Should You Commit to A relationship? Ask These Questions First.

Should You Commit to A relationship? Ask These Questions First.

Deborah contacted me and asked a question i get often: should I commit to a relationship with the guy I’ve been dating?

She and John were dating for 4 months and she was wondering if there were specific questions she should ask before she commits. They were falling in love and had started talking about moving in together.

They both was indeed through ugly divorces and she was determined to get it right this time, but she wasn’t exactly sure how.

Step 6 of my 6-Step Find Hope Then Find Him System is called: Should I Stay or Should I Go?, which is really at the heart of Deborah’s request.

He may be a great date, but there is a lot to consider when deciding if he’s a potential great mate.

In the place of approaching this emotionally or with your intuition, this is the time to balance your head with your heart.

So I called my colleague and dear friend, Tina Tessina, to ask her to weigh in on this. Here she shares powerful insight into how a grownup woman can assess if her man is commitment worthy.

Tina is a longtime friend of Date Like a Grownup. She has contributed to my webcast Grownup Girls’ Night out and was previously a guest writer, giving guidance on how to cope with criticism in a healthy way.

Tina is a strong-ass expert. She is a PhD, LMFT, psychotherapist and author of many, many books including her latest: Dr. Romance’s Guide to Finding adore Today

Read on to get Tina’s advice about what you should know before you commit to a relationship.

(This is part two of my interview series with experts (part one is here.):

Q: What are the top two things you prefer women over 40 to know about finding love today?

Women over 40 should know it’s not too late, in addition they deserve to be loved. The ‘get life method of finding love is fun, easy, and it works.

Q: I just love that you have a list of intimacy do’s and don’ts. What is your top DO and your top DON’T for women over 40 and why?

DO learn that you are loveable and you deserve to enjoy intimacy and sex.

If you have a painful history, do the work to get it resolved so you can be open to a good man.

DON’T assume that what you want is not OK. Be willing to ask for it. He’ll love that you want whatever it is.

Q: In your book, you have a list of questions one should ask before committing to a relationship. Can you share a few of those questions and why they have been important?

Here are five important questions to both ask and answer:

1. What is your definition of commitment?

Whether you know it or not, you and your partner will define your relationship. If you don’t know what your relationship means to both the of you, you risk repeating past mistakes, getting stuck in uncomfortable roles, or fighting about what an excellent relationship is.

Explore what you mean by words such as relationship, commitment, love, and faithfulness. You’ll be amazed by what you learn.

2. Have you discussed finances? Next to sex, money is the biggest generator of problems, arguments, and resentment in long-term relationships. Couples tend to assume that money should be pooled, but it typically isn’t that easy.

A disparity in income can mean struggling about who pays for what, or whose income determines your lifestyle. Different financial habits (one likes to save, the other spends more, or doesn’t keep track) could become a source of argument.

For all couples, dividing your money makes things run smoother; you don’t ramp up struggling for control. You’ll split expenses evenly, or work out a percentage share if your incomes are different.

3. What about household responsibilities? If you’re not yet living together, take a tour of each other’s homes. Drastically different decorating styles, neatness, and organization levels could become sources of argument, and so can housekeeping and chores.

If you have different tastes, it would likely need to have a lot of creativity and negotiation to decorate a joint home in a way that makes both of you comfortable.

Additionally, think hard before moving into your partner’s established home.

You may have trouble feeling as if you ‘belong in a home that was previously established by your partner unless you participate together in reorganizing and redecorating it.

4. How do you handle anger and other emotions? We all get upset from time to time. If you are typically good at diffusing each other’s anger, and being supportive through times of grief or pain, your emotional bond will deepen as time goes on.

If your tendency is to react to each other and make the situation more volatile and destructive, you need to correct that problem before you live together.

5. How do you show love to each other? Sharing what actions and words mean love to you may be surprising. Even if it’s a struggle, discussing how you give and receive love will improve your relationship.

You will understand what makes each of you feel loved, and how to express your love effectively.

Q: When is the right time to ask these questions and how can you do it without chasing him away?

