How To Find Out What You Want Out Of Your Relations
Don’t panic if you are stuck in romantic limbo. Evidently, your love interest warrants a second look. That’s okay. You wouldn’t want to pass up someone of merit or stick with a Joe or Jane undeserving of your affection. Nor would you want to dump a perfectly fine mate just because you’ve hit a bump in the road of love. You are wise being cautious, especially if this relationship started to sound serious.
Try digging a little bit deeper to unearth your answer. Yours is not a hopeless case you have to solve on your own. There are still unused tools and tricks at your disposal.
Getting to the hard-core identity of your love interest and assessing the realistic potential of your future together is time well spent. It sharpens your perceptions and improves your odds of finding lasting love either now or later.
Feedback in Your Own Backyard
There are people out there just dying to give you their opinions. Some are worth listening to. Open your mind, hear what they say, digest it in private, and apply what seems appropriate. But never, absolutely never, turn the decision making over to someone else!
How Reliable Is a Friend’s Input?
A good friend who has your interest at heart and knows you well is a groundswell of help. She sees things you don’t. For instance, Hannah warned Jane that Josh was the kind who would forever disappoint her. She had seen the type before. He was strong on courtship but weak on commitment.
Waving the red flag in front of Jane was just the cautionary signal she needed to improve her vision. Although she didn’t break up with Josh right away, Hannah helped Jane see Josh’s actions in a new light. Thereafter, she kept him at arm’s length.
It’s Your Mother, Dear
Hopefully your mom doesn’t shower you with unsolicited advice. However, you might be wise to ask her opinion. In all probabilities she is your greatest support and your most biased onlooker. She above all has her protective guard up and isn’t about to let anyone take advantage of you or treat you as less than a royal.
Of course, you have to weigh her words. Nonetheless, she is, in most cases, the best person to give you added insight. Her intuitive powers can determine what your love interest is adding or subtracting from your life.
Straight from the Horse’s Mouth
Don’t play a guessing game. It may be time to approach your love interest for the proverbial love talk. He alone may hold the key to your decision.
Generally guys aren’t the ones to initiate a conference on a romantic relationship. They are unlikely to reveal themselves and hazard a show of weakness that could diminish their status. Even if a woman starts the infamous talk, men find this exercise uncomfortable and normally aren’t prepared to answer questions.
Plow ahead anyway, whether you are Deborah or Dan. There is much to be gained. To get the most out of your talk, obey the following dos and don’ts:
Don’t put the other person on the defensive or make her uncomfortable with your questioning. You are having a conversation, not conducting an interrogation.
Don’t insist that every question be answered right there and then. A love talk is valuable if it gets both of you thinking.
Don’t make any final decisions or pronouncements during the talk.
Don’t try to talk anyone into loving you. Maintain your self confidence, self-esteem, and composure.
Don’t attack, accuse, or blame.
Don’t lose track of what it is you wanted to accomplish.
Don’t be afraid to express your concerns and feelings. However, be careful not to divulge or reveal something you might regret later.
Don’t lie. It is better to take the fifth amendment than give an untrue answer you feel comfortable with at the moment.
Do listen carefully. Don’t interrupt, and don’t monopolize the conversation.
Do take time alone to think about what was said. Then act.
Deborah and Dan’s Love Talk
Let’s pretend Deborah had something on her mind. She approached Dan in just the right way and was savvy enough to get him to respond in an ideal fashion. Pay attention to how she did it. Don’t think she was being too syrupy and sweet; Deborah was merely candy-coating her message.
Deborah: Dan, I have something on my mind that I would like to share with you. Don’t jump to any conclusions. I know guys hate the talk. I don’t want to put you or myself in a tough spot. Both cities are appealing to me. Each has different pluses. I am trying to weigh all considerations before I make my choice. We have been seeing each other for nearly nine months. I have been having a great time and up until now didn’t feel any urgency to know how you see things between us. But I think if I understood more about how you felt about me, I would know whether I might like to be out on the coast or closer to the D.C. area where you are.
Dan: Deborah, I can’t make that decision for you. I mean, heck, that’s putting a lot on my shoulders. You have to do what you want.
Deborah: Of course, you’re right. I didn’t mean it to come off that way. I wouldn’t expect, nor would I want, you to make that decision for me. I guess I am just asking you to be honest about whether or not we may have a future together. Hey, don’t feel uncomfortable letting me know it has been all fun and games. I’ve had a ball. I haven’t taken sleeping together as a sign of an indefinite commitment. I think you have really been up front and never said anything you didn’t mean. I appreciate that. I think you’re great, and I truthfully don’t want to nip something in the bud that could grow into something more later. All I am asking is how do you see our relationship?
Dan: I haven’t given it much thought.
Dan: I don’t know if there is anything to think about.
Deborah: Well, let’s put it this way. I am asking if you see us getting married some day. I couldn’t answer that one myself. But say, if I moved to New York or San Francisco, would it influence how often or how little we would see each other? Excuse me. I’ll be right back. I’m going to the ladies room.
Deborah: Listen Dan. If I thought you were a real jerk, I wouldn’t take time to have this conversation with you. I don’t want you to feel any pressure. I am not asking you to commit to anything. If you want to talk about it later, I understand. I just kind of wanted to start to get my ducks in a row.
Dan: You really are understanding. I am a little confused about what to say. I mean you have been so available and all. Yeah. I think I would miss you if you moved away. I can’t say how often I would be up in New York. It seems reasonable to think I’d get there more often than San Francisco. I think it kind of has to sink in that you won’t be just around the corner. Are you mad at me?
