Robert and I continue our discussion about the most commonly asked dating questions we hear from our listeners and readers in Part 2 of the “Top 10 Most Commonly Asked Dating Questions from a Male and Female Perspective.”
Robert is the founder of a podcast which specifically focuses on Robert founded a group called the Orion Group which discusses issues, thoughts, and concerns of the Millennial Generation. I am a relationship coach, author and write specifically about relationships.
6. Should I date someone with kids if I don’t have any yet?
I have a friend who’s going through this very thing right now. To me, the way he’s going about it is the perfect example of what to do if you find yourself interested in someone who has kids.
The first thing he did was ask himself if this was something he was open to doing so. Liking her is the easy part, but he knew it wasn’t going to be just the two of them in this relationship. He realizes he can’t just think about himself and his wants. He also understands that it’s a package deal and it’s ok if you are someone who doesn’t feel like they’re ready for that.
The second thing he has done that stood out to me is he’s taking things slow. Not because he’s some commitment-phobe, but because he understands that this relationship won’t be built in a day. If you’re interested in someone with kids, then patience must be a virtue you possess. Establishing a connection with your romantic interest is one thing, but bringing kids into the mix creates another dimension that can’t be rushed.
Thirdly, the thing he is doing that’s stood out to me has been his communication with her. To me, this is the most impressive aspect of his situation because you cannot go into a situation like this without building a strong foundation of excellent communication. You two need to consistently understand where the other is coming from and where each other is in the present because getting into a situation like this can be just as rewarding as any other if not more, but it’s also not for selfish or lazy people.
When two people are in a relationship with one another that is one dynamic. Adding in kids creates a whole different dynamic. Here is my advice on whether you should take that leap.
If you are comfortable and enjoy being around kids and you really like this person, give it a shot. If you are not a kid person, you might not want to go down this road. Here are a couple of reasons why. The kids will always be a part of this person’s life and yours too. If you aren’t up to the extra responsibility that comes with this scenario, step away and don’t invest your time and energy in this situation. Misleading yourself if this isn’t your thing and building a relationship with someone and their child then realizing this is not what you wanted can be devastating to the kid who will also develop an emotional relationship with you.
If you decide to move forward and date someone who has a child, slowly build a relationship with them to see if this dynamic works for you. See how it feels when you spend time with them and their child. Blending families is possible, but it doesn’t happen overnight, and there will be some flexibility needed by all parties to make it work.
7. What are some of the keys to a long-lasting relationship?
We could probably go a year on this question and still not get to the end of it, but ultimately a few qualities stand out to me above others. The first quality I see in those who can sustain relationships, not just romantic, but relationships, in general, is that they are selective about the people they let into their lives.
It’s not so much that their standards are too high, it’s that they understand their value and they know that recognizing a “fit” or someone they share a level of resonance with is more important to the foundation of a relationship than anything else.
The second quality that stands out to me in those that can sustain relationships is they function on a system of reciprocity. Most people assume I’m always going to say these people are great givers. Giving is great, but if you’re not receiving anything in return then eventually you’re not going to have anything to offer. Healthy and sustainable relationships shouldn’t be two straight parallel lines; they function more like the stock market…..constantly rising and dipping but stable.
And the third quality that stands out to me is that they take responsibility for their feelings. They function in a paradigm of partnership, fully understanding that to have a great whole they need to take responsibility for their half.
Long-lasting relationships seem to have similar themes from my perspective. These couples respect one another. Respect keeps you on the right side of your relationship. When you respect someone, you may get upset with them, they may drive you crazy, but there is a clear line in the sand of which you won’t cross with one another.
They like one another. Yes, you can love someone, but not really like them. But, when you love someone, and you like who they are too, it makes the chemistry of the relationship so much stronger and resilient.
Finally, both people realize in the relationship that 50/50 isn’t what happens in a relationship. Relationships can be 60/40, 70/30, etc. because how you feel and relate to one another in your relationship is a reflection of many things. One of you may need more emotional support at a given time. Or depending on what is happening in your life one of you in the relationship may have a physical or mental setback which means the other partner now has to step up and do more.
People who love one another don’t keep count of each other’s transgressions. They hold each other accountable, but they also realize that their relationship will falter at times. But, they have a crucial realization. They accept and love one another unconditionally, and either of them isn’t going anywhere because this is the commitment they have made to one another.
8. Why do I keep attracting the wrong guys/girls?
Honestly, if I had the answer to this, I’d probably be a billionaire overnight. The fact of the matter is that connecting with the wrong people is just a part of life. Your biggest lessons and your most practical wisdom will come from these people, so being able to avoid them during your life wholly wouldn’t be a good thing for your overall development.
Now saying that I believe that attracting the right people to you requires you be true to who you are as an individual. It’s so easy for us to contort ourselves into an image that society and culture has set for us, that we don’t even know what being ourselves is actually like.
Most of us are getting what we want but are begging for what we need. Sometimes you have to have tough conversations with yourself because anything that you are putting out there that’s not authentic is really the biggest threat to you not finding people who fit well with you.
