One common occurrence that can be experienced as you get to know someone or begin dating is that some current or former friend, family member, or coworker of your partner has some warning for you about them. “Um, I just thought that you might like to know that he/she is/was/did______ (in the past)”, or “you might want to think twice about that person because_____”. Perhaps you are warned that your partner is abusive, neglectful, poor with money, had a bad temper, whatever. The advice may be to not date them because of it, or at least to watch your back in some way. So, if you get such unsolicited advice and warning, what should you do with it? That depends…
Step 1: Assess Their Motivation.
This person who approached you with this information…what is their former and current relationship with your new partner? Did they date? Were they married? Friends? Coworkers? Family members? And why did they feel the need to search you out and warn you? Do they seem to have a grudge against your partner? Is that their motivation to get between you and your partner? If not, does it actually seem they are trying to be helpful and are concerned for your well-being? Basically, if you can tell this person “has an axe to grind” with your current partner, I would take what they have to say with a large grain of salt and look into it more apart and away from this person giving the warning. Otherwise if it seems they do simply have your best interests in mind, I suggest to take the information more seriously. Either way…
Step 2: Find Out the Truth.
In graduate school I received a recommendation on how to find the truth beyond the words from one person. The solution: get multiple, legitimate data points to compare. You can discretely ask the new dating partner about the concerns, as well as look into whatever other sources can also discretely confirm or refute what the accusation. Just make sure when collecting the information that you minimize spreading gossip or doing any backbiting yourself. Be subtle and tactful. If you don’t find any legitimate evidence to support the accusation, carry on in getting to know your new partner. On the other hand, if you do find legitimate evidence of the original concern, you may wish to end it. Either way…
Step 3: Decide.
Depending on the accusations involved, you are now more informed about what you are getting involved with. Now you have to decide—is this something you can reasonably tolerate or live with? If not, you may need to break up. Otherwise, if you decide the relationship is still worth it, you may choose to continue in the relationship anyway. If that is the case, you may wish to address the issue in couples counseling, with the bishop, or at least through some open heart-to-heart conversations with each other. Don’t ignore it or hope the issue will go away on its own.
Remember that ultimately, you are the one that needs to decide, not others. Everyone can choose who they do and don’t want to date or be in a relationship with. If you can still feel good towards and with your partner in spite of the problems, then by all means, continue. Just at least be an informed consumer in the relationship. Know what you are getting into. No one will be the perfect partner. But you need to feel good with who you are with. Also remember that all relationships are optional. You can ask yourself: does this person bring out the best in me, or the worst? Can I see myself with this person for the rest of my life, or eternity? This is the plan of agency and ultimately you will be the one to decide, apart from what anyone else may say or do.
A decent rule of thumb to help your decision making is to ask yourself: from what I know about this person, can I see myself happily with them in 1, 10 or 50 years? For eternity? If not, move on. If so, go forward together and make the best of things. Remember that most of a relationship comes in the pick of the person you are with. The rest of the relationship comes from the efforts you and your partner make from there.
After you learn about and decide whether or not to be with a particular partner, you own the decision. It is like the old saying goes: to thine own self be true. Be honest with yourself and choose accordingly. The information you learned about this person may have saved you from an immense mistake. Or, believing someone not trustworthy or believable may lead you to lose out on what otherwise could have been a tremendous relationship. So, pick wisely. And remember, “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11.
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
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|2019-09-02||Randy Gilchrist||Understanding men, Understanding women, Dating, Healthy relationships|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to email@example.com).