Deborah: No. I’m not going to say I wouldn’t have been flattered if you had gotten down on your knees and pleaded I not leave you, but I’m not mad, not at all. I have some time before I have to turn in my final decision. I do think you owe it to me to think about it. Can we talk about it later?
Dan: Yea. That might be best.
The Objective Professional.
Consider seeking the advice of an objective third party. Relationship counselors and premarital counseling centers are popping up all over the place. With divorce costing billions of public dollars, Maryland and Michigan have proposed laws to delay licenses for those couples who have not taken a marriage class. Alaska and Kansas have considered reducing fees for those who have.
Florida has a program in play that works like this: The state’s Marriage Preparation and Preservation Act calls for a three day cooling-off period for couples who do not elect to take a one hour premarital counseling class. The act hopes to reduce quickie marriages that end in divorce. A further incentive to sit down and listen to some words of wisdom is a $32.50 reduction in the $88.50 marriage license. Check to see what offers your state is making.
Most people who enter premarital counseling programs take the stroll down the aisle together. There are others, however, who don’t have the right stuff for a lifetime together and bow out gracefully before the wedding march begins.
A worthwhile premarital counseling program:
Identifies a couple’s strengths and weaknesses
Locates potential trouble spots
Enhances communication skills
Teaches conflict resolution
Dispel Doubt with a Change of Scenery
Coasting through the routine of daily life rarely opens the way for new explorations into your love interest’s identity. We become complacent seeing each other in the same settings. Responses become habitual and even anticipated. The subtle expression of attitudes or behavior is overlooked. With a little bit of effort, however, you can encourage or forge new discoveries that are worth every bit of the effort.
Be creative. Get out and visit new vistas that provide the opportunity of seeing your questionable love interest in a fresh light.
Try New Horizons
To help you along, here are five ways to set the scene for making new discoveries:
Make plans with friends you don’t often see.
Throw a dinner party together.
Visit your folks.
Baby-sit for a friend’s kid.
Drive to an overnight destination that takes hours to get to.
Come up with five novel ideals of your own and test them out:
Don’t take everything you discover at face value. Some situations are more stressful and call for putting on one’s best behavior. The first home visit is outwardly awkward and formal. Reaching a level of comfort tells you a lot. Look carefully and you will get a glimpse of something you haven’t seen before. It might turn you in one direction or another.
Be discerning in your judgments along the path of discovery. Kimberly was concerned when Robert would become annoyed with crying babies in restaurants and was only lukewarm to the newborn babies of their friends. She questioned whether he had the patience to be a good parent. However, seeing him in action with his own niece and viewing the collection of pictures he had of them together changed her mind.
Unforeseen Dead Ends
Have you ever considered that you may be spinning your wheels trying to decide whether or not to break up when in reality the relationship has its own dead end?
You may be doing precisely that if your relationship reads like the old divorce story or the serial saga of the romantically addicted or the tale of waiting for love to strike like lightning.
The Old Divorce Story
I am absolutely never getting married again. I refuse to face the possibility of another divorce. Ever heard that one? If you have, don’t disregard the message especially if you have your eye on the golden ring.
Howard admitted that after his second divorce he was a male slut. His self-image was damaged. It took a while for this hard-driving businessman to repair the damage.
He fell deeply in love with a woman near his age but wouldn’t even consider the idea of marriage. She bid him adieu. When he finally found a compatible partner, he settled into a live-in relationship. Howard was to be taken at his word!
The Serial Saga of the Romantically Addicted
Repeat users keep looking for that high. They discard the empty bottles and butts.
Roy is just that kind of guy. You would have to fall in love with him. He makes you feel fabulous, showers you with gifts, whispers sweet nothings in your ear, and responds to your every whim. In the last 10 years he has had more than five serious relationships. Each ended with a less than happy female who thought she was and would be forever the love of Roy’s life. The best way to detect an addict is to read his case history and have him spell out the future.
The Tale of Waiting for Love to Strike Like Lightning.
This is a dead end if there ever was one. Claire was madly in love with Clark. Clark was not madly in love with Claire. Claire wanted to become Clark’s bride. Clark did not share her desire. The one and only thing that could make Clark commit to marriage after a previous love affair left him deserted was, he said, the magic and passion of being swept off his feet. He was always looking over his shoulder in case the woman of his dreams was nearby.
The problem with guys like Clark is that they don’t trust love that takes time to grow and wrap strings around their heart. Frightened off by the pain of unrequited love, they whittle away the rest of their lifetime waiting for that storybook entrance and strike of lightning that signals their perfect partner has just waltzed in the door.
A Quality Check
There are specific qualities no relationship ought to be without. If they aren’t present in yours, it’s time to bail out. No equitable and satisfying relationship is minus a single one of them. The absence of even one of the following should sound your quality control alarm.
Compatibility. You don’t need it for a one-night stand or a brief, passionate fling. But without something in common, something to share, something to bring you together besides sex, you can count on a short relationship.
Comfort. Not only must you be comfortable in the presence of one another, but you must be able to bring comfort to your partner. If he or she can’t help heal your pain, dry your tears, appease your loneliness, support your decisions, or be a sincere helpmate, what you have is a playmate.
Caring. A caring partner is kind, protective, and concerned about your well-being. She will go out of her way to make life easier, not harder, for you.
Respect. The kind of respect you should be looking for has little to do with putting the toilet seat down or squeezing a tube of toothpaste from the bottom up. A man or woman worth keeping around is one who respects your feelings, opinions, needs, desires, and privacy.
Responsibility. Two people must take responsibility for the relationship to make it work. It doesn’t have to be 50-50 every day or every week, but it should average out over the year. A good indication if someone accepts his fair share of responsibility is whether or not he can admit he was wrong and say I’m sorry.