So, you want to develop a committed, long term, intimate relationship with a special someone. Even though he or she might be quite the hottie, have a great sense of humor, and a love for others, you shouldn’t rush into things. Here are a couple activities that might help you decide if this is the person for you.
One activity to get to know your potential partner better, look in his or her sock drawer. This might help you to better understand your love’s neatness, tidiness, and/or general orientation to detail. Ask him or her to open that drawer. What do you see? Are socks folded in pairs or organized with plastic sock sorters. Perhaps, what meets your gaze is less organized. For example, it may appear that your dearest took a handful of socks from the laundry basket and tossed it into the drawer? Maybe, you see socks that should have been thrown away months, even years, ago. Again, whatever the condition of the sock drawer, a conversation might help you analyze what you saw. After that conversation, you could invite them for a peek into your sock drawer. Another activity that might help you decide on the level of commitment you want to make: The money talk.
Yes, I realize the sock drawer test has its limitations, but it might be enlightening and entertaining. Another activity to help you decide just how right Mr. or Miss Right truly is: have a conversation about each others values and attitudes toward spending and saving money (Bralich, 2017; Fletcher, 2008).
Meetings about money should be held regularly, if not frequently–don’t wait for a problem to have a conversation. It is best for couples to have their first discussion about money and finances while they are dating. During an initial meeting about money, each person should talk about his or her values and attitudes toward spending and saving. Of course, your significant other’s values and attitudes will differ from yours. Your job is to decide to what degree those differences might affect a long term relationship. (If your instinct is a bit hesitant, then you need to trust it–maybe have additional meetings. If you ignore your instinct, or believe that you can change the other person, you might be setting yourself up for a disaster). If you decide that those differences are not too extreme, and that the other person has traits of a competent problem solver, it might be a good idea to develop money management strategies, so those differences don’t become points of contention, later.
What follows are some rules that a couple might use to help guide a conversation about money and finances (Fletcher, 2008):
▷ The person who earns the most money doesn’t govern the finances. Couples need to make team decisions about money.
▷ Both parties actively engage in the conversation. Listen carefully to the other person. If you think you do not understand something, then you must ask questions until you do understand.
▷ Each person must articulate his or her wants, needs, and/or personal feelings about finances. The other person’s job is to withhold judgment and criticism.
▷ Negotiate to settle differences. Make verbal or written agreements about money and financial management. The goal is to help prevent misunderstandings.
It is best to discover as much as you can about another person prior to making a long term commitment to him or her. Whatever activities you choose, communication is key! Good communication can help people get to know each other, and to decide if they want to pursue a long term relationship with each other.