These are the three questions I wish I’d known before I started dating, much less before I ended up in a relationship with someone.
1. What’s the basis of the attraction?
Are you attracted to them intellectually, emotionally, sexually and physically? If so, great; there’s a perfect match as far as attraction goes.
Where many people make a mistake is that they feel attracted to someone at first, but they don’t really stop to check how deep their attraction goes. Most of us go glassy-eyed the first couple of times we see someone we feel attracted to and those glassy eyes make us blind to the fact that once we get to know the person a bit better, we might not feel the same way.
Take your time to explore someone. Go on dates with them that bring out different sides of them like: team work (like playing sports, paint balling, etc.), camping where you are all alone together, excursions with friends where you get to see what they are like around others for a prolonged amount of time, meet their family, go away for the weekend to another city to see how they handle being somewhere they don’t know, etc.
He'll give his heart to the first woman who does this...
These kind of experiences won’t just show you different sides of their personality, but also make you fall in love faster if it’s right, as you get to know each other by doing things together. You share experiences, as opposed to just drinks and dinners.
Moral of the story: don’t rush. See if you feel emotionally, physically, intellectually and sexually connected to them when they are dealing with all different kinds of situations, not just when they are in a certain element.
2. Are you moving in the same direction?
He wants to start an oil business in Saudi Arabia; you want to study fashion in Paris. He wants to live in a stainless steel mansion in New York; you want to live in a hobbit home in L.A. He wants take away; you want home cooked.
He couldn’t care less about social enterprises and doing good for anyone but those immediately close to him; you run a social enterprise. He wants a family of five; you’re not sure you want children. He wants to be Brangelina; you wouldn’t care to adopt.
He likes beach vacations; you prefer big city shopping sprees. He thinks the whole weekend should be spent doing things together; you enjoy dividing time between him and your friends.
It’s been said that love is not looking someone in the eye, but finding someone looking in the same direction you are. It’s very true in a way. You have to be on the same path and have similar values or it won’t work.
There are some things we’d never imagine when it comes to the wishes of the people we date. For example, I would find it downright strange if a man wanted to spend all weekend, every weekend with me. I’m an independent creature. I love spending time with someone I date, but if there is some sort of rule for spending the weekend together always, I’ll be gone before long.
Similarly, I once dated a guy who somehow didn’t get that I wanted children. Despite speaking of the kids I help raise in a Cape Town township where I work, plus talking about kids lining up to want to be adopted by me and saying the Brangelina lifestyle was always my dream even before there was a Brangelina, he missed this. This happened possibly because he wanted me and didn’t want to think further.
In other words, you have to be clear about where you are heading. Don’t try to weave him into your plans too soon—just talk about your dreams with passion. Talk about it as if you are looking for someone to join your dreams, not as if you have found him—you haven’t until you are in a relationship together.
3. Does he/you understand the difference between love, attraction and a great relationship, and are you both willing to work for it?
You can be attracted to someone on all levels (as mentioned in point one). You can be moving in the same direction and have the same values (point two). That means you will have fireworks going off. You’ll likely be so in love you feel like you’re walking on clouds. Being in love and having a relationship are two different things though.
I always think of relationship skills, as well as people and pickup skills, as learning to say please and thank you: it’s not about changing who you are so that someone will love you; it’s about changing how you communicate.
You may have appreciated a person for what they did before you learnt to say please and thank you but the person wouldn’t know it. Of course, it’s also important to have the right intentions, otherwise you just manipulate people. However, wanting to create a great relationship with someone you love isn’t manipulation—it’s showing you care.
Just as the dishes won’t do themselves, a relationship won’t feel great if you don’t put any effort into it. So, learn about what makes relationships great and start implementing it from day one.
Before you get into a relationship with someone, ask yourself what the basis for your attraction is? Is it emotional, physical, intellectual or sexual? Make sure it’s all four by spending time with the person in different circumstances.
Also, ask yourself if you’re heading in the same direction and have the same values. Lastly, ask yourself if you are both ready to work on creating a great relationship. And find out what that means for the two of you.