13 Questions to Ask Before Getting Married

13 Questions to Ask Before Getting Married

“All the News That’s Fit to Print” has been the New York Times’ motto since 1896. Because it’s so vast and comprehensive, it has also been my main news source since I became an adult. I think that’s evidenced in the number of Thursday posts that link to NYT articles about dating, relationships, sex, marriage and love.

The latest worthwhile share is something you’re going to want to absorb and share as well: 13 Questions to Ask Before Getting Married. As you know if you’re a regular reader, it’s not “What’s your preferred diet and workout schedule?” These are questions written by people who study compatibility and know what REALLY determine the success of your marriage.

I’m going to list the 13 questions here, but I encourage you to check out the original piece as well.

  1. Did your family throw plates, calmly discuss issues, or silently shut down when disagreements arose? The answer is B: Calmly discuss issues.
  2. Will we have children, and if we do, will you change diapers? As I’ve quoted from a previous NYT piece – the best predictor of a happy marriage is a man who helps out with housework and childrearing.
  3. Will our experiences with our exes help or hinder us? There’s a reason people talk about having baggage that can fit in an overhead compartment. Bringing too much of it to your marriage can be an unbearable weight. 
  4. How important is religion? How will we celebrate religious holidays, if at all? Religion is as big a deal as two people make it. While it’s certainly easier if two people believe the same things, the more flexible you are about religion, the easier it is to find yourself a partner.
  5. Is my debt your debt? Would you be willing to bail me out? My wife came with $40K of debt. I didn’t pay it off, but I paid for everything while she was digging out of her own hole. I think that’s a pretty good template to follow.
  6. What’s the most you would be willing to spend on a car, a couch, or shoes? When they talk about money being an issue in marriage, this is what they’re talking about. It’s not just about making money, it’s about the values implicit in how you spend or save it? You gotta be on (or near) the same page.
  7. Can you deal with my doing things without you? While my wife is my favorite person on earth, I think it’s important to have separate friends and interests? Those who think that being married means being joined at the hip are often disappointed by those who don’t.
  8. Do we like each other’s parents? This matters a lot more if you’re young, if you live near the parents, and if you don’t have healthy boundaries with your parents. While it’s helpful to like each others’ parents, it’s more helpful to know that the married couple’s wishes come before the family’s wishes – in my opinion. 
  9. How important is sex to you? If you’re going to have sex with one person for the rest of your life, you better find a compatible partner. The tricky part is that sex – more than most things – is a moving target. How you feel sexually has a lot to do with health, age, timing and hormones – which is to say that how you feel when you get married is often considerably different than how you feel in 10 or 20 years.
  10. How far should we take flirting with other people? Is watching pornography okay? Enough battles have been fought in this space over this issue, but I will continue to take a strong stand and say that with confident people, non-sexual flirting (without intent on taking action) is perfectly okay, as is occasional (non-addictive, non interactive) pornography use. Taking a hard line on this really decreases the number of available partners for you.
  11. Do you know all the ways I say “I love you”? People give and receive love differently, as best outlined in Dr. Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages. Knowing how to communicate your needs and deliver on someone else’s is paramount to a healthy marriage.
  12. What do you admire about me, and what are your pet peeves? Positive affirmation is necessary in any partnership, but as I teach in my Love U course, so is humility. Just having the willingness to know how you’re perceived and admit (and laugh at) your flaws is a complete relationship-saver.
  13. How do you see us 10 years from now? As I’ve said a million times, if you are a woman who wants to get married, stick with men who openly want to get married. If you are a woman who wants kids, stick with men who openly wants kids. You shouldn’t have to guess where he stands.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Jeannette

    I believe in all these questions. The 5 Love Languages is a discussion I bring up early in getting to know someone. I’d say 95% of the time it’s prompted a great conversation and a spirit of partnership.

  2. 2
    Rosamond

    All the questions are very relevant and important for those who are considering getting married and who desire a solid foundation and a happy home.
    Marriage should never,ever be entered into lightly.The couple should be prepared to contribute 100% into the relationship to make it a huge success. Give it all it takes!

  3. 3
    Tom10

    Interesting article; I suppose the overall point of these 13 questions is really about the critical importance of communication in a relationship as well as ensuring that both parties have shared values and goals. Children, religion, financial values, in-laws, sex, how to resolve disagreements, etc. Yep. Thems the biggies.
     
    An interesting comment I read in the article itself:
     
    “Couples should make sure they are on the same page in terms of financial caution or recklessness. Buying a car is a great indicator”
     
    I’ve often found that the car someone drives offers a startlingly revelatory insight into their whole outlook on life, how they view themselves, how the like to spend money and how they show themselves to the world.
     
    I tend to drive very cheap old cars because
    a) I’m not car proud,
    b) I only have one for functional reasons; I don’t drive much so a cheap one will adequately fulfill my requirements,
    c) I don’t care about image or (quasi) status or that much,
    d) I have a natural tendency to invest maximum resources into appreciating assets and minimum resources into depreciating assets,
    e) I don’t want to worry about it being stolen scratched or damaged,
    f) I derive a perverse pleasure in creating the impression that I’m less well off than I actually am (not that I’m even well-off). Not sure why. Maybe it’s something about retaining an element of intrigue.
     
    So, similarly, rightly or wrongly, one of the ways I infer a woman’s values and outlook is by observing the car she drives. Although I have no problem with women who like to drive nice cars I’m wary of them. A girl who has no house of her own but a very nice car is a red flag to me; why is she investing in a car rather than trying to buy a house? Will she look down on my cheap car? Will she always want to drive nice cars? Will she expect me to do so too?
     
    Apologies for my comment going on a motoring tangent; it’s just that I’m fascinated by how the car one drives can be such an accurate proxy of their values and outlook in life!

    1. 3.1
      KK

      Hi Tom, I like your assessment on the vehicle issue, but it’s important to be careful about generalizations. Currently, I drive a luxury car even though I wouldn’t consider myself financially reckless or materialistic. When car shopping, the two domestic cars I considered buying had a higher APR% finance option offered by the car maker than the luxury brand at 0%, plus they offered a free service plan, so all said and done the total expense would have been about the same (for payments and maintenance). I’d  hate to think my car would be a turn off for a quality guy.

      1. 3.1.1
        Tom10

        Hi KK,
        Okay fair point; I made an unfair generalisation, which is something I don’t usually do. I’ll take on board your comment and attribute less meaning to the car a woman drives from now on, and make a greater effort to assess a her values using other means. 🙂
         
        Maybe it’s just a particular quirk of mine. 😉

        1. AMT

          Thanks, Tom, I agree with KK.  While you can use the car as a measure, be cautious about using it as the only measure.  I drove a used 2000 Subaru for 5 years until it finally died.  Then when I suddenly had to get a new car, I found that on a student’s budget it made more sense to get a good lease deal on a nicer new car than I could afford to buy.

          I don’t own a home because I am $250K in debt getting my doctorate.  Of course I’m only one story, but consider asking some questions before making judgments.

          Oh, and I care more about whether a guy is a good driver (do I feel safe with him?) than what kind of car he drives. 🙂

    2. 3.2
      Emily, the original

      Tom10,

      A girl who has no house of her own but a very nice car is a red flag to me; why is she investing in a car rather than trying to buy a house?

      I’m kind of the opposite. I don’t mind if a man has a nice car. However, I see a “caution light” (not quite as glaring as a red flag) if a man has a house that he obviously spends a lot of time/money/effort tinkering with. I’d much rather he have an apartment or condo. I don’t want to spend my weekends doing yard work or buying household items at Walmart. Let’s get in that nice car and go do something fun.

      1. 3.2.1
        Tom10

        Hi Emily, the original #3.2
        Thanks for your reply; I suppose it just highlights the different goals we have. I’m always thinking of different ways to build my empire, to be continuously increasing the asset/capital pile: a fancy car deviates from this goal.
         
        Maybe I should take a leaf out of your book and live more in the moment 😉

        1. Emily, the original

          Tom10,

          Maybe I should take a leaf out of your book and live more in the moment.

          Or follow Marilyn Monroe’s philosophy. “I don’t care about money. I just want to be wonderful.”    🙂

    3. 3.3
      Adrian

      Hi Tom10,

       

      If you go back and read the Dating Within Your Class post, you will see that their are two type of women; KK is the type who judges “only” the quality of the person’s character, the other type judges the character and his wealth.

       

      Neither is wrong! I only bring this up to say that, their are people who care about what you drive and it is also not wrong of you to wonder why would an adult would invest more into a car (something only spend time in maybe an 8th of the day) than their home (something they spend half their day in).

