7.0
September 27, 2014

9 Questions to Ask Before Pursuing A Relationship.

laugh couple bird love date

When we jump into a relationship too soon, we’re often setting ourselves up for disasters. But how do we know what “too soon” is?

Here are nine questions to help figure things out:

1. How well do I know him/her?

Don’t trust someone until you know them. Oh! How we miss this one. A lot.

“But our friends introduced us.” It doesn’t matter. Anyone can wear masks.

The best way to know someone is this: 1) Spend time with them while they’re with their family. 2) Listen to the words they say to you. 3) Observe them in a variety of circumstances.

Not watching them interact with their family is one of the worse mistakes we’ve made in our post current (Western) dating culture. For some reason, “Meet the parents” has become the last step before planning the engagement.

Bad idea.

What kind of family does he/she come from? That was their foundation and upbringing until they left home. No matter how far we travel, those development years left a huge impression on who we are and who we’re likely to resort back to when we’re older.

2. Can I trust them with my secrets?

If they share your private conversations with others, walk away or have a serious discussion about that issue. If you don’t take care of it now, you’ll only resent them later.

3. Are we comfortable together in the quiet?

If they can’t enjoy the silence with you, that’s actually evidence that there’s a lot going on inside them and they need noise for distraction. Spend more time getting to know them before you decide to commit

4. Do I know how this person will change me?

“We become like the community we’re a part of” and “We are a product of our environment” are popular quotes for a reason. Be selective with who you surround yourself with—who you allow to influence you.

Remember too, that you will marry a person you date. So ask this question early.

5. Am I attracted to their heart and character?

It’s easy to be attracted to the physical or who the person portrays him or herself to be. But what do they do during their free time? What are their values and beliefs? Our worldview is our center and directs all our decisions.

6. Does he/she appreciate me for who I am right now?

If they’re trying to change you, they’re not ready for a relationship. Plain and simple. The most mature, loving people I’ve ever encountered loved me for just who I was. The only time they called me out is when they knew I was knowingly or unknowingly about to hurt myself or others and they were protecting me

They might challenge you, which is a very good thing. But that is very different than someone trying to change you. Beware not to confuse these two.

7. How does he/she already treat people they love most?

I don’t mean during holidays or time spent after long periods apart. But everyday. This will require spending a lot of time together with their families. If that’s impossible, don’t forget that this side of them, who they truly are, is a side you haven’t been exposed to yet.

I’ve met plenty of people who told me that their partners or spouses completely changed when they were back in the comforts and security of their families.

8. Does he/she strive to place my desires and needs first?

I understand the importance of giving and receiving. But if the person you’re with has the attitude of, “My desires are above yours,” they’re not ready for a relationship. They still have some growing up to do.

I’ve met plenty of people who believe the world revolves around them, rather than embracing the simple truth that we are all part of a universe.

We are a part of the human community within a universe. That universe nor its members are here to grant us our dreams and wishes. Until we realize this, we will live very selfishly and never understand what it will take to nurture and grow healthy relationships.

Clear warning signs: Temper tantrums, outbursts of anger, control issues, and their believing you should read their minds to know their wants and desires without having to communicate them to you.

9. Are their hopes and dreams for the future compatible with yours?

Do they want a partnership where both are working in the corporate world or a traditional role where one partner stays home? Do they know if they want to live in the city, the countryside, or the suburb?

Though it’s important to remind ourselves that our desires and interests change as we grow older, it’s still important to discuss these issues. They might not want to live near their parents now, but wait until his/her parents age and find it difficult to take care of themselves. Suddenly, the situation has changed.

 

Oh boy:

dating texttext-date-cut

Get Our Podcast:

 

 

 

Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Arman Thanvir at Flickr

 

Relephant: 

 

Is He or She the One? Ask these 2 Questions

Your Soulmate isn’t Who You Think it is 

The one simple thing you can always do that works every time if things are tough in your relationship:

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Julie Oct 11, 2015 4:59pm

There’s a graphic with hearts on the Facebook link. Does anyone know where that graphic can be found?

buboutie Aug 27, 2015 9:33am

Regarding point #1: "What kind of family does he/she come from? That was their foundation and upbringing until they left home. No matter how far we travel, those development years left a huge impression on who we are and who we’re likely to resort back to when we’re older."

