A lot of my students know that one of my guilty pleasures is watching Dr. Phil. Most of my friends roll their eyes at me whenever I mention him, but there’s nothing like watching these people sort out their issues with that big guy. As he’s gotten older, he’s getting even more blunt and daring in his “TV” attitude, so I make sure that I always record all the episodes and watch them when I can.
In this one episode, he talks about how people might “love bomb” someone in order to win their unyielding affection and love. They act like the perfect person and do whatever it is that you want them to do. They are into the same things that you are into and they essentially get you so enamored in love, that you might fail to ask questions that are the most pertinent for your relationship.
You know I teach seduction; but this is a different kind of breed. Seduction is a matter of influence, while love bombing is a matter of master manipulation. However, I think we all do a little love bombing at first. We want people to like us, so we give them our “representative” in hopes that they like this person that we would ideally like to be and ideally that our love interest would love. In the Dr. Phil episode, this guy love bombs the woman, promising her the world, they marry, and then he turns into a total crazy person who completely changes. While I’m skeptical and think there was probably an inkling or two during the time that they were dating where she could have seen this behavior, there are some things that you can do to be proactive when you’re in the honeymoon phase and all you want to do is cuddle, kiss, and make love.
There are several issues/values that are core to relationship survival: finances, faithfulness, sex/intimacy, and children, which are all rooted in effective communication. These are the main causes of divorce, which need to be addressed upfront and honestly. It’s better to have the hard conversations at the beginning of your relationship so that you aren’t “wasting” your time before marriage, or in the middle of your marriage, or near or after your divorce. For those who are monogamous, you really need to think about if this is truly your perfect (enough) partner, so that you don’t have to go through that heartbreak if marriage is in your future.
In the first six months of your relationship (or things you should do before marriage), you need to do the following:
Figure out what kind of relationship you want while you’re fun dating (some of us date multiple people at the same time to wither down who we want as partners), what you expect when you’re seriously dating, and what you expect in a marriage (if you want to go that route). Faithfulness is one of the key elements that help with the longevity of relationships. Even if you have an open relationship, such as being a swinger, the element of faithfulness is a huge one, because it establishes a trust that can’t be broken by someone outside of the relationship.
Discuss what kind of sex life you want to have and how often you expect to have sex. Discuss all aspects of sex and intimacy, including how often you want to be touched, kissed, and other features such as PDA’s (public displays of affection) and other things. There have been many situations where I’ve had couples where one person got into a MARRIAGE with another person knowing that they weren’t affectionate. This is one of the main love languages and one of the main ways that we get seduced. If you’re partner isn’t intimately compatible, you need to move on and save yourself some grief. People adapt, but it’s rare that people actually change the core of who they are.
Children or nah? Be realistic about your needs for children. Do you want children? Does your lover want children? Do you or your lover already have children? Are you expected to a be an authoritative figure to your lover’s children or vice versa? Do you not want to date someone with children? If you don’t want to date someone with children, THEN DON’T. Don’t compromise yourself because of things such as your age, your limited dating pool, or societal pressure to get into a relationship.
Last, but not least, open up that bank account once you are seriously committed and cohabitating. Looking at each other’s finances is probably the most vulnerable thing that you can do, but at least you all can be naked (financially) together. Being transparent about your finances will help build trust in your relationship and it will help you get a better idea of how you can work together as a team to support one another and do the things you need to do in order to be in a successful relationship.
Remember, you really need to have these conversations in a way that you both feel understood; which means that you really need to be listening and repeating what your lover says in order to make sure that you both are coming to a full understanding of the situation. We are constantly going to have communication hiccups, but we can limit these hiccups by being thorough. You can even write things down, if you like!
When I attended Poly Dallas Millennium, Meg-John Baker mentioned that we all should write user manuals for ourselves. Everything comes with a user manual, so shouldn’t we design our own for ourselves to let other people know how to treat us?
Cheers to your sexual success!