Vail Relationships: How to deepen the connection in a new relationship
VAIL, Colorado –Most people find the meeting, dating, getting-to-know-you stage of a relationship awkward and uncomfortable. Even though there is the potential for romance, sex, love and “happily ever after” – or maybe because there is that potential – people ranging in age from teens to senior citizens find themselves nervously tripping over their words while trying to get closer.
If you’re in that situation, worry no more. If done with a co-participant who is willing to be open and honest, the following questions/topics are designed to help you deepen the connection and closeness between the two of you.
Ask each other the following questions. Be as thorough as possible with each question because short and superficial responses will not help you learn about each other, and then the relationship will be less likely to grow deeper and more intimate. Expect multiple answers to every question.
Do you fall in love readily and quickly, or do you tend to hold back?
Do you see yourself as easy to get to know, or hard to get to know?
Do you see yourself as defensive? Are you uncomfortable with negative feedback, constructive criticism or requests for a change of behavior? If so, how am I going to have a voice around you and speak up when I’m unhappy?
How would you like us to handle it when we have a major disagreement? What behaviors are unacceptable in a fight?
Are you happy in your work? Thinking about a career change? When do you see yourself as retiring, and what do you envision you’ll be doing in retirement?
What dreams or goals would you like to accomplish or experience before you die?
In one sentence, describe yourself. Describe me.
Are you quick to anger? Do you have a short fuse? How is it best to respond to you when you’re upset, irritable or angry? What should I not do? How do I disarm you when you’re angry?
Do you avoid conflicts? What issues do you have a hard time dealing with? How would you like me to approach you if I feel you’re ignoring or avoiding something?
How have you contributed to the difficulties in your previous relationships? What was your role in assisting those relationships to fail? (Talk about your contribution to the relationship souring, not your ex-partner’s role.)
What helps you stay connected? What lessens the connection for you? When the connection is lower, what will you do to help us repair wounded feelings so we can reconnect?
How trusting of people are you? What generates mistrust? What behaviors would you consider to be a violation of your trust? Do you ever get jealous or mistrusting without good cause? What would you like me to do if that happens?
Can you describe what an extremely romantic evening for you would consist of? What would make this an extremely romantic relationship?
What money habits do you have that reasonably could be called unhealthy? How should we deal with money disputes or with different financial priorities?
How important is it to you that we have frequent sex? What does good sex consist of? How important is fidelity to you – yours and mine?
What issues have dominated your previous relationships? The fight for control? Power struggles? Mistrust? Infidelity? Dishonesty? Lack of common interests? Withdrawal? Lack of time spent together? Poor communication? Withdrawal of sex? Children or child rearing? Money disputes? Betrayals? What have your biggest relationship headaches been about? What relationships issues are you most fearful of encountering again?
Is there anything about me that you find annoying, irritating, difficult or challenging – or that you’re not sure you can handle? Be truthful.
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Westminster and Boulder specializing in how people strengthen their intimate relationships. He can be reached at 303-758-8777, or email him from his website, http://www.heartrelationships.com.