       

      Also it matters how you judge them. Do you just say hay, this person isn’t that financially savvy or do you look down upon them for making decisions with “their” money that you wouldn’t make? Maybe they can learn something about money from dating you.

      1. 3.3.1
        Tom10

        Hi Adrian.
         
        “Do you just say hay, this person isn’t that financially savvy or do you look down upon them for making decisions with “their” money that you wouldn’t make?”
         
        Neither actually. People work hard for their money so they are fully entitled to spend it in whatever way they want. And I pass no judgement on their choices. However, as a naturally frugal type it simply makes sense to seek out similarly frugal types. And one of the ways I do this is by analyzing how they choose to spend their money; an easy barometer of which, I have found, is by seeing what type of car they drive.
         
        “Maybe they can learn something about money from dating you”
         
        Hmm, perhaps. However, one of Evan’s core tenets is that women shouldn’t try change a man; they should accept him as he is, or move on. And I follow a similar principle; I accept women as they are; and won’t try to change them. So if I feel that a woman’s financial mindset doesn’t align with mine I’m not gonna try and teach her about money; I’ll simply pass and move along to the next one who already has a similar mindset. Much less hassle.

        1. Adrian

          Hi Tom10,

          There is a difference between forcing someone to change for you and someone seeing something in you that they want to emulate.

           

          But I can’t really advise on this, because to me, what a person drives is not important. This issue, like most of the issues on the list are subject to time being the true equalizer, or all truths are all revealed with time. I know money savvy and money incompetent people who drive the exact same luxury car.

    4. 3.4
      Henriette

      @Tom10 – once again, you and I see eye-to-eye.  I drive a modest car, too, for all the same reasons you do.  I also wear relatively inexpensive clothes; I like to look attractive, neat and appropriate for whatever setting I’m in but find I can do this just as easily in mid-level brands as I could in Chanel or Gucci.  My house, however, tends to raise eyebrows 🙂 but it’s more than doubled in value since I bought it 10+ years ago so I see it as a wise extravagance.

      When a man wears a Rolex or drives a Mercedes, I take it as a yellow flag.  Maybe he was given the expensive watch by a doting relative or maybe the industry he works in is highly-sensitive to these kids of status cues so he sees it as part of a costume that helps him earn more money (oh, the stories I  heard from some of my banker friends when I lived in NYC!)  And maybe the Mercedes ended up costing him less than a more “budget” car would’ve.  Whatever.  I still think that if you don’t place high importance on these kinds of things, you are wise to make a mental note and dig a bit.  It’s not about being “right” or “wrong;” it’s about being compatible in the long-run.

       

       

      1. 3.4.1
        ScottH

        I agree- make a mental note and watch.  Sometimes you can get a great lease on a real nice car and nobody would know.  Or you can buy a luxury car at a steal, which would actually be a very smart move financially.  I drove an old beater car because I just plain liked driving it and wanted to see how many miles I could get on it (221k so far) but, right or wrong,  it killed my dating image.  I ended up buying a used luxury car for a steal and it makes me feel much more confident on dates.  It does matter, just like showing up in dirty old clothes to a first date.  I still like driving my old beater though.

        And living in an apartment is a big negative for me.  It can show financial distress.  Condos not so much.

      2. 3.4.2
        Tom10

        Hey Henriette #3.4
         
        “once again, you and I see eye-to-eye”
         
        Great! 😉
         
        “My house, however, tends to raise eyebrows 🙂 but it’s more than doubled in value since I bought it 10+ years ago so I see it as a wise extravagance.”
         
        Snap! I’m in the exact same situation: it is a wise extravagance!
         
        In fact I’m an architect and most of my work involves converting dilapidated buildings into designer homes, so naturally I put some of that into my own place. And so when women see it they simply just assume I’m loaded, then they get confused when they see my “old beater”: I just love the confusion that this juxtaposition creates!
         
        Ah it’s the small pleasures in life…

  4. 4
    Adrian

    # 3 I don’t see a person being honest with. Not because they are a liar, but because many times they are not even honest with themselves. Who says, “I’m an emotional wreck and I may go hot and cold on you because of my ex?” I have never met a person who said it was their fault the relationship ended.

     

    # 4 is “mostly” only important to people online, because people can see it. In real life many people judge your character without asking your religious believes and they themselves seldom, if ever, regularly goes to church. But let that same person who hasn’t visited a church or kneeled down for a silent prayer in years hear that you don’t believe, then their holy comes out… and you are dumped.

     

    #9 as we just learned from the previous posts on sex, can’t be accurately judged by anything but actions. Many people say one thing, but as time goes on, their over or under sex drive shows. Like with #3, time is the only true answer to this.

    According to Helen Fisher, both men and women’s sex drive increases during the lust stage, than it gradually falls back to it natural levels as the lust wears off. Being open to the idea of sex 3 times a week and actually doing it with a full schedule are two different things.

    Sometimes this makes one partner feel lied to at best, at worst they are made to feel like  a sex fiend/addict to to their partner and the partner feels pressured.

     

    #10 I struggle with. I guess because I can’t think of a reason to flirt with someone else if I have a person at home that I love. Plus, I only flirt with someone I am attracted to and wish to date, not just because. I have had married women as well as general women in relationships flirt with me, and it always made me feel uncomfortable and (maybe I was wrong for this) it made me lose respect for them.

    1. 4.1
      Cara

      Adrian,

      I agree with you on flirting. I’m a naturally warm and friendly person, and a natural flirt.   If I’m in a relationship, I’m friendly to the opposite sex,  but I try to never say or do anything that I wouldn’t do if my boyfriend was watching.

      If it would hurt him, cause him to not trust, etc, if he witnessed it, then why would I do it?

      Cara

      1. 4.1.1
        Callie

        But if it doesn’t cause one’s boyfriend harm? Both my boyfriend and I enjoy flirting because flirting can be very fun. And actually I like when other women flirt with him because I feel very proud that he’s my partner and that others also find my boyfriend desirable.

        Adrian – The notion that people think lesser of people in happy secure relationships who enjoy flirting and don’t take it as seriously as you do makes me a little sad. And I don’t get the judgement, like why do we have to be so judgmental of others like that? But I think more than my or your personal feelings about flirting our two very different approaches to this is an excellent example of why this list is important, why it’s essential to have these conversations with your SO. You and I would be rather incompatible obviously. And it’s a good thing to figure out sooner rather than later.

        (also, btw, I’m totally the sort of person who would say something like #3 – I don’t have that particular issue you illustrated, but I’ve always been very very honest with my SO and with myself about the baggage I bring from my previous relationships and life in general)

        1. Adrian

          Hi Callie,

           

          Perhaps you and I have different definitions of flirting. I have read many studies that show that we men often mistake friendliness for flirtation and interest.

           

          So maybe what I would consider you just being friendly with a guy who is not your boyfriend, you just see as flirting. Could you give me an example how you use the two with a stranger; Flirting vs Friendliness?

          …   …   …

          All the women who flirted with me in the past were aggressive and I knew it wasn’t just for fun, they wanted to see if I was open to the idea of sexaul affair, a threesome, or even just an emotional affair.

           

          To these women’s credit, they were masterful at it. It was always subtle, starting out friendly, and they would gradually push the boundry a little more each time slowly escalating sexual talk and touching. Unfortunately because I am natually a friendly person (and a little slow dealing with the opposite sex, as you can tell from my post), I did not catch on until it escalated more than I was comfortable with.

           

          This is why I think our definitions of flirting maybe different, I associate flirting with sexuality not just friendliness.

        2. Callie

          Adrian –

          For me flirting is being friendly but with possibly some little double entendre jokes at the same time. But I also categorize different levels of flirting. To me there is flirting for fun, and flirting with intention. The latter is trying to suss out if you can hook up with that person, if they are interested. The former is making a couple wink wink nudge nudge naughty jokes, being warm and friendly, but knowing it’s only a silly fun thing in the moment that isn’t going anywhere. I can acknowledge also that in the acting community people behave differently than in the 9-5 world. Such flirting that I speak of is really common among actors, jokey banter, innuendo etc, without it meaning anything. And it’s kind of expected. Everyone generally does it so I guess maybe we know the rules as it were.

          Of course I don’t support my boyfriend flirting with intention, with the hopes of hooking up with someone. We aren’t in an open relationship or poly. But fun harmless wink wink flirting? I don’t mind. And heck, I don’t even mind if women flirt with intention with him because I know he won’t say yes (I have the evidence to back that up).

