Are The Odds of a Happy Relationship Stacked Against You?
With divorce statistics averaging 850,000 couples per year, between 2004-2014, many mental health professionals suggest prospective couples seek pre-marital counseling before committing to a long-term relationship or marriage. If professional counseling is not an option, at least give thought to a honest discussion to improve your odds at dating success.
Life coach Rev. Stacye Branché, Msc.D, suggest “people need to have a good sense of who they are, then you can have a good sense of who you are attracted to.”
In pre-marital counseling, clergy traditionally advise couples to look closely at their individual family histories, motivations for being in a committed relationship and long-term couple goals (e.g., financial goals, children). Several areas to explore.
5 Things Men Should Ask When Dating:
- Family of Origin–Psychological theory suggest that how we are raised greatly influences who we become. It can also effect how we attach to a romantic partner, our expectations for our relationships (such as whether it will succeed or fail) and how secure we feel with our partner.
Ask questions about your potential partner’s family of origin. What messages did she receive from her parents about relationships, infidelity and emotionally supporting her partner? Did her parents provide a model of a healthy, loving relationship? If an individual does not believe that her parents loved her, it often makes it difficult to accept love.
Your partner’s history can be very important, for example, in understanding how invested she will be in the relationship, how she copes with stress and handles disappointment both in and outside of the relationship.
- Previous Relationship History-How did her previous relationships end? Who was at fault? What did your potential partner learn about herself during relationship, and after it ended? What “baggage” is she bringing to the current relationship? For example, if the previous partner cheated, you may be treated suspiciously and questioned even when there is no evidence of wrong doing.
- Communication-How does your partner communicate? How attentive is she? Does she pay attention to you on dates or is she always on social media? Is she closed off? Research suggest that partners who have open patterns of communication often have healthier relationships. Open communication can include positive traits, such as honesty, trustworthiness, empathy, forgiveness and a good sense of humor.
- Finances-What is her “relationship” to money? Is she a spender? A saver? Does it match your beliefs about money? Many times the couple failed to discuss how each of these issues would be handled in their relationship, and the partnership eventually suffer because of it.
- Sex-Most people do not learn to openly discuss sex, sexuality or sexual orientation. It is important to have open dialogue about sex and how it will be expressed in the bedroom. What are your likes/dislikes? What are hers? What satisfies you? Be honest. If there are differences in how each of you perceive sex and its expression, its best to know about them before getting into a committed relationship.
Open, honest communication with your potential mate could set your relationship on a path to commitment and happiness. Ask direct questions.
Gregory Canillas, Ph.D. serves as Assistant Professor in the Clinical Psychology (Psy.D) program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Los Angeles campus. Dr. Canillas’ clinical work has focused on children, adolescents, children in foster care, therapy/relationship issues and LGBTQ clients. Tweet him @DrGJCanillas.