You are going to attract the wrong types. Dating is a numbers game. And the truth of the matter is, that people you connect with will be for different reasons at different times. It can be very, very difficult to find someone who is compatible with you. But, this is the beauty and pain of going through the process of finding love.
You may not always attract the right person into your life, and when you don’t, they help you learn what you do and don’t want in a significant other. And if you view it this way, you will realize that in weeding out the undesirables, you will eventually find someone who is desirable for you.
One final thought is the importance of self-reflection. Think about your past relationships as an introspective exercise. If you keep attracting people who are emotionally unavailable, emotionally or physically abusive, and just not the right person for you, it’s time to take a break, pause your dating, and reevaluate who you are.
If something happens over and over again, the most important thing you can do is recognize the behavior and work to change your narrative. It may mean looking at relationships you have had with your parents or observed of them or others in your life and doing a gut check to see if you are modeling your relationships based on these experiences.
You can never invest too much time in yourself in figuring out how to cultivate a healthy relationship. It is an investment that will always pay off positively.
9. How do you ask someone about their sexual history to be safe without offending them?
I really like this question. Not only because it’s important, but it also gives me an opportunity to share a better way for women to communicate with men. I talked earlier about one of my favorite traits that women have, but the one I’m about to talk about is one of the characteristics that I think hurts women the worst with men and that’s not being honest and direct.
Men will blatantly tell you something that isn’t true, but when women lie, they tend to do it by omission. One of the most common reasons I often hear women not telling a man directly what she needs or asking for what’s important to her fearing that she will come off as being too needy or off-putting or that she’ll scare a man off.
And if there’s anything that I’ve learned since starting the podcast is that women are legitimately afraid of scaring men off. But my response to this is simple if you can scare a guy off, then he is probably not the guy with who you would want to have a relationship. If being upfront and honest about what you want/need makes him go away then it is one of the best gifts the wrong man can give because he won’t be a waste of your time.
If you want to know a man’s sexual history, then be straight up and ask him. The more sensitive the topic you want to make sure common sense is applied when you bring this up but being direct is always the best way to communicate with a man.
As much as sex can be one of the most wonderful experiences you can have, it is also crucial that you practice safe sex because there are many STI (sexually transmitted infections) and STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases) which can thoroughly disrupt your quality of life and health.
Here is what I would recommend. Have conversations related to sexual history before having sex with someone. And be kind in doing so. It’s a sensitive subject so do it in a way that doesn’t make the other person feel like you are judging them or making them feel dirty, but in a way that informs both of you so that you can take the proper precautions.
Express how important safe sex is to you. If you have had a bad sexual experience, you can share this too to help explain why you are cautious when it comes to your sexual choices. If someone isn’t willing to have the conversation or do the health tests to let you know they are ok, then that could be a blessing in disguise. If you can’t be transparent about sexual intimacy with someone in which you are in an intimate relationship, this is an absolute deal-breaker.
10. We talk all the time, but he/she never initiates the conversation. If they were really interested wouldn’t they be doing the initiating?
It is one of those issues that is far more important to people than you realize and when I initially started doing the podcast, I was surprised how often this was brought up.
At first, I thought this was an innocent question, but the more I got his from people, and the more I really started thinking about it, I realized that this fits into a much broader spectrum of the relationship between dating and power.
On the one hand, we use someone initiating conversation with us as an affirmation of interest, which in itself isn’t bad, but It is lazy. But these days most people are scared to death that the person their talking to doesn’t really like them, so we look for all these foolish signs of interest that really say more about us than it does about the person with whom we’re talking or initiating the conversation.
On the other hand, we have this game that our generation plays called, “Whoever cares the least has the power.” And because we’re so protective of ourselves, we don’t ever want to be the one that cares more, at least not initially, so we continue to try to position ourselves like you would pieces on a chess board not recognizing that if you’re playing a game, then someone has to lose.
Great analogy Robert about chess and playing games when dating! Love is about vulnerability. You have to put yourself out there. I’m not saying to do it with everyone because that would be stupid. But when you meet someone who is worth investing your time, energy and emotion you have to be willing to take that extra step to move the relationship forward.
Initiate the conversation if you feel this relationship is worth having. And as the relationship grows, if you are significant other is still lackluster in not initiating interactions with you, let them know how it makes you feel and that you need this from them to have an authentic relationship.
It is correct, that as much as I hate it, that in dating a lot of games get played. But, what I also realize that when someone is into you, the game goes away, and they are genuine in showing by actions and words that they want something real with you.
This being said, initially, when both parties are a little apprehensive, the interactions can be up and down. However, if this keeps occurring in your relationship, let the other person know you don’t like the behavior and if they continue doing the same thing, show them you won’t accept the behavior by leaving the relationship. It is a powerful statement of who you are, and a testament to your self-respect and self-love. And that is what will help you be in the relationship with the right person.
Did we miss some questions you have about dating? If so, please reach out to me on Thought Catalog about relationship topics or issues that are a challenge for you. Until then, know that the journey of finding love, while not always easy, can and will happen for you!