The single most important thing one can do to ensure a long lasting happy and healthy relationship is choosing the right partner for yourself. This might seem like a fairly obvious statement but it is the one thing that most people have no real notion of how to go about doing.
If you really want to have a healthy relationship, you have to go about finding the person to do that would like a investigative reporter. One thing that most people seem to forget is, that when dating, the person is trying to sell you on themselves. They are not likely to volunteer information vital for you making good decisions.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard things like the following from couples in the last 20 years:
I thought I knew him/her. I had not idea they liked that in bed. I didn’t know about their past relationships. The list goes on and on.
A person will offer up only what they think gives them best opportunity to be with you. They will not know what information is vital to you and thus not know what it is you need to know. They will deliberately tailor their responses to what they think you want to know and they will also omit or outright lie about past events if need be.
So given the damning statements above, what tools do we have to combat it? Simple. Ask questions. Instead of droning on about yourself, learn to be an active listener and learn to ask leading questions that will uncover what is important to know. Then after asking those questions, learn to really hear the answers and how to look for evasive responses, long pauses, inconsistencies in their story, and things that just don’t make sense. Those are major red flags that you are not being told the truth.
Here are some of my most important suggestions to anyone that has just started to date a new person.
1. If you are a woman dating men – be deliberately vague at about what you are looking for in a man or relationship. Don’t be clearer about what you want till you are positive what their goals are. Why? Because you don’t know this person yet. You’ve no idea his relationship with the truth. By telling him what you are looking for first thing you’ve given him the perfect ammo for him to tell you what you want to hear.
2. Ask probing questions – What was your last relationship like? How long was it? Why did it end? How about the relationship before then? Where do you see yourself in the future? What type of people do you hang out with? Tell me about your life, I am curious about your past?
Don’t let them give short answers to these questions. Look for thorough and thought out responses. Listen to their answers so you can ask follow up questions. Think of yourself as an investigative reporter. Your job is to uncover the truth. An interesting thing about liars is that they are rarely questioned thoroughly. They won’t have thought out answers and they are likely to evade tough questions.
3. If you sense that something isn’t making sense, go with your gut and move on. Don’t give new people the benefit of the doubt, they haven’t earned that yet and you can’t afford to at this point. Don’t look through rose colored glasses. Yes he’s got great arms, yes she has a great ass. Don’t get blinded by your own wants. Stay focused at the task. You are protecting your time investment!
4. Let’s face it, if you are going to be dating and having a relationship, sex is going to happen at some point. Do not be afraid to talk about it! Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Sexually incompatibility is a huge problem and if you can’t be adult enough to talk and ask sexual questions, you should not be in adult relationships.
So what things should you be asking? Have you ever had an std? If so, how did that happen and what was the end result? How would you describe your sex drive? Would you call yourself open minded in bed? Kinky? If so, what are the kinds of things that interest you and why? You are looking for answers that would best match your own or at least answers that aren’t deal breakers to you. Sex is a huge part of relationships, why would you take an approach of “I’ll just find out”? Can you really afford to get emotionally invested in someone only to find out six months down the road about your partner’s unusual kink or habit that they were waiting to get you hooked on them to tell you all about?
Lastly, and most importantly, asking these questions lays a great framework of good communication right from the start. You are saying that it’s important to you to really know the person you are interested in. You are letting them know, in return, that they should be asking you the same kinds of things. You are letting them know that you are taking getting to know them serious and that sexual compatibility is important to you.
I will be covering much more on this topic in my Relationships 301 video series that is coming up shortly. If you have questions of feedback, don’t be afraid to ask or write.