How to talk to your partner
about hiring a coach
Hiring a sex coaching when in relationship is a powerful choice, one that signals your willingness to take care of yourself and your relationship.
Yet this intimate and revealing conversation can be difficult for many people, men and women alike.
It’s natural to feel less than courageous in approaching your partner. Fear is normal here as you’re opening up what may be your struggles and desires for more. You may fear hurting your partner or of being judged by them. You name it, this space is ripe for fear.
Fret not. With the help of careful prep work to build your confidence and ease, this conversation can actually make you come closer with your partner.
Take Jenny, for example, a woman in her late 30s, who came to me because she wanted to stop feeling anxious and withdrawn during sex and feel more pleasure and connection to her husband. Jenny acknowledged right away that she had waited for a long time to seek out a coach because she was ashamed of needing help in an otherwise loving and caring relationship. She was scared to tell her partner that she didn't always enjoy sex for fear of hurting his feelings. Once we worked through her fear of approaching her partner and helped her feel confident to talk to him, she not only had shared with him what was happening, but also infused more passion into their sex life. That fear had a greater impact on her anxiety than she realized: once she let go of the fear hurting his feelings and allowed him to see her, she instantly began to feel more relaxed and turned on in sex.
Our fears highjack our own brains too, making us to find excuses on why not to work with a coach. Many clients tell me that they cannot afford to invest money or take time to work on themselves. I tell them they can't afford not to.
Lin is a stay-at-home mom in her early 40s who came to me because her libido took a nose-dive after the birth of her three kids. She no longer felt turned on — neither to her husband or anyone. She wanted to feel more alive and connected to her body — more herself. As quickly as she accessed that desire, she retracted, convinced that she didn't have time to do this work because her family needed her at home. After prodding a bit, we uncovered, much to her dismay, that Lin believed that taking time to work on herself would mean she's being a bad mother. Once we worked through her fear and Lin saw that taking care of herself was in fact her responsibility to her children, she began to feel more turn-on in her body and started flirting more with her husband.
These conversations may be tough. That's why I've created a process and a worksheet (PDF) to help you navigate this intimate — and important — conversation. I know you can do it!
Access your “why”
What results are you looking to get from working with a coach? What is important to you? How might your life change for the better?
Knowing your “why” helps ground you in your decision. It's the underlying motivator. It also drives your confidence and also lets your partner feel why your decision is important to you.
Your partner may not support you spending thousands on "a coach" without getting that it's important to you. But they will feel differently if you tell them that this is going to help you feel more relaxed, connected to them (the partner), and help you enjoy sex more. Do you feel the difference already?
Face your fears
Fears have a great way of lurking in the shadows, masquerading themselves as money issues or excuses such as “I don’t have time” or “work/kids/life is just too busy right now”.
Get to know your fears so that they don’t drive the bus--and remind yourself that you do.
This conversation is an intimate one in nature. There is risk of revealing something about yourself or getting a "no". It's bound to provoke anxiety and discomfort in even the strongest of us.
The more aware you are about your own fears, the less you will be swayed by their unconscious power. Standing up for yourself in uncomfortable or pressured situations is a hallmark of relationship resilience and getting what you want.
Find your non-negotiables
Your non-negotiables are your boundaries, or what you are not willing to do or give up in any situation. These correspond to what you value the most — about yourself, your body, your integrity. Understanding your non-negotiables helps you know where you need to stand up and claim your power and where you can negotiate.
By working through the worksheet, find out what is most important to you and what are you willing to negotiate.
Now you’re ready to have the conversation.
Check with your partner about a good time to talk about this topic.
Set aside dedicated time for this face-to-face conversation. Make it conscious, not a fly-by one while doing the dishes. And definitely not when you're making love.
You might find it useful to tell your partner upfront, before our phone consultation, that you’re exploring this work. Give them time and space to feel into it.
Be real about where you are. You might be nervous or scared to bring up the topic. It's ok. Most likely, your partner might be too. Let them know that this is important to you and scary at the same time to ease the discomfort for both of you.