          But flirting in and of itself? I have no issue with it. It’s the goal with the flirting that matters, not the act in my opinion.

           

          (also I’ll add that yes, A LOT of dudes think a woman being warm and friendly is flirting with them and it’s SERIOUSLY annoying. I mean the hubris really is astonishing. I once had a friend tell me that her boyfriend thought I was hitting on him because I was adjusting my dress [which I was doing because the dress was digging into me and making me uncomfortable].)

        3. Adrian

          Callie,

           

          Thanks for explaining your definition of friendly vs flirting type 1&2 to me. It shows me that I still have a long way to go on improving my confidence in dating.

           

          As a side note: have you noticed that people can be so confident with every other aspect of their lives except dating and relationships? Weird

           

          The girl that I am kind of talking to now (I’m not a fan of long distance), is an actress, and what you say defines her character perfectly. I guess now that I look at it, the way she interacts with both men and women can be considered fun flirting-playfulness.

           

          I have a male friend who did theater for a few years (until he got tired of being broke and got an office job). The way he paints women in theater is very different, calls them heart breakers. His one rule for me was to never date an woman in theater. Again, now I can see your definition of fun flirting being applied to explain their mistaking the female actors flirting for more.

        4. Emily, the original

          Adrian,

          I have a male friend who did theater for a few years … The way he paints women in theater is very different, calls them heart breakers.

          I did  a lot of theater through my 20s. Everybody’s hooking up with everybody else. They’re called showmances and last the length of the play. It’s fun, though, because no one is married and has no responsibilities. That door bolts shut forever once you get past your late 20s.

        5. Emily, the original

          Adrian,

          Also, on a side note, I consider about 98% of flirting to be absolute bullshit. It means nothing. It took me a long time to come to that conclusion. I took a lot of people seriously who I never should have and got burned. I don’t believe a man is remotely serious until he asks me out … and follows through. Words me nothing. They are impotent. It’s all in the action. And there are a lot of people who will carry the whole flirting thing really far … with no intention of doing anything. It’s a ego massage.

        6. Adrian

          Hi Emily,

           

          My friend said the same thing about Theater romances, except the way he tells it, usually it is the male actors who get emotionally attached to the female actresses; while the female actresses are just dating for fun.

           

          When you say the door bolts shut after 20 are you saying you believe older thespians are more serious about who and why they date?

          …   …   …

          As far as flirting for fun, I have never seen or experienced it. Most people I have seen flirt did so because they were attracted to the person.

           

          Men used flirtation as a way of testing the water to see would a woman be open to being asked out. Women used flirtation to let the men know they were open to being asked out.

           

          What both you and Callie describe is new to me. Though from reading Callie’s descriptions of fun flirting, I guess I can see someone playing with another’s emotions as you described it, especially if the other person did not realize that it was just a game.

           

          I guess I can kind of see the ego boosting part also; though it makes me think of being back in junior high school-playing childish games. Flirting with no end game or just to get someone to flirt back for the ego boost seems hollow to me.

        7. Callie

          Adrian – once again I’m very happy I could help!

          And I’m glad you see this woman in a new light. I find what your male friend said sort of . . . not quite funny but interesting. Because it’s really not unique to women. Men and women in theatre are just generally gregarious socially outgoing playful and yes often quite sexual beings. There’s a lot of heartbreak on both sides (though I also don’t think it’s unique to have heartbreak in the arts anymore than any other profession, it’s just different). I think when you’re a straight man then you think women are the heartbreakers and if you’re a straight woman you think men are. When really humans are breaking each other’s hearts in general.

          I will say, dating actors can be tricky. There is a variety of us to be sure, but I have found the generalisation that actors like to be the centre of attention and can be a little thoughtless and very self absorbed and career focussed to be pretty true. Now I’m an actor, some of my closest friends are actors and my boyfriend is an actor. And these people (and I like to think myself 😉 ) are all levelheaded, smart, and generous people. So what you need to make sure is that this lady of yours is self aware. That she understands the stereotypes that she rolls her eyes at them, and that she demonstrates through her actions that she can be giving and thoughtful and put you first on occasion. There are many of us who can and do. But there is alas a stereotype for a reason.

          That beings said, that playfulness you see in her, that’s not a red flag. That’s pretty much par for the course with actors. We just really like to play 🙂 .

        8. Emily, the original

          Adrian,

          “Usually it is the male actors who get emotionally attached to the female actresses; while the female actresses are just dating for fun …”

          Do men have feelings?  🙂  I kid, I kid. I don’t know. I suppose either side could be taking it more seriously than he/she should. And when you write the word “date,” I am assuming that you mean “have sex with.” This isn’t proper dating. It’s going out after the show with the cast to a bar and then going home with one of them.

          “When you say the door bolts shut after 20 are you saying you believe older thespians are more serious about who and why they date?”

          I wrote the door bolts shut after the late 20s because people get married. Your options slim.

          “As far as flirting for fun, I have never seen or experienced it.”

          Really? I have rarely experienced flirting for anything other than amusement. A majority of the men I work with are married. You won’t believe some of the stuff they say and do. It took me a while to figure out the utter flaccidity behind it.

           

           

        9. Callie

          Hey Adrian! Just read your latest reply to Emily which went up before mine was officially posted. So I wanted to add some stuff:

          Again, of course your friend would say that since he’s approaching it from the male perspective. But believe you me there have been many men in theatre who have taken advantage of women. Heck I remember a female friend of mine was dating this guy and was pretty smitten with him and that guy came over and started hitting on me and I was all, “Um . . . aren’t you dating my friend?” He got all defensive and said, “Well you know we aren’t exclusive or anything” and then stomped off. Just remember your friend is coming from his perspective. I really have never seen one gender be more likely to be heartbroken than the other in theatre.

          Also I think you get the wrong idea with playful flirting. The goal isn’t to get someone who doesn’t want to flirt back to flirt back and to trick people into fawning over you. I think you’re picturing this poor guy sitting in the corner who never gets hit on and then this seductress coming over and flirts with him and gets his hopes up that finally he’s going to be with someone and then she leaves and makes him all sad. But that’s really not how it happens. In theatre at least EVERYONE is flirting with everyone else. Everyone’s in on the game. That person sitting in the corner doesn’t really exist. The goal is it’s just fun. It’s being playful, it’s being sexual without any sex. It’s actually a really safe way to indulge your sexuality and have a bit of fun without going overboard and dealing with actual physical and emotional connections. Sometimes I think if more people just flirted for fun without any goal of hooking up there would be far fewer sexually frustrated people. Sometimes all you want to do is be a little naughty, but not actually follow through and be with someone. It’s just not manipulative when everyone is doing it and it’s not a big deal and it’s not about power or how many people you can have sex with. When it’s just fun it’s just . . . fun.

          I mean I get it, a lot of people I guess use flirting as a tactic in order to hook up. So if that kind of person was flirted with then they might think it childish or game playing that someone would dare flirt with them but not want to sleep with them. But honestly, I personally find it a little childish that as adults we can’t talk with innuendo and be a little sexy without it having to turn into something more. What’s wrong with a little fun grey area? Why can’t there be nuance and levels. Why is it either, “You want me or your playing games with me”?

        10. Emily, the original

          Callie,

          What’s wrong with a little fun grey area? Why can’t there be nuance and levels. Why is it either, “You want me or your playing games with me”?

          But you’re with someone, so you are using flirting for fun or to underscore that other men find you attractive. For those people who are single, can you not see that they may take it more seriously? You talk about a fun grey area … I’ve had men throw graphic sexual shit out at me. I’ve had men ask me out with (I think) no intention of following through. It was just to see what I would say. Then I found out they either had a girlfriend or were married. Isn’t that taking it a bit far?

          If i am chatting with someone and being jokey and flirty and he starts to get the wrong idea (that I am serious and want to date him), I pull way back. Maybe even avoid him if it is someone I have to see often. I think I have the responsibility to make it clear I didn’t want our interaction to lead to anything.

        11. Callie

          Emily –

          I may have a partner now but I’ve spent most of my life single and enjoyed flirting then too just for fun. In fact one of the things that kept me back from entering into a relationship was the thought that I’d have to give up playful flirting due to a jealous partner. Fortunately I found one who isn’t remotely and it’s great.

          Now then. It seems to me the things you are describing as flirting are not what I consider flirting. Flirting to me is light and PG. Throwing graphic sexual shit at you? Asking you out just to see you’d say yes? That’s gross boundary crossing and game playing. I wouldn’t have any patience for that either, I don’t blame you for not enjoying that.

