By Dr. John Gray
1. Are you serially dating?
There are many people out there who constantly date new people. These are the people who believe in the old saying ‘always something better around the corner.’ Whilst this is true in many areas of life, if you’re happy in your current relationship, why gamble and face the possibility of being on your own? Serial daters are people who are open to dating someone until the big “C” is mentioned (that would be commitment), and then they miraculously find someone more attractive, more their type, more into the things that they like to do for fun. Now, if you are like this and at a time in your life where you want to date around for fun or even for self-exploration, this is a perfectly acceptable stage of dating to be in. But if, you are someone who believes that you want to be in a long-term relationship with the “right” person, perhaps you are sabotaging your own success?
2. Do you take emotional risks?
When there are new emotional things to explore in a relationship, are you willing to be open and vulnerable with the person you are seeing? Think about this for a moment; if your partner opens up and begins to share an experience with you, do you choose to listen or do you share your experiences as well? If you choose to only listen, are you just being polite or are you choosing not to share?
Being open and honest about your life can be scary because you risk your partner not respecting, or worse yet, judging you for your experiences. When the moments present themselves, are you choosing the safer option of letting your partner do all of the talking?
3. When the option is doing something new or doing the same as before, which do you choose?
If you are a person who has a set routine, are you open to changing for a new person? This is not to ask, “Are you open to being a new person?” but rather to ask, “Are you willing to do something outside of your normal routine to have a new person in your life?”
Sometimes the very reason we are alone is that we are unwilling to step outside of our comfort zone and try something new. This can be as simple as trying a new type of food, or seeing a new type of movie. Or it can be bigger things like learning to have more fun and take life less seriously. When the moments present themselves, are you open to trying something different?
4. How well do you listen to your partner?
When your partner begins talking, how well are you really listening? One of the biggest obstacles in relationships is our natural tendency to give what we hope to receive instead of listening to our partner and giving what he/she needs. Because it is a natural response to give what we are hoping to get, it takes practice to learn how to give what another person wants.
If you are a person who believes you are a good listener, try an experiment. Engage yourself in a conversation with a stranger. This can be a person in your office, or at the supermarket. Begin a conversation that you believe can be sustained for a few minutes and ask that person how they feel about an issue. Listen to them answer you. What are they really saying? Not, what are the words they are using, but rather what is the meaning behind their words? If you can successfully answer this question, then you have heard the person.
Now take this a step further and consider what you had to do differently to really hear what was being said? If this is different from how you normally act, perhaps you haven’t been listening as well as you think you have.
5. How do you want to continue, now that you are aware of your actions?
When we learn something about our personality that we either didn’t know or don’t like, we have the option of making a change or continuing as before. If you are doing things that unknowingly sabotage your relationships, what do you want to do differently now that you know this? Nothing bad can come of trying something new … After all, they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for different results!