Over at the Huffington Post — “Did You Know, Deep Down, That You’d Get Divorced One Day?” — couples and family therapist Emily Gordon weighs in on the idea of gut feelings when it comes to relationships. Too often, many of us try to rationalize away those bad vibes in the pit of our stomach. “Maybe he’s not all wrong for me; maybe I’m just being neurotic. Why does it matter if my friends and family don’t like him? He’s my boyfriend. He’s just going through a really tough time at work right now and once things are less busy, everything will be better. Besides, I know lots of couples who sit in silence over dinner. No relationship is perfect.”
But keep up with this kind of thinking, says Gordon, and you can end up in a white dress at the end of an aisle with some very serious doubts to silence. So when it comes to long-term relationships and getting married, you have to make sure you haven’t just been swept up in momentum or discouraged from considering what you really need because you’re fearful of change.
So how do you know if you’re really on the right relationship track with your man? Gordon offers a checklist:
1. Take away distractions: Set aside 15 minutes a day to sit quietly with your thoughts. What’s nagging you?
2. Put your emotions on paper. How do you really feel about being with your partner? Divide your emotions into positive and negative and check out your list.
3. Why are you getting married? If you’re about to commit your life to someone, why him? Why now? Are you doing it because this is what society or your family or your boyfriend expects of you or because this is what you really want?
4. How is your relationship? Right. Now. Don’t try to think about how it could be after you magically fix all of the things you want to fix. Imagine it will be exactly as it is forever. Do you still want to be with this dude?
Says Gordon: “Of the divorcees I know, the number one question we all wish someone had asked us as we went headlong into marriage was, “If you could walk away with absolutely no consequences, would you do it?” Think about it honestly… Sometimes we put so much effort into things we’re doing, like dating or wedding planning, that we don’t stop to think about whether or not we even want the results of that effort… There is nothing you can’t walk away from, but if you think leaving a fiancée is hard, try leaving a spouse.”
I can’t think of a single one of my failed relationships that would have stood a chance with this test. The end was just a matter of time — and was delayed mostly by wishful thinking.
So what do you think: Do you trust your gut when it comes to relationships? Would your relationship pass this test?
You can also test your compatibility with this test.