Are we scared to love at our highest capacity? Do past hurts keep us a bit reserved in our affections for another person? Even in our family of origin, did we learn that loving someone with all our hearts and minds was actually unsafe?
How can I know, this early, that I am in the 4th LTR (long-term relationship) of my life? I know. I feel it. We express our intentions together often. And she keeps showing me in actions that she’s here for the real thing. We’re both ready for “what’s next.” But what keeps me from falling, completely, in love? Or am I already there and just hedging my bets with doubt and hesitation?
I’ve come up with some key questions to help you evaluate the strength and openness in a new relationship. Here are my self-interview questions when thinking about my partner.
7 Ways to Measure the Core Connection in Your Love Relationship
- Have I found a willing partner, who expresses the same intent with clarity and openness?
- Is she beautiful to me, and I can imagine loving no other woman, ever?
- Do we fit together, is there an easiness in our date nights?
- Can we move through the red flags on both sides? (Conflicts and disagreements may be no more than markers, learning opportunities, chances to understand the other person better)
- Are we stronger our disruptions and reconnections? Do we repair easily after a fight?
- Is this a person I trust? (How did you do on #4 and #5?)
- Is there a genuine curiosity about the other person as we seek out their opinions, ideas, dreams, fears, and fearlessly dive into places we don’t understand?
Listen to how you answer these questions. Are you comfortable being uncomfortable around this person? Can you let them see you at your worst? And do they stand-in or get scared when you show emotions?
Relationships are all about balance and micro-course-corrections. You must ask the harder questions if you are considering this a long-term relationship. And you must trust this person with your disappointments (things that are hard in your life) and your complaints (things you’d like them to do better in the relationship.)
A balanced person can embrace all of your moods and demands. You have to have someone you can trust in all the different flavors of your relationship together. There will be cinnamon and there will cayenne pepper, you need a partner who will savor all of your tasty bits, even the riskier ones.
A Relationship Truth I Have Come to Accept
You have all the time you need. There is no hurry. Relax. Enjoy each other. Savor each step of the process. Don’t skip the anticipatory foreplay along the path. And let yourself fall in love with your eyes wide open.
Relationships take time, make sure you are giving yourself and your new partner the time you need to grow and adjust to the newness of the adventure. As you go along, pay attention to all the details. Luxuriate in the desire of new love. And keep your head in the present moment and watch as your dance with this other person unfolds.
John McElhenney is a single dad who lives and writes in Austin, Texas. He is known for his fearless writing at The Whole Parent blog. John contributes to national publications and his books are available here on Amazon. For more information visit https://wholeparent.org. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.