There are certain topics I believe dating couples should have the talk about sooner rather than later. For some reason, delaying important topics during the ‘getting to know each other’ stage has been romanticised to the point where individuals feel that it is too ‘heavy’, or ‘serious’ to discuss more deeply important topics during dating.
I, however, feel that talking about things like your favourite colour and what I like to do in my spare time aren’t topics that can help anyone decide if they would like to take the time to get to know and become more deeply attached to a person.
My Definition of Dating
I’ve discovered that much like other things, people have different ideas regarding what dating involves. So I’ll share the definition I am using as it relates to this post.
To go out with or spend time with a person (in whom one is romantically or sexually interested) on a regular basis hopes of getting to know the person better and finding a committed relationship.
I think that dating can have several stages before moving on to becoming a relationship and that each person’s pace may be their own, but should be longer than about 2 years.
Dating Advice from the Married Lady
Now, you might wonder why I, a very (happily) married woman might be talking about dating on this here, family and lifestyle blog. Well, my readers are more than 70% women, and more than half of them are interested in family life, which is why they read. A good portion of the women who read my blog are interested in dating with a purpose, irrespective of the stage they are at present and often ask for advice in more intimate settings.
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I thought it would e useful to share my thoughts on topics related to dating, including things that hindsight sheds a light on. It’s 20/20, right?
To be fair though, I haven’t dated too much myself. I met my husband at 21 and the rest is history. I got married to the second man I dated as an adult and I consider that to be a good thing. Why? I had no need nor desire to date anymore. By the time I’d met my husband, I’d been in one relationship of a few years with someone I was completely incompatible with.
That experience was lesson enough and as passionate and consumed as I can be with my emotional investments as a person, I was not trying to entertain foolery. I got out of there with a plan to focus on myself. (The universe laughed at me), eh?
I decided after that that if I was going to date, the person would have to understand where I was going with my life and decide whether they wanted to be a part of it or not. Blessedly, my own husband envisioned our compatibility and made the commitment before I did, however, everyone’s story will not be that straightforward.
In fact, since the purpose of dating is to decipher whether a person is interesting enough that you would want to get to know them better and explore whether the two of you have the capacity to make a life together, why wouldn’t you want to know sooner whether a person is a good partner for you or not?
The Thing is, People Have Different Reasons for Dating
It’s a mistake to assume everyone’s motivation for dating is the same. People have different reasons for dating. Some want to have fun getting to know other people without the commitment of a relationship, while others are looking for a potential life partner. Some people are looking to stave off loneliness. Others are looking to pass the time while they look for or wait for their life partner to come along (and deceive others to do it, but this isn’t about those people).
For those looking for a life partner, let’s talk. It’s often a mistake to think ‘time will tell’ when you want to know what a person has planned for their future. It can be a major waste of time. To avoid that, have meaningful conversations sooner, before emotional investment, rather than later.
Talk Openly and Honestly
I’m a straight shooter, but it’s more than just my personality trait. I think that relationships already take enough time and effort to work without intentionally putting blinders on when it comes to certain topics. Compatibility is about more than personalities and characters. It’s is also about life compatibility.
You don’t need to divulge your soul at the earliest opportunity, just talk honestly enough so that each party knows what the other is looking for, what they are hoping to achieve in the shorter and longer terms of their life and whether there are any goals that are just not compatible between both people.
It seems a strange thing to me that couples so often find them themselves in one, two or even three year long relationships without knowing their partner’s preference on life defining preferences.
This is not to say that unexpected growth and shifts in desires and mindsets don’t change over time, but even in these things, the best things to do is to discuss them honestly when they happen.
Things Dating Couples Should Have ‘The Talk’ About Sooner
1. The Goal of Dating
Like I’ve mentioned before, people date with different goals in mind. If this isn’t openly discussed, there is often room for confusion, misinterpretations and hurt feelings should it become obvious that one or both persons had different intentions. Just be honest about the place you are in and what you want.
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Talking about marriage and whether it’s in the cards isn’t a topic you should wait to talk to your spouse about. The truth is, if you are, in fact, in a relationship, the marriage talk should have been had before things get serious.
Unfortunately, an incredible number of women hold onto to the idea that men will ‘eventually’ get to that place and bring up marriage, but a quick conversation with women who hold this view will tell you that many have no idea whether their partner [often of several years, as much as up to a decade] is actually interested in marriage or not.
In fact, some women hurtfully discover after waiting all that time, that their partner may not have actually been uninterested in getting married, but marrying them. Then they move on and marry someone else and the ex is crushed. All that time waiting…
Some men also very wrongfully assume all women are interested in marriage and would jump at the chance, but find themselves aghast at the realisation that some women have no interest in being married; or in marrying them.
Marriage is a choice, and yes, just because a man asks, doesn’t make it an automatic ‘yes’. Women look for ‘husband material’ too.
Bottom line, closed mouths don’t get fed.
Talking about having children is important for the same reason as talking about marriage, but with one crucial distinction. It can happen whether you decided on it or not.
Most couples will naturally naturally progress to having sex if dating goes well. Children are expensive, stressful little human beings that are bi-products of sex.
Children are beautiful and will change your life in ways you can never truly be ready for no matter how much you prepare. But not everyone welcomes the change. Not everyone wants them earlier or later. Not everyone who wants them, wants them at the the same juncture of their lives or with a certain person.
Some people want a certain number of them that they may or may not have achieved. No one is wrong for their preference, but before you go sharing your body and DNA with someone, wouldn’t you like to know where their head is at on the subject?
Sex is a adult activity that comes with adult, lifelong consequences. Talk about it!
4. Life Goals
Life goals can be short term or long term and can often be romanticized in dating but become problematic as the couple grows. If your partner has plans to travel the world as nomad and you prefer to have roots, what may seem fascinating now, may be the reason the relationship implodes later on.
5. Personality Compatibility
Personality compatibility is one of those things that is hard to pin down. It may work if the couple is truly committed to their partner, but ignoring them is unwise. Talk about your personality [not your random preferences] differences openly.
Discuss how a person who is extroverted and extremely sociable could present a strain on a partner who is an introvert and prefers a more quiet, less social existence. What you don’t want is for any other partner to begin to feel suffocated and or exploited.
It’s also a good idea not to pretend to be someone you aren’t because you like a person and/want them to like you. That’s a plan that will inevitably blow up in your face.
Why would you want a relationship with a person who doesn’t really know who you are, anyway? When you do that, you don’t even give the person a chance to truly like you for you. Isn’t it exhausting pretending to be someone you are not? Pretending to like things you don’t? Seems counterproductive, if you ask me.
I’m sure there is a vast list of things couples should address earlier rather than later, but these are the hot topics.
What are some things you think couples should talk about early?
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