IN THE BEGINNING by Maggie Barton

Hi folks! If you read last month's article on relationship games you have probably figured out the type of game that you have played or are playing. This month, I would like to write about mistakes that are made in the beginning of a relationship. So if you are in a relatively new relationship, take some time to see if you are off to a healthy start.

Mistake #1 is: You don't ask enough questions. Just think, if you are contemplating buying a car you would naturally want to know about it. It would be odd if the car salesman asked if you have any questions and you said "No, I'll buy it because it looks cute, and I just know it's meant for me based on my intuition." You're right - it sounds absurd... and it is. But how many times have you jumped into a relationship based on this reasoning? Typically, people don't ask enough questions for various reasons.

Some are:

a. It's not romantic being an interviewer or intake worker.

b. It doesn't fit in with the image of falling in love and being swept off your feet.

c. You might not like the answers. Knowing answers can put a damper on the romantic picture that you have painted.

d. You don't want your partner to ask you questions. If he did, the answers wouldn't sound too attractive.

Here are some questions that you might like to check out:

a. Family background.

b. Past Relationships.

c. Level of Self-Awareness.

d. Morals and Values.

e. Communication.

f. Views on Commitment.

g. Life Philosophy and Goals.

 

Mistake #2: Ignoring the early warning signs. Minimizing things: "He really doesn't drink that much, and it's only beer on the weekend." Making excuses: "She's really clingy and insecure - that's because she suffered so much in her marriage." Rationalizing: "Well I can understand why he hasn't worked in two years; he just hasn't found the right niche." Denying: "He doesn't have a drinking problem - you are just jealous of our happiness together."

Some typical warning signs are:

a. He acted mysterious about himself.

b. He gave you his beeper number and vague information about where he lives.

c. He said he would call Friday, but he called later that following week offering some odd reason for not calling.

d. He is uncomfortable talking about past relationships - he says it's too painful for him.

e. She hesitates about double dating; she says it's uncomfortable for her, and she would just rather be with you.

f. He said that he would never fall in love again for fear that he would experience the same pain as when his marriage ended.

g. He got drunk on the first date.

h. He brags about having a radar detector so that he can speed and not get caught.

i. His apartment was a pigsty and he explained that he hadn't been home much lately to clean.

j. She was vague about her job and it sounded like she went from one job to another.

k. He said that he hated his mother and his father was an alcoholic.

l. He said that he has a short fuse.

After you have spotted the warning signs, the question to ask then is: "What do I do now?" You are not going to find a perfect person and you probably will find a few warning signals in everyone. The key question is: "Is this about something that you can reasonably deal with, or is it unreasonable?" "Is he aware of the problem and motivated to work on it?" These are important questions to ask yourself and explore in the beginning.

Mistake #3: You make premature compromises. In other words, you compromise your own values, habits and behaviors in the hope that your partner will be more interested and attracted to you. This is because you are not secure enough to risk any possible tension that might be created. You might compromise yourself by having sex before you felt comfortable enough. Not addressing something that your partner is doing that you perceive as wrong. (e.g. he kicked the dog because it was sitting in his favorite chair). Not voicing your belief about an issue that would be an opposing view to your partner. You participate in activities that you would normally avoid. He loves to go to football games, while you are as much interested in this as going to the moon. Nevertheless, you buy a new outfit just to look good, and spend 3 boring hours at the game remembering to smile when he occasionally looks your way. You compromise your interests to make more time for your partner. You give up your weekly card game to be with her. You stop seeing family and friends because he doesn't like you to be with other people. You may compromise because your partner is so different from you, so in order for you to continue the relationship you have to compromise. You compromise because you are so desperate to be loved and accepted by your new partner that you would do anything to make the relationship work.

 

Mistake #4: You are totally absorbed in the passion of the relationship that you feel that nothing else matters. Here are some guidelines:

a. Think about being intellectually and emotionally intimate before becoming sexually involved.

b. Spend lots of time talking and learning about each other as well as experiencing passion.

c. Don't sleep with him if you don't respect him.

d. Discuss birth control before becoming intimate.

e. Ask yourself if you would want this person to be the parent of your child. If the answer is no, ask yourself why you're sleeping with this person.

 

Mistake #5: You are materially seduced. In our society, a great deal of emphasis is placed on outward appearances and accomplishments. We are influenced by a person's money, power, career, reputation and appearance. It' hard not to be affected by this. How many times do you hear someone say "What does he do for a living?" "How much money does he make?" "Where does he live?" "What does she look like: her legs, her breasts; is she a blonde?" So remember, when you pick a partner based on what they can offer materially rather than what they can offer emotionally, you are barking up the wrong tree - or rather the wrong relationship.

 

Mistake #6: You are committed before checking to see if you're compatible. You want a relationship, or you want to get married, no matter what. You fall in love with love - not the person. Here are some possible warning signs:

a. You have sex almost immediately after you meet.

b. You begin living with your partner almost as soon as you have sex.

c. You feel that this person is for you within a few weeks.

d. The intensity of your feelings is proportionately greater than the amount of time that you spend together.

e. Within the first few weeks of the relationship, you are fantasizing spending the rest of your life together.

If you are experiencing any of these signs don't panic, but try to slow down. Remember: if the relationship is meant to be, it won't go away. So take it easy, and take your time. You may be prone to commitment before verifying compatibility if you have any of the following symptoms:

1. You like being a couple rather than being single.

2. You're tired of dating and want to settle down.

3. You felt unloved and rejected as a child.

4. You feel at a loss when not in a relationship.

5. Your biological clock is running out.

6. You're the only single guy/gal in the office.

Now that you have read some of the mistakes that lead to an unsuccessful relationship, you may be wondering what the scoop is about having a healthy relationship. Unfortunately, you will have to wait until next month's issue of Singles Specials. That's all for now folks!

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