Asking The Hard Questions
By Frank Kermit
When trying to decide if you should be committed to someone, moving in with someone, getting engaged, and getting married, each new transition brings about the unpleasant task of asking the hard questions.
Romance is a wonderful thing; the passion, the anticipation, the fantasy, the hope, the sex, the titillating drama of starting something new can all encompass you like a drug, and takes you on an emotional journey of escapism. There is nothing quite like the roller coaster of dismal low points, and peak climaxes.
However, once that is out of the way, the real relationship begins, and so too the asking of the hard questions. This is especially true if you are getting married. Getting married is more than just planning a wedding day. You are choosing a person to build a future with which likely includes major financial investments (home/vehicle), sharing resources, supporting any particular lifestyle, and possibly children. Sounds unromantic? You bet it is. Asking the hard questions is about making sure that you know what you are getting yourself into and that if there is any reason you would not marry someone for, that you ask the hard question directly.
Each of us has our particular limits as to what we can be open minded about. Each of us draws that line differently. In my practice I have met individuals and couples that draw the line in a variety of places of what they would and would not accept. What one person simply deems completely unacceptable is nothing more than a minor footnote in the criteria of another person.
The key is to find a life partner that loves the good that you bring to the relationship, and can accept the bad that comes with the baggage as well. Once you have that, you have a good opportunity to build the kind of relationship foundation necessary to manage the storms of life that ransack long term relationship success. That is why it is important to ask the hard questions before going through with any promoting of your relationship to the next level.
Here are some examples of hard questions to ask someone that you are about to marry:
Have you ever been legally charged with something?
Have you ever been convicted, and or do you have a record?
What is your credit rating and what is your financial history?
What is your sexual history?
Have you had sex with anyone that is going to be invited to the wedding?
Did you have sex with someone that would make me not marry you (like a family member of mine)?
Is your family in support of your change in relationship status with me?
What is your history regarding metal health?
Have you ever contemplated or attempted suicide?
Have you ever done anything in your past that might come to haunt us (or our children)?
What dark secrets of your past could one of your ex-lovers and ex friends share about you?
Did you ever have a child that was given up for adoption that could try to locate you someday?
Is there anyone that may want to seek revenge on you and your family that I need to know about?
For some people, the "wrong" answers to any of those questions are enough to call off the wedding. For others, there is no wrong answer to any of those questions, and it is just a matter of knowing the full story. Just keep in mind that whatever questions you choose to ask your fiancé, is likely also going to be a questions your fiancé will ask you. It swings both ways.
I often get asked what if a person lies to you when you ask these questions. The truth is, just asking the hard questions will not guarantee that you will get the truth.
A liar is a liar is a liar. However, TIME always works against a perpetual liar as the repeating behavior pattern makes it near impossible to keep a web of lies intact, as more lies are spun to re-enforce the previous lies. The sign you are with a perpetual liar is that they lie about too many things, and start getting caught on little things, that eventually affect their credibility on the big things. I have found this comes up in my practice when one of the couple happens to be an addict, and the other partner finds out because of the number of inconsistencies that arise when the addicted partner tries to cover up the drug use.
If you are too afraid to ask certain questions, or feel the need to refuse to answer certain questions, a last resort that you may be able to use is the "Ultimate List Exercise".
This exercise involves each person in the couple to write out a list of Ultimate Personal Deal-breakers.
Also known as the "I would not marry you if..." list, a partner lists every conceivable realistic reason that he or she would not marry their partner. Then the partners switch lists. If you read something on your partner's list that applies to you, you have the opportunity to call off the wedding and break the engagement, without having to reveal which deal breaker you violated. In this manner, you both have the chance to do the right thing, while at the same time, maintain whatever privacy is necessary.
Now, if for whatever reason, you find yourself unable, or unwilling to ask the hard questions or make the lists because you are afraid of losing the relationship, that is a sign you may be in the wrong relationship to begin with. If you are afraid of the answers you might get from the partner you are asking, or you are afraid of the answer you would have to give your partner when he or she asks you the same question, that is a sign that it is not time to get more serious with that person.
FRANK KERMIT MA
EXPERT RELATIONSHIP COACH
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