          And I agree 100% that if you enjoy flirting it is also your job to make sure the person you are talking with has the right idea about what’s going. To make sure to keep aware of if they are starting to take it seriously, make sure they understand that it is just fun not about anything more. Absolutely. I believe in being a responsible adult. Not just doing whatever you want selfishly because it’s fun for you.

          So yeah. Not sure why you started your response to me with a “But” because I agree with you and I really don’t believe I said anything that suggested otherwise.

        12. Karmic Equation

          I agree with Callie.

          Fun, “grey” flirting is PG.

          I’ve written in another post that I flirted with a 6 year old boy once. A bf and I were at a diner for breakfast up in VT. I’m Asian and I suspect not too many Asians live in VT. So this little boy walked into the diner with his mom, and he just stared at me, wide eyed. I winked at him. His eyes widened even mom and he whispered theatrically, “Mom, that woman winked at me!”

          That’s what innocent flirting is all about. Women can flirt with both men and women. And good men flirts can flirt with men as well as women, without it being a homosexual thing.

          Because good, clean flirting, just makes people smile and laugh, and feel good.

          Graphic flirting or bantering should only happen when both parties are attracted to each other.

          If a man or woman is trying to gauge another’s interest in them, then should start with the PG flirting and let the OTHER person introduce sexual innuendo. Usually that is the sign the other person is attracted. If the other person stays PG, then it’s a pretty good indication that they’re only flirting for fun.

          This is normal, non-actors/actress flirting. I’m assuming that people in the entertainment industry flirt differently than us non-celebrities.

      2. 4.1.2
        Adrian

        Hi Cara,

         

        I read a great book on body language (actually the greatest book I ever read on the subject). In it, the authors quoted studies that show how much better over-all women are at reading body language than men.

         

        Due to the fact that women are more social than men and are better at communicating and interpreting subtle signals with their bodies, they assume men are the same. Because of this, men constantley either never pick up when a women is flirting with him or the more common accurance, men constantly mistake a woman’s friendliness for interest.

        1. Mary

          Hey Adrian,

          That book sounds interesting, do you remember what it was called?

        2. Adrian

          Hello Mary,

           

          The name of the book is  The Definitive Book of Body Language by Barbara and Allan Pease.

           

          I have look at dozens of body language books and this is my favorite for two reasons.

           

          5% of that reason is because this couple were pioneers in the field. I know it may sound prejudice but, I have more respect for someone who has been studying something for over a decade, than someone writing a book and calling themselves an export fresh out of college.

           

          But 95% of the reason this is the best book I’ve read is because of PICTURES!

           

          Most body language books out there tell you poses to watch out for, but they don’t show you pictures. This book has lots and lots of pictures.

           

          Plus they warn all amateurs that reading body language should be done in clusters. One gesture doesn’t main anything, six consecutive gestures throughout the body mean something. For example, are their arms crossed because they are unhappy or because they are cold? Well what does the rest of their body tell you.

           

  5. 5
    SMC

    Oh boy, do 11, 12 and 13 ever hit home.  I guess I’m going to have to read Dr. Chapman’s book because evidently my love language is much more different than my man’s, and it is causing a problem, which leads right into #12.  I asked a variation of this question recently which sparked a conflict.  It was more a fun, offhanded “Why do you love me anyway?” after I’d done something goofy which caused us both to laugh.  I don’t even remember what it was, but the silence after the question was deafening.  In the end, the best he could do was “Because you love me for who I am,” and only then grudgingly because he flat didn’t want to talk about his feelings.  During the discussion which ensued (none of it pleasant), he claimed that I’d never done anything to annoy him, which to me is impossible given that we’d been seeing each other for over 10 months at the time.  He has never fussed at me for ANYTHING, but…

    This leads into #13.  After now over one year together, I still do not know without a shadow of a doubt where he sees us in even one year, forget 10 years.  I think he sees us going along as we have been, living an hour apart, seeing each other during the week and on many weekends, taking occasional trips together, etc.  Part-time lovers, if you will, even though I have directly, from my mouth to his ears, stated that I want a relationship with a man who wants to see me every day.  I’ve even written to Evan about it.  I know he loves me, he just won’t talk about his feelings for me.  Ever.  Not once.  The lack of feedback about our relationship is distinctly one-sided – I’m a communicator, he is not, period, and while I’ve been planning to move to a more rural area for some time, specifically his area (because I had thought we were building a future together), I just can’t quite pull that trigger without a little more communication from him.  We did finally have a sane, no-tears talk about it last week during which time he said he cared about me deeply, but again, it was under pressure, it wasn’t spontaneous.  I joked with him later that I wouldn’t hold him to anything he had said that night because it needed to be a spontaneous declaration from him and that I would hear what he says and what he DOESN’T say in the future.  And now the clock is ticking for me because my heart is slowly cooling and closing up shop if this man can’t, or won’t, communicate with me in these most basic ways.  He’s a very good man and he treats me so well, but his uber guarded nature is wearing me down.  We agreed in the very beginning that communication needs to be rock solid as a foundation for a relationship, but our communication is so one-sided that the ship is about to founder.

    You can be sure I will be asking these questions, especially 10-13, with my next person of interest.  As for #10, the flirting, I can take my man being “friendly” with other women, just as I am “friendly” with other men, but I see bona fide flirting as sexual and wouldn’t be able to stand it.  I don’t do it, I don’t want my man doing it.  I don’t equate “friendly” and “flirting” as one and the same.  Adrian and I are on the same page there.

    1. 5.1
      KK

      Oh boy SMC,

      I’ve only encountered one man like your boyfriend and it sure did a number on me at the time. Years ago, when I was 20 and he was 27, we began dating and he asked for a commitment within the first two weeks of dating. I was all in because I was so smitten. He was tall, gorgeous, ambitious, and just an all around good guy. Seemed like optimal marriage potential. By month 3 or 4, I started to get a little antsy because of the same reasons you mentioned, but I never asked him about his lack of communication about his feelings. By month 6, I was done. I felt my needs weren’t being met in that one area but that was huge to me. It took me a long time to get over him. I saw a mutual friend last year and guess what: he is still single, has never married. I’m guessing I’m not the only woman who had this issue with him.

      1. 5.1.1
        SMC

        KK, thanks for your response.  What’s so sad is he really IS a wonderful person except for the fact that he is almost pathologically cagey about revealing what’s in his heart.  There is nothing he wouldn’t do for me except open up. I’ve given it a year.  His friends, of which he has many, are going to be devastated, but honestly, I can’t even tell if he will be or not.  Every now and then we’ll send each other a country song (we met through dancing) that will be a romantic way of saying what’s on our minds, and after our talk on Wednesday I sent him one which, if he listens and “gets it,” will be my final warning.  Sending a song is not a substitute for communication, it’s one of those fun little things people do, but this one is my last chance at getting my point across.  I don’t need a man to say flowery things, but I DO need a man to give me feedback about US.  There is none here.  NONE.  I’ve asked him, in the course of general conversations, why he and his past two live-in girlfriends broke up, and he just says, “I don’t know.”  Which really means I know but I’m not talking about it.  So we’ll see, but I’ve heard the death knell, even if he hasn’t.

        Let me be clear, though, that this past year hasn’t been a waste.  Far from it, I’ve had some of the most fun I’ve ever had and will have a lot of good memories from it.

    2. 5.2
      Adrian

      SMC

      I am almost 100% sure Evan wrote a post similar to your situation. Sounds like he is a good guy, just not good for you.

       

      Do you know the used car analogy? Be careful not to be that person.

      1. 5.2.1
        SMC

        Adrian, I’ve been looking for a post about a situation like this, but I haven’t found it yet.  I’ll keep looking.  As for the used car analogy?  I don’t know that one.  What is it?

        1. SMC

          On second thought, never mind.  I looked it up, and I don’t think I like it (I saw 2 or 3 versions).  Never mind.  I’m not a used car, and neither is he.  We just speak different languages.

        2. Adrian

          SMC,

          I will look also, Evan says he has a thousand blog post, but I think there are more post than that. I know I read it, I just can’t remember the advice Evan gave.

           

          Also -and I might get in trouble for this (^_^)- I prefer married Evan’s advice to bachelor Evan’s advice.

          …   …   …

          To paraphrase the used car analogy,

          It is when people allow the times that they took a memerable trip, or had their first kiss, heard a great song for the first time, was low on gas and after a few dozen “come-on baby, you can do it” getting home or the the gas station safetly; getting very attached to our old car and the memories we had in them.

