Vail Relationships: Is your partner the ‘right one’?
Vail, CO Colorado
Dear Neil: A few years ago I read a column you wrote in the newspaper on how to decide if you’re in a relationship with the “right one,” and what questions to ponder when choosing a potential partner. Would you consider reprinting that article?
– Hopeful in New Zealand
Dear New Zealand: I would be happy to reprint that article, but I have a slight problem regarding your request. Over the more than 17 years that I’ve been writing this column, I have printed perhaps a dozen articles relating to how to evaluate a partner or a relationship – and I have no idea which of those columns you’re referring to. So permit me to offer you a composite of several different articles on the topic you’re asking about. Some of these come from “The Relationship Rescue Workbook” by Philip McGraw. Answer the following questions as thoroughly as you can. If you don’t know the answers, get to know your partner better:
What memories, images or experiences about marriage and commitment – positive and negative – is your partner bringing into this relationship?
What attracts you about him or her?
How evenly matched are your interests, lifestyles and values?
Why has s/he chosen you? What do you think are the major factors that attract him/her to you?
How emotionally expressive is s/he? Verbally expressive? Insightful? Decisive? Logical? Gracious? Sensitive? Physically affectionate? Assertive? Diplomatic? Intelligent? Sensible? Self-disciplined? Artistic? Funny? Shrewd? Extroverted? Introverted? Good with children? Good in social situations? Imaginative? Fun?
Is there an area in life where s/he excels? What is it?
What are your partner’s top five priorities in life at this time? How high a priority are you?
About what is your partner most passionate?
Do you feel you have a voice in this relationship – that your concerns, wishes, preferences and requests are treated seriously?
Are there any changes you would like in the relationship? What are they?
Are there any changes your partner would like to see in the relationship?
What is your partner addicted to?
Would you consider him/her to be a loyal person? Faithful? Honest? Do you think s/he operates with high integrity?
How does your partner respond when the environment between the two of you is emotionally charged?
What does your partner do when angry? How often does s/he get angry? About what?
How does s/he respond when personally confronted? Does s/he get mean-spirited or defensive?
What are your partner’s insecurities?
What does s/he do when hurt?
Is s/he a whiner? A blamer? A poor sport?
Is s/he financially responsible? How does s/he feel about his/her financial position in life? Is there an expectation that you’re going to rescue him/her financially?
How good are your partner’s conflict resolution, compromising and negotiating skills? Is s/he able to discuss conflicts and differences when they arise in a healthy manner?
How do you feel about his/her appearance? How does your partner feel about his or her appearance?
What are your partner’s greatest fears? What does s/he do when afraid?
What are your partner’s major faults?
In which ways do the two of you have fun and play together?
Generally speaking, how happy or unhappy is your partner?
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.