After months (years?) of hoping and wishing that you’d find the right person for a long-term relationship or marriage, you’ve finally met someone who seems different from the rest. They’re smart, charming, funny, sexy and they like you!
You’ve been dating for a while and now the burning question in your mind isn’t if you’ll meet someone anymore. It’s been replaced with a new question: “Now what?”
We all know that the most important mission in the first months of dating someone is to get to know that person more. It sounds simple, but in reality, we’re often preoccupied by the fun of seeing someone new and if we DO ask questions within, it’s usually wondering how much the other person likes us. Does he like me? Is he the one?
We might be so busy trying to figure the other person out, or so giddy and excited to finally have someone in our life, and so switched on by that amazing chemistry that we might be skipping the most important step. Unless we deeply know the other person, all the other goals and questions your mind has won’t even matter.
We’ve all heard stories of dating relationships that begin on a groundswell of amazing dates and spending tons of time together (you think you’re really in love!) making out and going on fun dates only to crash and burn after a few months or weeks when the other person disappears or turns into an epic jerk.
If that’s been your pattern in the past, and you’re looking for a long-term relationship commitment, you owe it to yourself to use your time in a new relationship in a brand new way; one that will lead to genuine attraction, intimacy and commitment down the road. Your new motto is LEARNING and communication.
When you meet a new person it’s tempting to try to figure them out by talking to your best friend, a psychic, your mom, answering quizzes in magazines… anything but real face-to-face groundwork because you don’t want the feel good-fun times to get interrupted. As tempting as that is, you absolutely MUST do this work yourself – just you and your partner (Unless you want to build an addition on to your house to house your BFF and your astrologer and plan on inviting them to be in your relationship with you, then this is something that is meant for just the two of you and nobody else!)
Here are the eight things you must find out in a new relationship. Finding these out in the first weeks and months of dating that are really important. You don’t have to grill your date with the third degree or a big long list of questions on the first date, but these items should work their way into your natural, normal conversations and observations about how they treat other people, talk about the world and treat you. Knowing more about these key elements will help you really know the other person and gain trust in them before becoming physically or emotionally intimate. .
Finding out if someone is available for a serious relationship seems like an obvious no-brainer, but many people waste months dating someone who is not. If you want a long-term commitment and want to foster a relationship that is built on mutual love and communication, then finding out if the other person is open and available to this same type of relationship is really important. Of all the items on this list, this one is the first thing you should ASK about before seriously dating a new person. Are they seeing someone else and promising to leave? Are they saying they want to have casual relationships? Are they saying, “it’s complicated?” — If your goal is to have a long term relationship or get married, pay close attention to these answers.
While education, travel and work experience is interesting and worth knowing about, the most important thing you should find out about a person’s background when you meet someone new is to learn more about their family dynamics. Even more importantly, what is this person’s current relationship with their parents and siblings? How do they deal with these family relationships in the present (especially if there have been hardships)? Have you met their family? How does your partner interact with them? How someone feels about these core people is essential to knowing how they will feel about you and how they’ll treat you.
Finding out about past relationships can be a delicate subject and not everyone wants to walk down memory lane and recount what went wrong in the past or go into their romantic histories. However, in a long term relationship your partner should be open about any serious or long term relationships they’ve had and their attitude about those relationships in the present (do they take responsibility for their role in the relationship? Do they blame others? Are they carrying baggage about the past? What valuable lessons did they learn?)
Are you envisioning settling down in a certain city and they want to take a several-years long photojournalism trek to South Asia instead ? Do you want to start a family right away and they want to spend several years honing their professional portfolio instead? Having life-goals and life values in common is essential for a long term relationship to work. Couples can have widely different interests, jobs, tastes and hobbies, but for the things that are most important to you, it’s essential that your partner harmonize with your own personal goals and things in life you value most.
The Big Three Energies
While our goals and agendas change (certainly through the course of getting to know someone and deepening the relationship) still… you should establish how both of you feel about: Family, Spirit, and Core Values. Do they want to have kids? Do they value close friendships and consider them part of the family? Do they have a religious belief? Is it a big or little presence in their lives? What does spirituality mean to them ? What are their personal values? Personal values extends far beyond politics or religion and penetrates everything we do and feel. For example: a person who values bringing others together and creating community is a very different person than someone who believes in getting whatever they need at the expense of others. Personal outlook on life (is it positive or negative) tells you a lot about how a person relates to you.
Their Self Connection
Nobody is perfect, and everyone has flaws and fears, and self-esteem holes. Still, you should get an idea of how they feel about themselves. Someone who can’t love themselves is NOT ready to love another person! — Is this a person who wants to grow and improve in their lives? Do they take responsibility for their emotions and experiences or do they blame everyone else around them for the bad hand they’ve been dealt? Is their self-esteem high enough to be loving and caring towards themselves and others but not a blow-hard braggard/arrogant person who needs to put others down? Do they (generally) take care of their health and personal finances?
Their Trustworthiness and Integrity
— Find out about how they connect to other people. Are they generous with their time? Do they have integrity and honesty ? Do they have good relationships with friends? Do they behave in a trustworthy way towards friends and family members? Do they let other people in? Do they make and keep commitments and promises to other people? Do they stand up for what’s right? Do they cheat or take advantage of people in every day situations? Can you trust them?
Trust is a big and ever developing theme in all relationships (especially if someone has been cheated on or hurt in the past) — communication about trust and finding out if someone has personal integrity is such an important energy to explore in a relationship. It’s more important than the energy of abundance or money, or of looks, or of job-skills, or personality traits. Without trust or integrity, the perfect guy or girl is someone who will hurt you in the long run.
Sexuality and Boundaries
When you have gotten to know your partner more and you are developing the cornerstones of intimacy and really sharing and learning about each other, then it’s important to let the other person know where they stand and to discuss your own personal perspective on sexual relationships and exclusivity. For example, people often have widely varying definitions of cheating and fidelity. Do you want to be in an exclusive relationship? It might seem scary to talk about monogamy or your personal feelings about relationship conduct, but these are important conversations to have. For example: don’t assume you are committed, or exclusively and monogamously dating unless you’ve had an open conversation about what those things mean for both of you and that you’re on the same page. Every couple is as unique as a fingerprint – discussing what is and isn’t ok within the confines of your own relationship is important.
The right person for you and the right person for a long-term relationship isn’t scared of getting real, sharing and making an emotional and mental connection to you by TALKING.
Be prepared to fill your partner in on these eight topics and share your opinions. An essential part of communication and listening (and learning) is the willingness to really be real and open. They key to someone else letting you in, is you letting them in as well. Don’t worry about “scaring them away” with who you really are.
Never pretend you’re interested in casual relationships when you’re not, or a daring travel-junkie if you really want to stay close to home. After all, if you want a long-term relationship, then that person has to accept the real you; you as you really are! Don’t use the old excuse of, “I just want to keep things light and not get too serious or show my real personality too much or talk too much.” — if you’re not safe to talk about these things with this person, then you’re not going to have that long-term commitment you want either.
What are some of the things you need to know about personally when you date a new person? Did anything get left off this list?
Next installment: — red flags and problems in dating a new person that you should never ignore!
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