I cannot tell you how much I wish people would stop believing this. My mom passed away from cancer when I was a young child, and my dad was an abusive deadbeat. My sister and I were cut off from the extended family, due to frictions surrounding this.

I cannot tell you the number of men I have dated who have written me off, because I didn't have a traditional Stepford style perfect supportive family. The fact that my family was shaken by tragedy was completely outside of my control, and anyone who believes that it somehow affects my ability to contribute to my own relationships or the importance of family in my life is unworthy of my time. However, since this mindset seems to remain all to prominent, I'd kindly request you all to take action against perpetuating it.

The only accurate phrase in the above quote is that "those development years left a huge impression on who [I am]." I spent a lot of time with my best friend's family, and her mom became like a second mom to me. She was my religious education teacher, and I remember having homecooked dinners with their family, rather than my own, regularly. I became involved in my church youth group, sports, and girl scouts. I oftentimes depended on neigbours for rides to and from these activities. The loss of my mom inspired me to push myself academically. I had many wonderful teachers and recevied scholarships to both Oxford and Cambridge universities. I went on to build a solid career and to run marathons and volunteer to break the cycle or healthcare and poverty. Perhaps my most important takeaway from those years was learning to do everything I could to serve as a surrogate mom for my little sister. She is my best friend, and I have been there to take care of her on a daily basis as well as during her own battle with cancer at a young age and when a drunk driver nearly took her life away.

"What kind of family [I] come from" does not matter. What matters is the way I worked to find communities that would teach me the values I needed to learn in the absence of a family that could teach me them. My family was not my "foundation and upbringing until they [I] left home," and even if it had been it is a fallacy to think that I would automatically adopt its mannerisms "no matter how far [I've] traveled." I've had over 30 years to travel far and think about the meaning of life. I put family first- meaning both my sister and my future family. Next comes my belief that it is my duty to do anything within my power to support my fellow brothers and sisters on this earth. I rise every morning to fulfill my passion for extending quality and affordable access to healthcare globally. Every few months I complete a service project to the developing world. My friends describe me as one of the kindest, smartest, most generous, and compassionate people they have never met. I am that person who will stop and ask if you are okay if I see you crying of stumbling on the street, when everyone else feigns oblivion. I think I'm in a position to contribute a lot to a relationship, and I'm as un"likely to resort back" to behaviours that characterized my father, but never me, "when [I'm] older" as I am to be a terrible partner and mother solely because my own amazing mother was taken from me far too young. Rather, the challenges I faced as a child helped me to see the precious value that relationships of ALL types bring to our lives and to understand that nothing else can replace them.

I would please ask the author of this article to consider editing these ignorant statements and promoting the sort of message that I have communicated in the future. The truth is that one's actions towards others and feelings about family are influenced by a variety of different factors, mentors, and communities. The household in which one grew up may be an important one to many of us, but in no way does it define us. A more appropriate suggestion would be to observe how one treats others, as suggested throughout this article, and to ask what has shaped his or her attitudes towards relationships and family.

Sincere thanks for your consideration.

Andy Bowker May 29, 2015 12:58pm

ahhh but how would that work for people like myself who live miles from their family? Not everyone needs to live close to their parents – and I think it’s a very good idea to completely move location, best thing I ever did 🙂

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

James Russell Lingerfelt

Check out Lingerfelt’s book, The Mason Jar, a coming of age love story. The novel helps readers find healing after severed relationships and gives people hope to love again.

The Mason Jar movie is scheduled for pre-production in 2015 and will be directed in the same dramatic and romantic tones as The Notebook (2004) and Pride & Prejudice (2005). Follow him on FacebookGoogle+, Twitter or subscribe to his email list for updates.