Written By Evi Idoghor, Creator of Letstalknationblog.com
Relationships don’t have to be complicated; it should be a fun phase of your life when you figure out if you will work well with someone in the long-run. It should be full of laughter and intentionality, not games, and a lack of commitment. I am a firm believer that everyone should know what they are getting themselves into from the beginning. If honesty was a priority in most relationships from the get-go, I think we would solve half of our relationship issues because most of them result from the façade we put up in the beginning.
I love sitcoms, shows like Seinfeld, Frasier, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Friends, are my favorites that I can never get enough of. There was this episode on the show friends when Phoebe finally met a guy (Mike) who was interested in a long-term relationship with her and he seemed like a great guy. They exchanged keys to each other's homes and were excited about where their budding relationship was heading.
Then one day Mike revealed to Phoebe that he didn't want to get married, and that shattered her because she believed that finally, she had met a great guy who she was on the verge of losing because they wanted two different things out of the relationship. So two people, who love each other, who both want a long-term relationship, but one wants marriage, and the other doesn’t. How then do you solve this dilemma?
Share Your Expectations at The Start of a Relationship
It is very helpful when you share what your expectations are for a relationship at the start, that way; everyone is on the same page. If you are interested in a short-term relationship or just dating, let the other person know. If you just want to be friends, please let the other person know—so they don't go off assuming things. If you are looking for commitment, and you are marriage-minded, you should also state that from the beginning, just so the other party knows exactly what you are looking for.
But if you are stuck in a rot, by being involved with one of those situational-type relationships, and you don’t know where things are headed, it is very important that you ask the necessary questions, to avoid waking up one day to discover that you have wasted years of your life with someone who doesn’t see a future with you.
At this point you might be thinking; what can I possibly ask to know if I am being strung along? Not to worry, we’ve put a bunch of questions together that you can ask your partner to find out if they are ready for commitment:
1) What do you want from me? This question helps you find out what it is your potential partner wants from you. If you ask them this question and they are not straightforward with their answer, chances are they are not ready to commit. Now, the answer to this question might go either way. They might be bold enough to tell you, that they are not looking for anything serious.
It is critical that you pay close attention to their response, and then closer attention to their actions. If they say one thing, and their action says otherwise, it will be wise of you to judge them by their actions. Other ways you can ask this question are; what do you want to get out of this? Or do you only want a friendship to come out of this? Or are you looking to build just a friendship with me?
2) Are you dating other people right now? You need to be able to find out what their relationship status is. If you are getting to know someone who is also getting to know five other people, chances are they are not looking for anything serious with you—this is not The Bachelor. The danger of dating other people at the same time (especially when all parties involved are kept in the dark) is that it introduces confusion. Most times people start getting their stories mixed up, and they wouldn't be able to give a particular relationship the time, and the energy it needs to develop and blossom.
So, if the person you are involved with is seeing other people, I don’t think that is an ideal situation, especially if you are looking for commitment. The earlier you remove yourself from the situation, the better, in order not to get your expectations crushed. You can also ask this question like; are we getting to know each other exclusively? Are you open to meeting other people? Are you talking to anybody else?
3) Are you looking for a serious relationship or something casual? When you ask this question, and you get a response like; I just want to see how things go with you, or if I meet the right person, then I would be serious, what that person is trying to communicate to you, is that you are not the one. And that is okay, you can now move on to someone who will be committed to getting to know you. If the person is just looking to date, and you are not, there really is no point, because that person wouldn’t change their mind, just as the person who wants something sustainable wouldn’t.
4) Why did you and your ex break up? Some people might think that what is in the past isn’t important, but I beg to differ with that sentiment when it comes to relationships. You need to know why a previous relationship ended. You need to find out if your potential partner is a commitment-phobe (or has other issues).
You need to know how long the relationship lasted, the lessons they learned, and the things they want to do differently in the next one. If the response you get is them ultimately blaming their ex for every single thing, then they might be trying to hide something. It is up to you to find out from people who are close to them, the type of person that they are.
5) What are your views on marriage? Marriage is a lifetime commitment, and if you are marriage-minded, it is vital that you find out if the person you are considering for a relationship is on the same page as you. You will be amazed at the different views people hold on marriage. You need to know what they think about divorce as well and also prenuptial agreements (if you are balling like that, ha-ha).
It will be dumb for you to get involved with someone and find out five years down the line that they never wanted to get married. It is hard for you to change certain mindsets, so as soon as you discover things at the beginning that don't line up with your personal beliefs, then you should move on. That will save you from a lot of heartache in the future. Another way to ask this question is; how important is marriage to you?
6) What are your intentions? I believe every dad asks a young man this question when their daughter brings a potential partner home for the first time. They ask this important question because they want to know where that person's head is when it comes to dealing with their child. They want to know if the person is serious and actually values their child.
I watched a talk show once when the host shared an experience about when his daughter brought a guy home, and he asked the young man in front of his daughter, "what are your intentions?" and the guy responded, "I’m just kicking it with your daughter.” She was shocked at his response. The dad told his child- he is not just that into you (well not in those words exactly, but you catch my drift). Don’t wait until you take a man home to find out what their real intentions are; ask them at the start of the relationship and listen to their answer.