           

          We look at all those positive past events and intentionally ignore all the present problems with the car; I mean come on, you had you very first real kiss in that car! So what do we do, we keep throwing money at the problems to keep the car alive; we spend more money on repairs that never fix the car than the cost of buying a new car; all because of what the car use to do.

           

          In the dating situation, you are the car owner, the relationship (not the guy) is the car, money wasted is emotional energy, and good times of the past are…. good times.

           

          No matter how great it was, those moments are the past, if the relationship can’t do what you need it to do now, then you are only wasting emotional energy keeping something that is dying alive.

           

          A relationship should grow, not be on life support.

    3. 5.3
      D_M

      SMC,

      You said you’ve written to Evan, so he probably has you on the straight and narrow. Let me try and translate some of your current boyfriend’s patterns from a guy’s perspective with similar relationship behavior. First and foremost, if you want a significant other that can eloquently express their feelings with you, you have to keep that high on your list. “Because you love me for who I am”; Translates to I don’t have to constantly verbally reassure you about how much I love you. My actions towards you should be enough. Judge my love for you by my none verbal actions. I believe that actions mean more than what is coming out of someone’s mouth.

      SMC, obviously I don’t know you, but the reassuring thing can be interpreted as, “This isn’t the beautiful confident woman I feel in love with, which is giving me pause”. All we can do is trust our gut. Best of luck to you moving forward.

      1. 5.3.1
        Callie

        But why is he never willing to compromise on this? Why is his love language the most important one? Certainly she appreciates his actions and has said as much, but in return she’d like some words as well. Why can’t he (or you, since you identify with him) meet her in the middle? Let her know that you love her by saying “I love you”. Let her know that you’re in it for the long haul by saying “I’m in it for the long haul.” You don’t have to write her poetry or say it every hour of every day, but when she asks specifically and would like that reassurance, why can’t you just reassure her?

        I mean, I get it. If it’s every day and she refuses to meet you halfway and believe you that you’re demonstrating love through action, then yes that would be frustrating and I would think it a mismatch for sure. But if she is seeking something small, something on occasion, would you not be okay with that small compromise? Would it not be okay for you to have a conversation about your future every six months or so and be clear about your intentions?

        1. Karmic Equation

          I have a simple solution with my guy.

          If I feel I need a compliment, I just say to him, “Ok, honey, I need a compliment today.” And he gives me one. If I don’t that compliment is thoughtful enough, I actually say, “Thanks, honey, I love that you love my smile. But I need a deeper one than ‘You have a great smile’. So hit me with another one.”

          Honestly, there are days when I want a compliment from him, so I ask.

          But he’s more of a gift-giving (last on my list) guy than a words of affirmation guy (prob# 3 on my list), so I just appreciate his gifts and thank him with a big kiss.

          Learn to be fluent in ALL the love languages, and you won’t need reassurance as often. If you’re only fluent (and appreciate only) one language, then you’re going to be frequently disappointed, and not appreciate your man.

          In the spirit of compromise, why does the guy always have to give the woman what she wants? Why can’t a woman give UP what she wants instead?

        2. Callie

          KE – I think that sounds great. If you re-read what I said, that is pretty much what I was asking about. Why can’t he, after she requests it, do it? I got the impression from her post that she was, she was asking for straightforward things, that she WAS compromising already. I was asking why he couldn’t at all return said compromise. Why he couldn’t speak in a forthright manner. Say “I love you” when she asked, and tell her what he pictures as their future together when she asks him.

          I basically said all that.

          So yeah. I’m a bit confused here by your response to me. But yup, totally down with everything you described. I love it really, that kind of clear communication. I wish more people had it. I’m just not getting the impression from at least the way she’s described it that he’s coming to meet her in the middle at all. And I was asking D_M who was explaining the behaviour of the man in the situation why coming to meet in the middle was tricky. It was actually a real question not a leading one. I’m not that kind of person, and I don’t know what kind of struggle such a person faces and what holds someone back from using their words in such situations. I am sincerely curious if it is a very difficult thing to do. And why.

        3. Adrian

          Karmic Equation,

           

          Some times… I just don’t know what to say to you.

           

          Just make sure I never catch you, or I’m going to dissect you to find out the source of all that great confidence and wisdom. (^_^)

          …   …   …

          Your solution is great for you, but the average person couldn’t use that method.

           

          Having someone who you love and want to love you in return

          > giving you praise

          > saying they love you

          > saying they want to move in with you

          > start spending more time with you

          > offering to marry you

          > buying you an engagement ring, etc

          Only because you had to tell them to do it or they would have never done it on their own just for you…

          is akin to giving someone a cube of ice with a pinch of sugar sprinkled on it and calling it ice cream.

           

          Besides sex, what separates a partner from just another friend? Sometimes just give it to me because you enjoy seeing me smile.

           

        4. Callie

          Adrian I think you misunderstand KE. Her point is that there are multiple “love languages” and not everyone communicates the same way. If you know your guy speaks through actions not words, and therefore has demonstrated his love for you, you are not demanding something of him that he doesn’t wish to give. You are only asking him to translate that pre-existing love into your language. It’s like she speaks English and he speaks French. He is telling her every day he loves her and wants to be with her and she knows that the words he’s saying do mean that, but she needs to every once in a while hear it in English. So she asks him to say it in English, even though it’s tricky for him. Likewise she will attempt to say things in French  so he understands her love.

          Basically she’s not forcing him to feel all those things nor want all those things. She’s just asking him to express those feelings and wants in a way that she understands. It’s basically called open and honest communication and empathy.

          Now. It does sound like your love language, Adrian, is words. And it does sound like that’s VERY important to you because you find it very upsetting if someone isn’t saying the words. So it’s possible you should date someone similar, who expresses their love through words as well. Basically you need someone who speaks English and should never date someone who speaks French. 🙂 And that’s okay. But sometimes people are able to compromise and work with the differences of others. KE’s explanation is a wonderful solution to doing just that.

        5. Adrian

          Hi Callie,

           

          Very good explanation, it helped me understand tremendously, thanks.

           

           

           

          Though I still think what you and Karmic Equation are speaking of is too pragmatic, logical. Most people are more emotional than that.

           

          Yet I will admit Callie, hearing your explanation reinforces my belief that insecurities are kryptonite to happy relationships.

           

          With an insecure person, it doesn’t matter how good their partner is. But if you are secure in your knowledge that your partner loves you, then what you two described would work effortlessly.

          …   …   …

          On a personal note: My main love language is time, then touch, the other three such as words are ranked really low on my test results.

           

          Probably because I cringe when given an “over” compliment. You know, instead of you are attractive, it’s “Damn! You are sexy!”, or instead of thank you, it’s “You are the kindest, sweetest man, no one has ever…”

        6. Callie

          My pleasure! Glad it was helpful!

          And also something else to consider: that this notion that pragmatism has no place in romance is not actually true. And while emotions are always there, so too can there also be logic and reason. It doesn’t have to be one way or the other.

          For example, let’s say my love language is words and my BF’s is action. And he doesn’t tell me he loves me when I really need it or doesn’t comfort me in a moment. It’s not like right then I’ll always be uber level headed and say something cool and calm like, “Right now what I need from you is to say this.” It’s possible in the moment I get upset. Or I feel hurt. And I need to take my space and not talk to him for a bit. But then once the emotions have happened I can sit down with him and be pragmatic. I can explain what happened, why it happened and how I think we could remedy it in future.

          So yeah, I don’t think it’s all or nothing. I also think sometimes we place too much romanticism on relationships, that it’s ALL about feelings and emotions and swirling passions. But really, as Evan writes about constantly, it’s also about compatibility, and communication and thinking ahead and making plans. The best relationships in my mind are a combination of both. In fact I’ve come to the point where I don’t trust relationships that are all feelings and no pragmatism because after many years on this planet I have witnessed how such relationships usually have a shaky foundation to begin with and tend not to last. The ones I’ve seen last have all the feelings but ALSO have all the pragmatism. And respect. Mutual respect is so important.

          So yeah. Something you might want to think about. Are you romanticising romance?

          A side note: it’s interesting because I think these days men tend to be the romanticisers more than women. I’ve had female friends dumped by male partners the moment it wasn’t feeling all passion and romance all the time. It’s like these guys want relationships to be Disney movies, and can’t handle the reality. That sometimes it’s just nice. Sometimes it’s pleasant. Sometimes it’s even hard. It’s not always going to be a romance movie. And quite frankly I personally think that’s a good thing as man that would exhaust me after a while 🙂 .

        7. Karmic Equation

          Hi Callie,

          I think we agree on what can be said. The difference is that you seem to require that the man say what we want to hear without prompting, whereas I’m advocating that there are a lot of times where we can just tell the guy what we want.

