I n part one I talked about the tricky issue of when you can’t or won’t ask questions of men that you’re dating or in a relationship with. Aside from us actually possessing most of the answers to our questions if we’re prepared to open our eyes and listen while working out where there is a disparity between actions and words, there is an avoidance of hearing information that may cause us to have to either ask more questions, recognise the reality of a situation, or opt out.
We don’t ask questions because we want to keep living the dream, we’re afraid of what we might hear, we’re afraid of quiet truths being confirmed, we fear conflict and change, plus we hear but don’t listen and have a habit of hinting and being indirect.
A relationship with too many questions, not enough answers, and a fear of asking questions and/or a fear of getting the answers, is a very unhealthy, illusionary relationship.
One of the first things I’m always asked when I speak with people who have questions but no answers or who don’t question things anyway is ‘But how do I ask questions?’ or ‘What questions should I be asking?’ which is worrying in itself.
The reason why we get involved and stay involved with assclowns and Mr Unavailables is because we don’t ask any or enough questions or when we do receive information that should impact on our decision to stay or alter our perception of them or the relationship, we don’t do anything with the information.
You’re likely taking up one of two roles although some people straddle the fence of both:
The Ostrich – Head.In.Sand. You may not ask any questions or be someone with Women Who Talk and Think Too Much, but you just won’t hear or see information and will blatantly ignore what has been said, decide you know better, or continue to stay invested.
The Investigator – Some of you have thinking and investigative powers to rival a CSI, detective, or FBI agent. Trouble is, you’re applying your resources to the wrong areas and you don’t process your evidence and draw a conclusion. You’re like a CSI who has questioned the suspect, gathered the evidence, and put it all together…and then decides to go back out there and ask more questions because you haven’t heard the answer you want to hear.
If you actually want to know who you’re with, what you’re involved in, and actually be in reality, it is time to learn how to ask questions, probe further, but also do something with the information.
If you fear losing someone because you want to ask a question, the relationship is doomed because you are associating loss with truth. You’ll perpetuate that fear of loss by doing things that keep out ‘threats’ to the relationship and illusion, and in this case it means ignoring, shutting out, redressing and sugar coating the truth.
Just because something isn’t stated doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist and that it’s not true. You can pretend he doesn’t have a wife or that he’s not a thief or abusive or a liar, or maybe even all of these things, but he’ll still go home and shag his wife, empty your handbag, abuse you, or tell more lies.
Moving forward, before you open your mouth and ask anything, take out a contract with yourself where you agree that you will hear and listen to what they say, apply what they’re saying to the context of yourself and the relationship, and do something with any negative or grey area information that you receive. Don’t deny, make up excuses, or decide that you know better because you’re just wasting your own time.
To ensure that you ask the right questions and also apply it to the context of your relationship, make sure you have had an honest conversation with yourself and are clear on what your boundaries are, and have an understanding of your primary values.
This means that if an answer is not congruent with the values and boundaries that you profess to have and the direction in which you intend to go, you’ll register that information as a red flag – you’ve either got to ask more questions, make a judgement call on the situation, and likely opt out.
So for instance, when I had my epiphany relationship, I decided that my boundaries included not being involved with attached guys, guys with a girlfriend lurking in the background, jealous, possessive, too sexually forward, etc.
I briefly dated a guy that revealed on the third date that he was living with his ex girlfriend due to some convoluted thing to do with their mortgage… Note that he only revealed this after some questioning drew it out of him. He also became a bit of hyperactive puppy letching all over me and I generally felt uncomfortable. He made it to a 4th date as he swore up and down that him and his ex were just friends but I ended things because the information I had received didn’t stack up with my boundaries and values.
One of the things that I advise in my ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl is that somewhere between meeting them and the third date (or third contact), you must know the answer to this basic question:
Do you have a girlfriend/wife/separated wife?
Now I’m going to be tough here and say that I don’t care how you ask but either way, ask. If you are unwilling or hesitant to confirm that someone is actually in a position to date and potentially forge a relationship with you, it is indicative of a tendency to deny key information so you can maintain your perception.
Why wouldn’t you ask if someone is screwing you (or trying to) behind someone else’s back unless you already know that potentially you will be OK with this situation? It’s not like you’re asking him to marry you, get serious, or even what his intentions are towards you!
