Thursday, October 7, 2010

Relying on Chemistry – Part 2

In part one of this article I looked at a recent study by the University of Iowa that found that relationships that start with a spark and not much else aren't necessarily doomed from the get-go. However, in the study, UI sociologist Anthony Paik found that average relationship quality was higher for individuals who waited until things were serious to have sex compared to those who became sexually involved in "hookups," "friends with benefits," or casual dating relationships. (

It just takes a bit of common sense to figure out that rushing into things sexually before knowing a few of the basics about someone probably won't end favorably unless you're lucky. And because basing a relationship on luck isn't a great idea either, here are a few ways to bring up some initial computability issues before making a physical or sexual commitment to someone:

Talk about money. Yes, it's a touchy subject and I'm not suggesting you delineate how much each person makes, but finding out where financial priorities lie can be important. Ssk questions about how money has been used in their family: worries, abandonment, shame, blame around money. Questions like this will eliminate any problems or irreconcilable differences, and is a way to see who is flexible and who is not, in reference to money and power, and struggles over money. I talk about the importance of this discussion and further techniques in my book, Financial Infidelity.

Embrace conflict. Another important tip in the compatibility of a relationship is to make sure you fight fair. Even new, exciting, young relationships have their share of conflict as you get to know eachother, and while you may not face intense, knock-down, drag-out fights early on, it is essential to walk in your partner’s shoes rather than trying to be right. Instead of shame and blame you should give three solutions, and your partner has to pick at least one. Fighting fairly creates the tension that gives you passion and makes you feel safe.

Make the first move! I suggest women should make the first move in connecting for a first date and getting past that possible lull of uncertainty. If you like him, tell him! (But, PS, texting and emailing during the day can actually deflate the spark of in-person romance!)

There's a happy medium between putting off physical intimacy forever (unless that's something you've mutually decided on) and jumping in right away. These techniques can help you get to know each other better in the interim and ensure that you're ready for the next step, when you get to that point.

- Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil

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