          For example, I can envision myself saying, “I’ve had a tough day today, honey, can you just “I love you” a few more times than usual tonight?” or if we want to know if the guy is in it for long haul with us, I’d just ask “We’ve been together for 2 years now, so does that mean you’re in it for the long haul with me? If not, what do see as our future?”

          Ask a guy your “burning questions” in a matter of fact way, and you’ll get an honest answer most of the time.

          It’s this unspoken requirement that our guy should to tell us what we want to hear because he’s a mind-reader that I believe creates problems in relationships. Men don’t read minds. They often don’t even bother trying. It’s just not what interests them.

          They are interested in making us happy. And by and large, most men are honest and will tell you honestly what they think if you’re specific in what you ask.

          Don’t ask open-ended questions and expect the specific answer that will make you happy will automatically come out of his mouth.

          However, ask a specific question and you’ll get a specific answer.

          At least that’s how I do it.

          Not very romantic, I know. But for me, the romance is what he’s willing to DO for me, not say to me. As I mentioned before, most men’s primary love language is “Acts of Service” — meaning what he does for us. So what he does unsolicited is much more indicative of his love for me than any words that I cajole (or demand) out of him.

        8. Karmic Equation

          Hi Adrian,

          Thanks 🙂

          I know myself and my needs. And since I know my needs are reasonable, I’m not abashed when every now and then I need a compliment and I just ask my bf to give me one.

          I’ve been lucky in that the one time I was married, the guy was a traditional guy and bought me a ring without a discussion. Since I was in my late 20s, I’m sure if he was an anti-traditionalist who didn’t plan on giving me a ring, I might have gotten upset. I’m glad I wasn’t put on the spot like that!

          To your points about my S.O.:
          > giving you praise –
          If I need it, I’d ask. No shame in that. But usually, I don’t need him to praise me to feel good about an accomplishment. I know what I accomplished. His praise would be icing on the cake, not the cake.
          > saying they love you –
          If we’ve already traded “I love yous” then asking them to say it because I need to hear because of a bad day or what not shouldn’t be a problem for either of us.
          But if your point is asking a person to say it for the first time? I just wait. If I can’t wait because I love him, what’s to prevent me from continuing to love him without saying it, if it makes me happy. If I’m unhappy loving him when he hasn’t said I love in a timeframe that I deem reasonable, then I should break up with him. Love is a gift. Whether I’m loved in return is irrelevant to whether I love him. However, whether he says he loves me may be relevant to whether I continue having a relationship with him.
          > saying they want to move in with you –
          If I want my guy to move in with me, I’d just ask. I would expect my guy to do the same if that’s what he wanted. If there’s no need to share expenses, then why does this have to become some sort of relationship litmus test?
          > start spending more time with you –
          My guy already spends 99% of his non-working hours with me. So no complaints.
          > offering to marry you –
          For me, one things I’ve said to my guy when we first started dating was that I wasn’t interested in ever marrying again. If I change my mind, I’m going to have to let him know either directly or indirectly. I haven’t changed my mind yet, so this is not an issue.
          > buying you an engagement ring, etc –
          Well, I’m not above a little social comparison. I know that he broke off his previous engagement. And that he had bought her a ring. If he were to propose to me, I’d expect a ring. I’d feel slighted if he decided not to get me one. Maybe I’d get over that slight. Maybe not. I’d have to cross that bridge when I came to it (if ever).

        9. jeremy

          @KE,
          The notion of asking for what you want is very logical, but sometimes it defeats the purpose.  What most people want when they crave words of love and praise is psychological validation.  Validation is the feeling of pleasure when a high-quality person gives you what you want for the sole reason that they WANT to give it to you.

           

          For example, a woman may feel validation when a handsome man courts her, plans dates with her, buys her gifts – not out of any expectation of sex, not because anyone told him to do so, but because he WANTS to do those things for her.  His wanting to do those things is what provides the validation.

           

          A man who brings his GF flowers is validating her.  But a man who brings her flower because she ASKED for them?  Not so much.  In that case, he is doing it because he is following her instructions.  He may want to follow her instructions, but at that point the validation is gone.  Similarly, a woman who wants to hear “I love you” wants to hear it spontaneously.  If she only hears it when she asks her BF to say it, most women would feel far less validation.

           

          I think the key is to communicate our love languages to our partner in ways they understand, and then let them communicate with us (and encourage them if they fail to communicate well).  For example, my wife’s language is words and mine is acts of service and physical touch.  She LOVES getting cards – birthday cards, anniversary cards, etc – whereas I think cards are pretty much wastes of time.  But I learned to give them to her, and when she gets them (and doesn’t have to ask for them), it makes her feel much better than when she had to ask me “what about the card?”

        10. Callie

          Actually KE  we are once again in agreement. I literally say to my guy sometimes, “I need a compliment now please!” 🙂  I am very much like you, actually, I never ask open ended questions, I’m forthright and specific. I say what I need in a moment and never expect anyone (male or female, BF or friend or family) to read my mind.

          My point wasn’t that the guy needs to always read the mind of the woman. That’s not it at all. My point is that while the woman is putting in the effort and asking for straightforward things per your example that the man over time within the relationship is also putting in effort by learning once in a while to say things without asking. It’s called meeting in the middle. I am not saying that the woman ought not ask directly for things, I am simply saying she oughtn’t be solely responsible for the relationship. You say that women need to understand that men can’t read minds, I agree. I say that men need to understand that women need men on occasion to be proactive with their words. That I think the guy needs to ALSO put in effort. But I am not saying that the men should put in more effort at all. I am asking for equal effort to try to accommodate each other’s love languages.

          Basically  I just want everyone to work their hardest to make their partner happy and have open and honest communication, learn from mistakes and be proactive in the relationship.

      2. 5.3.2
        SMC

        Actually, D_M, you have been very helpful.  His actions are consistent with what Evan tells us – believe the actions more than the words, which is what I’ve been doing all along.  His actions are consistently thoughtful.  The thing is, and if I’m in the wrong I’m MORE than willing to accept it, can relationships thrive with NO verbal communication about the relationship?  Doesn’t Evan say that the couple needs to be on the same page about their future. and doesn’t that involve discussing it at least a little bit?  Help me out here, I really want to know.  I’ve never dated anyone who never talked about his feelings, so I’m truly at a loss this time.

        1. D_M

          SMC,

          The short answer is no. A relationship cannot thrive without some type of communication. Those of us who are more action oriented have to learn how to evolve emotionally. It does take some time and it can’t be forced. No one likes to feel like they are being manipulated. I have no idea how old your guy actually is, but we are never to old to learn. The conundrum is after a certain point, we get set in our ways. You have to try and decipher which one you have on your hands. You can only lay yourself emotionally bare to someone and hope that they recognize what is before them.

          Try to recall the indirect conversations that you have had about the area where he lives. Was his responses emblematic of someone who is on the same time table as you are? You have already telegraphed the direction and pace of the relationship. The time table issue is tough, because we are trying to sort out whether we can live with the you that’s before us long term.

      3. 5.3.3
        SMC

        And, D_M, it’s not even reassurance, per se, that I need or want.  I just want to know that we’re on the same page.  I’m secure and confident.  I’m not wringing my hands, doubtful about his love or any such thing.  I don’t need flowery language and constant proclamations of devotion; however, before I pick up, sell my house and move out to a rural area, I kind of want to know if he really IS on the same page as me, and I’m sorry, but there needs to be an utterance of some sort.  I am a confident, strong woman; he thinks I’m beautiful, those things haven’t changed.  If this doesn’t work out, I have options (for lack of a better phrase), but I don’t want to just pack up and go if I’M in the wrong here, which is why I’m asking the Evan crowd, of whom most are sane and logical.

        Callie, thank you.  That’s it EXACTLY.

        Adrian, thank you as well.  That analogy wasn’t one of the ones I found, and this one’s a reasonable, understandable one.  (Those others were awful.)  Thank you for your input, it’s always appreciated.

        1. Karmic Equation

          ” I don’t need flowery language and constant proclamations of devotion; however, before I pick up, sell my house and move out to a rural area, I kind of want to know if he really IS on the same page as me, and I’m sorry, but there needs to be an utterance of some sort. “

          If you don’t know his feelings for you, why are you considering doing such a thing?

          Stop considering this until you know for sure.

          Or, alternatively, you can tell him, “I’m considering selling my house and moving closer to you. How do you feel about that?”

          That is what you want to know. So ask him that.

