Unilateral decision making is a huge mistake in relationships.
What does that mean? In dating, it means trying to draw conclusions about someone’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions minus feedback. Carry this habit forward into marriage and one day someone comes home from work to find the furniture moved and a divorce petition in the front hallway.
Relationships are a two-way street and that means constant feedback.
While you can create certain theories based on behavior and life history, it’s impossible to really know another person’s mindset without asking them. In healthy relationships, there’s an ongoing exchange of mindsets, an ongoing dialog that begins on the first date and continues for a lifetime. Nothing Is foolproof, but all the marriage research points to this: the best, happiest relationships are the ones between two communicators. That means both people are willing to speak openly and honestly and listen to one another without prejudice. You don’t have to agree about everything to be happy; you just need to be able to discuss it respectfully.
It all starts with the first date.
If you begin with open communication you’ll find out right away if you are sitting in front of someone with the capacity to engage that way with you. Someone who’s hungry for that kind of connection will jump right in. Someone who wants to “hide out” emotionally will be turned off. Good for you if you can discover this quickly! You could save yourself years of emotional pain and misery.
About the author: Nina Atwood, M.Ed., LPC, is a nationally known psychotherapist, author of five self-help books, and frequent expert media guest. Read Nina’s transformational books; for women: Temptations of the Single Girl: The Ten Dating Traps You Must Avoid, and for men: Date Like a CEO: Leadership in Life and Love for Men. To successfully date online, get Nina’s $0.99 cent eBook Internet Dating for the Savvy Single. Get loads of free advice at www.singlescoach.com.
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