3 Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before You Commit

Posted by on Dec 15, 2019 in Couples Counseling | Comments Off on 3 Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before You Commit

It’s amazing how often people make a commitment to a relationship without seriously exploring the reality of what it will be like to be together long-term. All too often, couples get drawn into the excitement of a relationship without taking more than a superficial look at potential problem areas. This can cause a lot of hurt feelings and maybe even end the relationship. If you are considering making such a commitment, it helps to take a moment to do some serious reflection. Here are three important questions to ask yourself before you commit to taking your relationship to the next level.

1. What Differences Do I Love Now, But Might Find Grating in Five Years?

Sometimes the qualities that make us different from our partners are what draws us to them at the beginning of a relationship. When you live and die by your schedule, your partner’s willingness to get away at the spur of the moment may be very attractive now. But how will that be for you later? What about differences in spending habits? How much time is spent with other people, sleep habits, career pursuits, and so on? Being exposed to different ways of viewing the world is certainly not a bad thing and can even help us move outside of our comfort zone a bit. 

Still, these same differences can also be annoying and have the potential to be sources of conflict down the road. That’s because we tend to prefer our own styles and preferences in the end. Make sure that the differences between you are something you feel, accept, and live with for the long haul.

2. Is there Something about My Partner I Expect to Change?

This is another important question to ask yourself before you commit to a relationship. I can’t tell you how often I see couples who say they thought their partner would eventually change. They are now surprised and dismayed to find their relationship falling apart because their partner did not change after all. For example, “She cheated on me while we were dating, but I thought that would stop once we were married!” It’s important to be honest with yourself with regard to this issue. 

If you go into your relationship expecting that your partner will change for the better in some way, this is a recipe for disaster. People can change but it will only happen if your partner wants it, not you. Instead, you need to be able to accept your partner for who they are.

3. How Much Wiggle Room Do I Have on Important Life Decisions?

Many couples take the time to clarify their life goals with one another before they commit to a long-term relationship. Topics like career goals, having kids, retirement, and more are all important to talk about early on in a relationship. However, it’s also critical to know that people’s preferences are not set in stone and are subject to change. What was true for someone when they were in their 20s may be different when they are 40 or even 60.

Time, developmental changes, and life circumstances can influence whether or not someone changes their mind about a life decision. For example, early in your relationship, you might have agreed to have two kids. But what if one of you says, “enough,” after the first child? What if there are infertility issues? Or maybe one of you wants to adopt but your partner is dead set on having biological children?

Though it might be uncomfortable and difficult, it’s important to talk regularly about your shared life plan. Consider the “what if’s.” Failing to have these conversations might result in one partner feeling betrayed by seemingly sudden or unexpected changes in the other partner’s position.

Before you commit to a long-term relationship, it’s important to ask these questions. If you are struggling to do so, consider asking for help from a couples therapist.

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