          Why can’t you “communicate honestly” about what YOU are thinking? Asking him to talk about his feelings spontaneously (and getting upset when he doesn’t) does not tell you ANYTHING how he feels about your considering selling your house to move closer to him.

        2. SMC

          KE, I agreed with your previous assessment in that I DO know his feelings for me, I’m just not clear on how HE feels about the future.  I mis-communicated my dissatisfaction.  His feelings are not in doubt.  His feelings about the future are (at least to me).

          You would have to know this person to really understand what I’m saying.  He is so close-lipped about pretty much anything and everything to do with himself.  It took him a while to even open up to me about what he did for a living (construction).  Things that most people wouldn’t think twice of talking about in the getting-to-know-you stage, he released bit by tiny bit.  But he’s generous to a fault, both with his time and his actions, and he’s a wonderful man at heart.  Yeah, and there’s that dancing thing.  Best I’ve ever danced with.  At any rate, I do know his feelings, it’s his feelings about where WE are going that’s in question.

        3. SMC

          BTW, KE, he himself is looking at land/property in his area for me.  He knows my intentions of moving to the countryside.

        4. Karmic Equation

          In that case, SMC, be patient. If he’s helping you locate property, by his actions, he’s SHOWING you he wants you in his future.

          You absolutely need to read the 5 Languages of Love.

          Your guy’s primary love language seems to be Acts of Service (this is most men’s primary love language btw).

          And yours seems to be Words of Affirmation.

          Trust me in that it will be much easier for you to learn to appreciate his acts of service than it will for him to open up.

          Opening up is EASY for women, not for men. Just like shutting up is EASY for men, not for women, lol.

    4. 5.4
      Karmic Equation

      I think you’re not being honest with why you’re not happy with your guy, SMC.

      You wrote:

      I think he sees us going along as we have been, living an hour apart, seeing each other during the week and on many weekends, taking occasional trips together, etc.  Part-time lovers,”

      The above is why you’re not happy.

      YOU want to know if he wants to live together eventually. Not his “feelings” — You know his feelings. He’s said “I love you” I assume because you asked “So why do you love me anyway?” — If he had not ever said “I love you” and you came out with “So why do you love me anyway” — I could see that as an awkward moment, as he’s still not sure if he loves you but you’ve put words in his mouth and assumed he does.

      Ask him if he’s happy with the status quo. Is he happy only seeing you on weekends? Would it make him happier or would he feel pressure if you were to see each other a few more times per week? Listen to his answer.

      If he says he’s happy with the status quo, then you need to tell communicate honestly with him that YOU’re not happy with status quo and why. Then ask him, “Ok, hon, what do we do about this?”

      Then you go from there. Hopefully without tears or accusations.

      Good luck.

      1. 5.4.1
        SMC

        Thank you for weighing in, KE, and you are exactly right – I didn’t phrase my dissatisfaction correctly.  I do know his feelings – he does love me.  I’m not happy with his lack of communication on his intentions – big difference.  I’ve made it clear that I want to be in a long-term relationship with someone who wants the same thing (note, I didn’t say him), and he’s “gone along” with it, but I don’t want a man to “go along.”  Either yes or no.  I can handle no, I just want to KNOW if it’s no or not.  Give it to me straight, good or bad, but just GIVE it to me.

        As for the living together eventually part, that, too, is spot on.  Eventually.  Doesn’t have to be this week, doesn’t have to be this year, I just want to know if he wants to at ALL.  That’s what I meant about being on the same page.  But I think I’ve done all the one-sided discussing I’m going to do.  The last time was very lighthearted with smiles and laughter.  And it was indeed the last time.  I’ll listen to what he does or doesn’t say during the next as yet undisclosed timeframe and take it from there.  It’s still fun, I don’t feel like I’m wasting time, but I’m not going to make a life-changing move unless I’m dead sure that we’re both in it for the long haul either.  To his credit, one of his relatives told me recently that all the men in his family are pretty tight lipped about their feelings/intentions.  🙂

        1. Karmic Equation

          My guy doesn’t talk about his feelings spontaneously. He has yet to even SAY he loves me (and we’ve been dating over a year). And a few months ago, I said to him, “You know, we’ve been dating a year, and you haven’t said those three little words yet. Do you not feel it or can you not say it?” (I haven’t said I love him either, cuz I’m not sure, but I was curious how he felt).

          Him: “I don’t know.”

          I just let it ride.

          He’s spent EVERY SINGLE NIGHT since the first night we slept together with me. Except for the one night I was in the ER and the 3 nights I was away on business.

          He brings me gifts unasked. I love dolphins and dragons. And I once I told him I’d love to have a Lamborghini. I got my Lamborghini about a week after I mentioned it (in the form or a framed print lol) — and whenever he comes across glass dolphins that he thinks I might like, he gets it for me. He’s not come across any dragon stuff yet.

           

          Anyway, my point is that I notice he shows his love for me by spending all his free time and every night with me. He works for himself and on weekends, he often invites me to go along with him. I don’t always go, but I love that he asks.

          The fact that he hasn’t SAID he loves me hasn’t bothered me so I haven’t pressed for a verbal declaration. What does it matter if he never says it, but he’s showing me his devotion every day?

          I attribute the lack of urgency for hearing him say “I love you” to me to the fact that I’m equally unsure about whether I’m ready to make that full emotional commitment to him by saying those words.

           

  6. 6
    SQ

    Good list! But I’m not sure I fully get the purpose of this one:

    “Did your family throw plates, calmly discuss issues, or silently shut down when disagreements arose? The answer is B: Calmly discuss issues.”

    What does that mean “the answer is B?” Obviously B is the ideal, but what if my SO’s family did A and I’m used to C? How do I use this information?

    On another note 5 Love Languages is pure genius.

    1. 6.1
      D_M

      SQ,

      You figure out if both of you can work towards B. Are you being devil’s advocate here? A and C are frustrated temper tantrum reactions that don’t lead to a solution which does not harbor resentment.

      1. 6.1.1
        SQ

        D_M: I thought it was worded awkwardly in relation to the rest of the list.

  7. 7
    AAORK

    For the most part, a good article even though it just re-hashes basic conversation points that two mature adults should already be thinking about. However, I have issues with both the fem-centric slant of the article as well as one of Evan’s comments.

    1. Evan, your assertion that “the best predictor of a happy marriage is a man who helps out with housework and child rearing” makes about as much sense as me saying “the best predictor of a happy marriage is a woman who helps out with yard work and house maintenance”. Your statement plays well with the career-oriented woman but appears one-sided in a stay-at-home mom scenario. We both know the stats repeatedly showing that, if given the chance, the vast majority of women would prefer to stay home and raise their children vs. going to out to “slay the dragon” everyday. Buy hey, your clientele is primarily career types, right? I get the bigger picture so can’t really fault you. Also, I understand your affinity to the NYT (since it slants heavily liberal), but that mag is hardly “authoritative” or balanced in it’s writing (it may have been long ago, but no longer). Quoting a piece from there does not give any weight to your (mis)point, it just carries water for the fem-centric perspective.

    2. Whenever “porn” is brought up, I never see a mention of the equally destructive female equivalent: romance novels, reality shows, and (most dangerous of all) social media validation addiction. All have the power to derail a marriage because they are all based on an illusion and promote unrealistic expectations of the other gender (as well as an unrealistic sense of self importance/value). And there are many writers out there (that never appear in the NYT, by the way) who make very good arguments that the social media validation/addition problem so common among women is at least equal (if not greater) in it’s detrimental impact to relationships as any porn addition among men. And until this receives the same amount of scorn and shame for women as porn does for men, the problem will remain.

    1. 7.1
      SMC

      AAORK, I don’t care for porn (even though I’m fascinated by those bodies), I absolutely DESPISE social media, I landscaped my entire property front and back (ex-hubby didn’t contribute a bit, which was fine) and I fixed my garbage disposal last week.  Does that make me a catch?  JUST KIDDING.  🙂

      1. 7.1.1
        SMC

        Meant to include reality shows along w/my attitude towards social media.  Can’t stand ’em.

    2. 7.2
      Adrian

      Hello AAORK,

       

      I guess I kind of understand what you are saying about romance novels (though personally I would take a romance novel over a romantic comedy film any day.)

       

      But since I rarely if ever watch television and I don’t do any social media, could you explain how reality tv and social media are hurting marriages? I always thought reality shows got their high rating from drama, petty feuds, and over inflated self-importance, not married couples.

