This is a topic that often brings people into therapy. You are in a new relationship, it is seemingly going well, it is getting serious, yet there is something that is holding you back from making that ultimate commitment.
• Love and sex are not enough to sustain a long term relationship. This is a mistake so many couples make. There are many ingredients that go into a healthy relationship – and love and sex are only two of them. It’s crucial to evaluate other aspects of the relationship that are equally important such as friendship, values, religion and communication skills.
• Something feels wrong. It’s important to listen to both your head and your heart when making a commitment. If something feels wrong, it probably is. It’s important to evaluate what is not working well for you. Could this be your own psychological baggage, or is there really a problem in this relationship that needs to be addressed?
• Serious unresolved problems while dating will result in serious unresolved problems in marriage. I often hear, “we were unsure if we wanted children while we were dating, and I just assumed it would work itself out when we became married.” This is an all-too-common trap that we must beware of. Couples need to discuss crucial life issues such as whether they want to have children, views on religion, values, and economics prior to saying “I do.”
• Don’t fall in love with someone’s potential. We must be aware that sad as it is, often what we see is what we get. If your partner has a drinking or drug problem, is an underachiever or underemployed, is a jealous person, has anger issues, or is emotionally unavailable – stop, drop and roll! These problems need to be addressed and resolved before you make that commitment.
Special genConnect “No Strings Attached” Event:
On January 10, 2011 you are invited to watch on genConnect.com Dr. Marianne Brandon and Dr. Alan Altman discuss the movie and the real-life benefits and complications involved in a Friends With Benefits relationship. For more details, contact events@genConnect.com. Sign up at http://www.genConnect.com/register/ and be sent an email reminder and link to catch the video, follow-up live chat and free prizes.
More love and relationship guidance by Rachel Sussman, LCSW:
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