6 Questions to Ask Before Starting a New Relationship

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You haven’t been able to walk through any store the last month or so without being bombarded with it: The sensory overload of reds, pinks, and purples, obnoxiously gigantic stuffed animals, ridiculously large boxes of chocolate, and laughably overpriced cards. All meant to express and proclaim your undying love for the significant other in your life.

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is upon us.

For many, this time of year can heighten the desire to be in a relationship. The kind of annoying thing about dealing with emotions and feelings is that they can sometimes cloud our ability to see things rationally or clearly. Relationships are wonderful and part of what makes us distinctly human, but they also have the potential to be damaging, both emotionally and physically.

That being said, it’s important to take a step back from all the seasonal hype of this time of year and consider all your options before entering into a new relationship. Take a look at these six questions to think through about the new guy or gal in your life before you change that “relationship status” on Facebook.

1. What is his relationship history?

How many relationships has he been in in the past? Have they been long- or short-term? What has been his track record sexually? These can be uncomfortable topics to cover, but to not address these issues early on can lead to a lot of emotional (and even physical) damage later. If he is not willing to go into his past (“let’s just leave the past in the past”) then that should be a red flag. If he desires to move forward with you, then his transparency on these issues should be vital. If he is not willing to divulge information in order to protect your heart and body, then he probably does not have your best interests in mind.

2. What is his worldview?

This is a broad question and actually contains many others: What does he believe about morality? About life? What does he believe about God, and how does that belief affect his decisions day to day? How does his worldview affect his expectations of a relationship? Of marriage? These may seem like pretty heavy questions to tackle with someone you’re just getting to know. And, well…they are. But these are important enough that they should be addressed upfront so that you know whether or not you should move forward. If the two of you don’t agree on these most important issues, then the relationship will struggle at best and fall apart at worst, no matter how many other things you might have in common.

3. What do other people say about him?

Ask around. Find out what his friends have to say about his character, his work ethic, and his integrity. If you can’t find anyone who really knows much about him or can speak to his character, then that may be a red flag. Another red flag would be if people tell you a version of him that you’ve never seen before. If he treats you with respect when you’re together, but disrespects other women in his life, he may not be as “real” as you think.

4. What is his primary means of communication with you? 

In today’s culture, virtual relationships are more and more common, and people are finding it hard to communicate effectively and in a healthy way face-to-face. There is nothing inherently wrong with communicating via social media or text, but if that’s the only way he can bring himself to reach out to you, then you may want to tap the brakes a bit. Face time is crucial, and an easy (and safe) way to do that is through group hangouts or meeting in public places to get to know one another better. Also, don’t underestimate the tried and true phone call. If distance is an issue, set aside some time to talk on the phone rather than engaging in an 8-hour text session that may or may not have any substance to it.

5. How is he handling the whole adulting thing?

Is he taking responsibility for his life? Does he have a plan for his future? Can he handle his own finances? Does he spend 5 hours a day playing X-Box and still expect his mom to take care of his laundry for him? Does he spend a lot of time being idle or is he being productive with his time? This will look differently for everyone. Someone who is still in school will have different responsibilities than someone who is working a full-time job. But regardless of the situation, you want him to be taking initiative to be responsible with his life now and to have plans for the future.

6. Am I attracted to his character?

Physical attraction is definitely important, but it cannot and should not be the driving force of a relationship. When hair turns gray, wrinkles set in, and the belly starts to expand, you will still be left with his character. If you are drawn to him physically but find yourself trying to ignore or overlook some pretty crucial character flaws, that is a red flag. No one is perfect, but if you see habitual shortcomings popping up (continual laziness, tendency to stretch the truth, disregard for authority, etc.) then you may not want to continue moving forward.

Thinking Ahead

This list isn’t exhaustive but it’s a great place to start! If you cover your bases with these important issues, you may not enter into a relationship as soon as you might like. But in the long run, it will set you up for healthier relationships and protect you from unnecessary issues in the future.

We’d be glad to meet with you to talk more about having healthy relationships. We even have a free class starting this week at the Care Center on this topic. This class is a five week series called “The 5 Love Languages” and is a great resource for learning how to love others sacrificially. Give us a call if you’re interested or check out our class schedule below!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

class schedule

 

Mary Holloman is the Communications Assistant at GPCC and completely forgot about Valentine’s Day until she wrote this very article. She has a devilishly handsome husband and two kiddos: one almost 2-year-old and one due to arrive in May. When she’s not at the Care Center, Mary enjoys writing, making her son giggle uncontrollably, DIYing, and Diet Mountain Dew. You can follow her on her personal blog at www.AllMySpringsBlog.com.

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