These particular questions are not for the first few dates. They’re for couples who are seriously considering moving in together or getting married, and if you can’t ask him questions without chasing him away, you are not yet ready for this level of commitment.

To make a committed relationship work, you both need to know these things about each other. However, you don’t have to grill him.

You’ll ask the questions here and there, in a relaxed fashion; and offer your thoughts first.

For example, after seeing a movie with a good or bad relationship in the plot, you’ll say: ‘Wow, that relationship looked really scary (or really great.) I think I’d like the kind of relationship without as many secrets as they had (or with the kind of devotion they had.) What do you think?

These kinds of questions are easier to explore when you’re sharing information about your friends and families, too. ‘I had an aunt and uncle who fought all the time about money. I hope I am able to have a relationship where we can explore money as partners. How do you feel about it?

If he stonewalls you, and won’t explore it, that’s a red flag for the relationship. But, although he may not answer immediately, you may find that he thinks about it and comes back later with his thoughts.

There’s no getting around it. a relationship won’t succeed if you can’t explore the tough issues together.

If you keep that in mind, and keep the conversation open, and listen to what he says and believes, you will learn how to talk with each other as partners, before committing to a relationship.

The Kavanaugh hearings are freaking painful. Personally, I’ve tried to go on some kind of news blackout but it’s unavoidable. It’s everywhere in the news. (Real and fake news *choke*.) Everyone is talking about it. A lot, including me, are crying about it.

It’s man vs. woman; conservative vs. progressive; Fox vs. MSNBC; victim vs. accuser; pro-choice vs. anti-choice (they are not pro-life!); and, it seems, America vs. the rest of the world.

I admit that I have clearly chosen ‘sides on all of these…but that’s not what I’m here to talk to you about today.

I want to help you answer the question: should I explore the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh on a date? How about Trump or #MeToo or…?

You’ve probably gotten advice that says to not ever explore religion or politics… especially a first date. Don’t bring up Donald Trump or Brett Kavanaugh or the Clintons. Or which party you hope will control Congress. Or who you think are the real patriots. Or whether they should be taking a knee. (Hell yes, they should.)

Just keep it light, right?

Are you freaking kidding me??

You have opinions, right? You have ideas, a vast amount of life experience, and things you care about deeply. You think about the future and plan for it.

You have children, nieces and nephews, and grandchildren! Their lives will likely be impacted in extraordinary ways based on the outcome of who lands on the supreme court. So will the entire planet.

Should you explore politics when you’re dating? If you’re a grownup, if you have opinions…hell YES you should explore Kavanaugh and all that other scary shit!

For most of us, our politics reflect our values and core beliefs about human beings and the planet.

Where we side politically is the expression of how we look at our community, our culture, our country, and the world. It seeps into our practice of religion or our choice to not participate. Our politics, whether active or not, guides us in the part we play in all of this. (Or whether we do at all.)

If you are a definite woman dating after 40, if you have any opinions, I want you to know a man’s politics. And the sooner you know, the better.

Politics brought my husband and me together.

When I was dating I wasn’t buying man who would participate in political action as I did. But I had to get a man that respected and appreciated my passions and my choice to actively engage.

So when I was buying husband online, here’s what I put front and center in my online profile:

If you are a Rush Limbaugh fan we are not a good match.

Rush fans fled. Men who appreciated that I had point of view (particularly this POV) contacted me. Just what I wanted.

My husband and I met via online dating in 2006. He appreciated that I plainly stated my POV and my must-have. Among many other things that he appreciated, of course. 🙂

On our first date we went through the complete list of ‘dos and don’ts: politics, religion, money…we covered lots.

Six months later I became a first-time bride at age 47.

That my husband and I share our view of the world and our place in it creates a incredibly strong bond between us. We sometimes cry together at the inequality of our economic and justice systems. We spent a month together in Nevada campaigning full time for President Obama. We hold hands as we march for stronger gun control, women’s rights, against wars and intolerance and hate.

