
It can be beneficial to have an opening line memorized. This can be as simple as, “I wanted to let you know that I recently got an IUD for protection.” Or, alternatively, you may say, “I haven’t been in a place before to be on birth control, but I think that should change based on our relationship.” Both of these lines cut straight to the chase and invite your partner to respond.
If you’re in a new relationship, your partner may be put off guard at first. If you notice their mood changes significantly, ask them if they want to talk about it. They may have baggage from prior relationships that you aren’t aware of. The same can occur even if you’ve been with your partner for a while. Never guess or assume how they are feeling. Instead, ask if they can share their feelings in a non-judgmental way.
4. Remain Open with Each Other
The birth control talk isn’t a once and done conversation, rather it should be an open dialogue between partners. If your initial talk wasn’t as productive as you had hoped, give it some time. Rushing back into talking about it may not be what your partner needs. Instead, ask them if they will bring it up when they are ready and willing to be open about it. In the meantime, it may mean abstaining from any sexual activity just to be safe.
On the other hand, if your relationship is progressing, you may decide that you want to start family planning. This obviously means getting off any birth control you’re currently using. Chatting with your gynecologist may be helpful, particularly if you are looking to conceive soon.
You may also want to chat with a professional, if your birth control method is having a significant impact on your lifestyle. As mentioned, there are several options available today. Not all may be conducive to your day-to-day-life. If this is the case, let your partner know if you’re looking to switch methods. Having them part of the decision can empower both of you and your future together.
The contraceptive talk isn’t easy to navigate. Moreover, the conversation you have with your partner will be different and unique than any other conversation. The most important thing is that you do talk about it. If you think now is the time, listen to your gut. You may be surprised that your partner is also trying to have the discussion with you as well.