      1. 7.2.1
        KK

        Hey there Adrian,

        I know several couples who have split up because of Facebook. Easy access to ex boyfriends / girlfriends provides a strong temptation for couples who are going through a low period. Also, people join online games where they interact daily with strangers and can form an attachment (based in fantasy). To be clear, I don’t think social media is the problem. It’s the people who use it irresponsibly.

        I also have heard of women that have left their marriages after reading Eat, Pray, Love. Again, fantasy.

        1. Adrian

          Hi KK,

          I agree with you about facebook, there was a study that came out in I think 2012 or 2013 that said that infidelity was on the raise because of Facebook for the very reasons you gave.

           

          My question to AAORK should have been more specific. He stated,

          “(most dangerous of all) social media validation addiction… the social media validation/addition problem so common among women is at least equal (if not greater) in it’s detrimental impact to relationships as any porn addiction among men.

           

          I guess I don’t understand how social media validation can harm a marriage. I also don’t understand how social media addiction for women can be as bad as porn addiction for men.

           

        2. jeremy

          @Adrian, you wrote: “I guess I don’t understand how social media validation can harm a marriage. I also don’t understand how social media addiction for women can be as bad as porn addiction for men.

           

          Addiction is addiction – whether it is to cocaine, porn, or social media.  It takes up time and mental energy, leaving no mental energy for anything else.  A person addicted to social media has no time for her husband – spends the few hours they have together at night on Facebook instead of spending quality time with her spouse.

           

          But there is a more insidious aspect to social media addiction, similar to porn.  With porn, women often worry that men will develop unrealistic expectations of what body types they find attractive and what sexual acts they desire – and sometimes this does occur.  With social media addiction, people observe unrealistic images of happy people doing interesting things – and the danger is that they can begin to develop unrealistic expectations of what their OWN life should look like.  Compared to these expectations, their own life may look dull and drab to them, leading them to denigrate what they have (hence the increased divorce rate).  They don’t realize that the smiling pictures they see on social media are posed; the grass is greener on the other side because it is fertilized with bullshit (as the saying goes).

           

          In the “porn” discussion, some people wrote that female porn is romance novels….but it isn’t.  Female porn is social media.  And it is every bit as harmful to some women as porn is to some men….particularly those who cant’ distinguish fantasy from reality.

  8. 8
    MikeTO

    There’s a study women who wait until marriage are happier than women have sex within the first month or women who wait until 6 months of dating.
    If you truly want a quality relationship it’s probably a good idea to hold off the sex.

    Btw both feminists and MGTOW which claim this study is nonsense because they can’t wait to have sex. It usual having patience is the key.

    “A primary reason why sexual restraint benefits couples is that it facilitates intentional partner selection.”

    Slow But Sure: Does the Timing of Sex During Dating Matter?

    1. 8.1
      SQ

      Mike TO, you’re aware that correlation does not imply causation right? Meaning, we have no idea whether these women are happier becuase they wanted to have sex until marriage or for other reasons.

      1. 8.1.1
        SQ

        Excuse the typo:

        because they waited to have sex rather than wanted 😳

    2. 8.2
      Karl S

      Oh look, it’s that old debate trigger again. We’ve never argued about sex before marriage here before…

      1. 8.2.1
        Karl S

        It’s like Godwin’s Law, but for relationships 😛

  9. 9
    Adrian

    Hello MikeTO,

     

    What do you think would have happened if all these couples waited until marriage in the links I provided below?

     

    It is easier financially as well as emotionally to end a relationship with a boyfriend/girlfriend, than it is to get a divorce.

     

    How many people do you know that stay with the wrong partner longer than they should just because they take the vow of marriage seriously?

     

    By the way, there were so many that I just stopped searching, all from one site, if you do a google search, the number rises into the double digit millions.

     

    Having sex for the first time after you are married (like moving in together for the first time after you are married) is like playing Russian roulette.

     

    Experiencing something with a person is a better predictor of your future together than putting your blind faith into you and your partner’s good intentions.

    …   …   …

    My Boyfriend Doesn’t Want to Have Sex With Me!

     

    Is It Appropriate to Discuss Sexual Preferences Before We Have Sex?

     

    Does My Low Sex Drive Mean He is the Wrong Guy?

     

    Is His Low Sex Drive A Dealbreaker?

     

    How Can I Get My Boyfriend to Understand I Love Him But Don’t Always Want to Have Sex?

     

    Why Does My Boyfriend Only Want Sex a Few Times A Week?

    1. 9.1
      SQ

      Good counter points Adrian but I suspect the purpose of MikeTO’s comment was really to suggest that women who are virgins when they marry make better wives. This is a very common meme in the red pill universe. You notice he said women are happier when they wait for sex right — men’s sexual past apparently plays no role in marital happiness. Because they said so.

    2. 9.2
      KK

      I only (personally) know of two couples who waited to have sex until marriage. In both cases, only the woman was a virgin. Both are happily married; one for 20+ years, the other for 25+ years.

      Double standards aside, is it possible that a woman that keeps her virginity for her husband alone is more likely to stay married because she takes that vow more seriously in the first place? Is it possible the husband is more committed (even subconsciously, maybe) because he values her more? I don’t know the answer but I do suspect there’s some truth to what a lot of us were taught growing up about the value of waiting until marriage. In the two couples I mentioned, I suspect they’re not going to throw in the towel if they have incompatibilities in any area. I suspect they’ll exhaust all options in order to make each other happy.

      1. 9.2.1
        Adrian

        Hi KK,

        But what about SQ’s point in 8.1?

         

        We don’t know if the two couples you know have a great marriage because of who they are as individuals or because waiting until marriage before having sex causes marriages to last longer.

         

        I would venture a guess that you also know couples who were not virgins and they also have happy 20 plus years marriages.

         

        So is there some truth to what a lot of us were taught growing up about the value of waiting until marriage as you said? Personally I would say no.

         

        Interestingly enough, that notion is taught to both genders today, but their source for those teachings-the bible-only focuses on it being important for the woman, and she is the only person punished if she is not a virgin (though let me stop everyone now, I don’t want to make this a religious argument-It was just an observation).

        1. Karl S

          Well the study seems to suggest that those wait till marriage are more likely to find the right partner because they spend less time dating (or accidentally marrying) the wrong partners – where sex clouds your judgement and causes you to confuse sexual bonding for love.

          However, I’d be hesitant to accept information provided by the Institute for Family Studies, citing research by Professor Dean Busby, who works from Brighman Young University – a private research university owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

          Yeeeah. Agenda much?

        2. SQ

          Upvote Adrian 😄

        3. KK

          Honestly, I don’t know the answer. But to your & SQ’s point: “We don’t know if the two couples you know have a great marriage because of who they are as individuals or because waiting until marriage before having sex causes marriages to last longer”.

          I’d say both. My thoughts are that if you’re the type of person that can wait until your mid 20’s to have sex (after marriage, no less), you’re probably MORE likely to be able to succeed in marriage. Why? Delayed gratification, self control, self respect… All of those qualities are crucial in a marriage. That doesn’t mean that non virgins don’t share all or some of the same qualities.

          And really, Adrian, for me personally, it’s a non issue. I’m 42 and divorced with two kids, so that ship has sailed. Lol. I still think it’s an interesting discussion though.😀

  10. 10
    SMC

    Just want to thank each and every one of you who commented on my situation last week.  I had to leave to spend the weekend with my sweet, thoughtful though non-verbal man, so I wasn’t able to read the rest of the comments until just now.  I want to say thank you for all of the insight and for the kind, considerate way in which you ALL delivered it.  You each had very valid points, and you were all basically on the same page.  My comments tend to run long, so I’ll try to keep this one short(er).  This weekend was the turning point, the yay or nay, the do I or don’t I, and I’m comfortable that I will be doing the right thing in staying with this man.  My move to a rural area wasn’t going to be based on my relationship with him, I’m going to do it because I’m tired of living in the city; however, the location was dependent on our relationship, and I have told my realtor to go forward with looking for land in his area.  I believe that he has finally “heard” me, and I saw him trying to be a little more forthcoming with his emotions.  Not a lot, it wouldn’t suit him anyway, but just that little bit was enough.  (And it was sweet and charming to the nth degree.)  Yes, KE, his love language is definitely “Service” and he speaks it well.  Just seeing and hearing him open up a tiny bit told me everything I needed to know.  Thank you everyone.  This is why I love THIS blog over other dating blogs: in part, because Evan’s advice is sound and logical, even if I don’t always agree with every bit, but also because the commenters here offer so much while respecting the positions of others.  Thank you again – the doubt has been lifted and I can proceed with confidence.

  11. 11
    Thea Dunlap

    These questions made me think a lot and they are very helpful. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

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