As I said, his active participation wasn’t a must-have for me. But I’m so grateful to have my husband share this passion with me. His political opinions and his willingness to act on them tell me who he is, at his very core.

And knowing this from the beginning helped me quickly see how much I admired and loved him.

Maybe you’re ambivalent about politics. That’s cool.

Okay, so you’re not quite as tangled up in our political system as us. Got it. But it’s no different than what I’m describing with my husband: the choice you make to not ever actively participate directly reflects your values.

Not convinced about why you should explore controversial topics like Kavanagh on the first date? Here are my 5 main reasons why you should:

1. You should bring up Kavanaugh because grownups talk about things that matter.

The point of talking about topics like politics, money, or religion on a date is not to change someone’s mind! That’s a important part of this discussion.

It is to understand how he thinks and feels. How he sees the world and his place in it. What he cares about and what he considers secondary or completely unimportant in his life.

Talking about things like Kavanagh on a date can lead to conversation about upbringing, meaningful life events, ambitions, and hopes for your future. All stuff you want to realize about each other!

If you ‘re buying man to fairly share the rest of your life and you have one chance to get a good signal of whether there is any potential to be compatible, I don’t want you to waste this one chance. (That’s exactly what first dates are.)

You’re going to learn a hellova lot more talking about Donald Trump, #MeToo, or Brett Kavanaugh than listing the last three places you went on vacation. Just sayin’.

2. NOT speaing frankly about Kavanaugh right now would be weirder than talking about it.

It is everywhere. It’s the elephant in the room and isn’t expected to go away, even after the choice has been made.

Again, you’re not trying to change anyone’s mind. The purpose of dating is discovery. Learn what you can about each other. Dig in a little. Give your date a chance to express and explain. In addition, you take that chance. That’s how you date like a grownup.

3. You will get a good sense of his values.

You want to know what he thinks about women who come forward about sexual assault; whether he tends to believe them or not and how he sees justice taking place.

You want to know if he thinks drinking to excess and getting belligerent with women are just ‘boys being kids. You want to know where he stands on access to abortion, presidential power, and a judges responsibility to render just and fair decisions.

Does he think it’s OK for a supreme court nominee to lie to Congress and the FBI just so he agrees with your politics or values? Does it matter? Does he care? Does he know what’s happening and think it’s worthwhile to be informed? Tells you loads.

4. If he moves quickly to argument, refuses to share his POV, or doesn’t try to find common ground – do you really want another date with him?

When you explore Kavanaugh on a date, you will see if the man even wants or tries to understand your point of view as a woman. You’ll see if he thinks violence against women — regardless of who he believes — is an important issue in our times. If he off-handedly dismisses Dr. Ford’s testimony or takes her claims seriously.

Forget just learning about his politics, if you are interested in being with someone who likes to learn and grow, how he approaches the discussion is telling.

5. If he doesn’t support Kavanaugh, you may instantly have something in common!

You’ll bond over your mutual distaste, distrust, and dislike for this supreme court nominee. You can bond over your outrage.

More importantly, focus on the positive. Bond over the fact that there are still millions and millions of caring, thoughtful, empathetic people in the country and the world.

Bond over the non-super-rich having a voice, equal opportunity to health care, Supreme Court justices who value individual rights over those of corporations…women’s rights…you know…the good stuff!

So, put it out there and use this topic as an opportunity to learn about the person you’re meeting.

How do start this conversation? Easy.

Briefly share life experience or event that expresses your views. Tell him how you yourself feel about what’s happening right now. Tell him any actions you’ve taken or how you would encourage your congress person to vote. Do it directly, quietly, and in the most basic terms. No lectures, histrionics, or judgment.

Then give him a chance to process what you shared. That’s it. Don’t be afraid that he’ll disagree. That’s just fine. You’ll learn something important about each other. You’ll both be glad you’ve done that, regardless of whether you’ve seen some compatibility there. That’s what dating is all about!

What’s not fine is getting to the third date and finding out that you are completely incompatible in the way you look at the world and your place in it. Who has that time to waste?

That’s why women should explore Kavanaugh on a date.