Do you have a girlfriend/wife/separated wife? is a question that confirms if someone is in a position to date. Period.
If they answer yes to any of these questions, you must reassess your position and in most instances opt out. Tell him to beat it and come back when he’s offloaded his baggage and isn’t creeping around behind someone’s back. The sooner that you ask this question is the less invested you can become in someone who is not in a position to give you what you need and want.
When you ignore the necessity to question, you’ve already made the decision to love and trust blindly. You’re opening yourself up to excuses.
Do not assume that because someone is talking to you, hitting on you, sleeping with you, already saying he wants to make babies with you by the third phonecall/email/text/instant message that he must be single. He must be nothing – do not assume.
If you don’t ask questions and get definitive clarification, you are making key decisions about your relationship based on assumptions that may have no basis.
Now, in my next post I’m going to putting together some more questions, but I wanted to address something that will make it easier to ask the tricky questions.
Some (or many) of you will be afraid of asking how committed someone is, whether they’re looking for a relationship and yada yada yada because you won’t want to appear needy, too eager, stalkery etc, but here are five reasons why this fear is misplaced:
1) If you’re already feeling like you have deep feelings/love him/are trusting him with the ‘silver’, you need to ask questions before you get any deeper as you may be loving and trusting blindly.
2) If they have said they love you, want to be with you, want to have babies, move in, get engaged, get married, want to open a joint bank account, and have basically been making plans with you and basically saying that they want to be in a relationship with you but there is a disconnect between their actions and words, you have duty to yourself to ask the questions now.
3) If you don’t ask questions from the outset or when flags appear, you will get into the habit of not asking questions plus the longer it goes on for, the more unusual the other person will find it and react negatively as you’ll likely ask when sh*t is hitting the proverbial fan.
4) Until you do ask the questions that do need asking, you are basing your relationship on assumptions, which especially if actions and words are not matching and your spidey senses are all a quiver, means that your relationship is based on illusions that you’re not seeking to clarify.
5) Just like you don’t sign the deeds your to property without getting a survey, you don’t make the decision to love and stay until you have done due diligence on your relationship. You are both 100% responsible and accountable for the relationship and if you get into something without doing the ‘discovery’ to make sure you’re investing in an appropriate relationship based in reality, that is a responsibility you bear. You must get uncomfortable and ask.
On this basis, bearing in mind all of these five things, this means you can ask:
Are you interested in being in a committed relationship with me? or Are you interested in being in a committed relationship?
This is a question that most will hate to ask but you should and must, especially when there are question marks hanging over your relationship. If you won’t ask, you also need to question your own commitment issues…
For a start, again, no person who actually does want to be in a committed relationship will react or answer you in a negative manner. If they shut down, dodge answering the question and go round the houses confusing the crap out of you but not answering you, won’t look at you, and are basically not prepared to answer you properly, it is a red flag that you’re around someone who is commitment resistant. They’re not even committing to an answer!
Some people over-estimate their level of interest or believe that they want commitment and then avoid intimacy. Call it sabotage. They’ll come up with umpteen obstacles and eventually you become the obstacle, or maybe already are. It’s very unhealthy behaviour as the fear of commitment is far bigger than their desire to be with you, no matter what they say to the contrary.
Being commitment resistant also means being unable to commit to an outcome – they can’t commit to be with or without you which means that the only person who can end the relationship is…you because you will have to look at the conflicting actions and words and draw your own conclusion.
While you can go through the process of trying to drag a horse to water to make it drink, it’s a painful journey of seeking validation, coping with rejection, mixed messages, blowing hot and cold, and lot more. The sooner you know, the sooner you get out. Remember – you don’t have to say ‘Are you interested in being in a committed relationship with me?’ which you can also ask if you feel you have been together long enough and their actions are conflicting with stuff that has been previously said. If someone is dodging commitment, whether you ask in the general sense or about yourself, you will come up against odd behaviour.
Watch out for future fakers and passive aggressive manoeuvres such as talking the talk when you ask and then after the conversation behaving in a way that is not consistent with what they have said.
Back in part 3.
Your thoughts? Have you been avoiding asking questions?