“Can we talk for a few minutes? I want to talk to you about something that’s important to me, but I’m feeling scared. Are you in a space to talk about it now?"
“I want to talk to you about our sex life, but I’m feeling nervous about bringing it up with you. Could we set aside a few minutes to talk about this privately?"
Lead your conversation with your "why".
Notice if you tend to go after asking your partner for permission to do this work. Remind yourself to trust in your decision to do this for yourself. Trust that you know what’s right for you.
Use the questions in the worksheet to access your "why" and gain the confidence to speak about your decision.
Be direct in your conversation. You might be tempted pad it with lines such as, “it would be nice if I did this” or “it’s probably a good idea”. The most powerful approach is to feel sure of your own decision to do this work for yourself and using clear language such as "I want to do this. It's important to me", while also staying open to hearing your partner's feedback or point of view.
Ask your partner about their concerns rather than go for permission.
Remember, it's ok to want what you want and need. It's tempting to energetically lean towards asking for permission, especially if you're unsure of your own decision. Doing the worksheet and grounding yourself in your reasons will help you stand stronger on your own two feet in an uncomfortable and stressful situation.
Asking about your partner's concerns and fears sends the message that you care about them and their perspective, without resting your decision on their permission.
You may ask something like: "I am ready to start. What concerns or fears do you have about me doing this work?"
We often think of a "no" as an end to a conversation. It doesn't have to be. Avoid trying harder to explain your point or change their mind. Instead, get curious about your partner's objections.
You can learn more about your partner in this situation — and build more understanding between you — by acknowledging their perspective and concerns and asking about their response. This is an opportunity to learn more about them so that you can make an informed and solid decision for yourself.
In response to your partner's objection, you may ask: "I hear you feel that we might grow apart if I work on this by my self. It must be scary for you right now. Can you tell me more about what scares you?"
Lastly, be prepared to get a "no". Should there be objections from your partner, staying grounded in your own decision helps you be less reactive or defensive during this stage. Connect back to your "why" and what's important to you. This will also help you stay more open and creative to finding a solution.
Be open to finding a solution. It may not be obvious.
Ask open-ended questions that promote brainstorming and creativity: “How can we make this work?" or "What do you need from me to feel safe about this decision?".
If it's indeed a money issue, brainstorm some ways to find resources, be it selling things you no longer need on Craigslist or finding lower-cost options (such as drinking coffee at home and channeling the $4-5 dollars a day towards your coaching (30 days x $4 = $120). Use the worksheet to think of these options ahead of time.
If you find yourself getting defensive or withdrawing in the conversation, name it and find a better time to continue the conversation.
You might say: "I am noticing I am getting defensive about this decision, and I don't want to push you to change your mind. Can we continue talking about this another time?"
Here are some sample conversations with your partner.
“Can we talk for a few minutes? I want to talk to you about our sex life, but I’m feeling scared. Are you in a space to talk about it now?
You’re such a supportive partner, which is why I feel comfortable enough to bring this up. I have been feeling ready to explore a side of me that is wanting to come out, a more powerful sexual side, and I’d like to work with a trained professional to help me access that. It’s important for me to do this right now because I don't want to be leaving sexual pleasure on the table. This is going to make me happy and more relaxed, I know it. Your support would mean so much to me. I am ready to start today. What concerns do you have about me doing this work? Will you support me on this journey?”
“I want to talk to you about our sex life, but I’m feeling nervous about bringing it up with you. Could we set aside a few minutes to talk about this privately?
I know we’ve been wanting to have sex less frequently, which is hard for me because I want to feel closer to you but my body doesn't seem to want to. I know it affects you too. I miss being able to connect with you on this intimate level. I have sought out the help of a trained professional, a sex coach, to help me access my desire. It is important that you support me on this journey. What concerns might you have about me doing this work?
In response to partner's concerns: "I hear you feel that this decision might jeopardize our relationship. I bet it's scary for you right now. Can you tell me more about what scares you?"
If you want additional support in talking to your partner, request a 15-minute free consultation, and I'll be glad to help you.