8 Questions To Ask A Potential Partner Before Becoming Exclusive
If you frequent TikTok, you’re well aware of its many different sectors–whatever it is that you’re looking for can be found on the social media platform, from beauty tips and style advice to morning and evening routines. TikTok is also a great resource for relationship advice! It goes without saying that you should take what you find on TikTok with a grain of salt or double-check with your own provider depending on what advice you’re seeking out.
One professional handing out a wealth of relationship advice is Jeff Gunther, LPC who I stumbled across via TikTok. Late last month, he dropped a TikTok entitled "8 questions to ask your sweetie before you become exclusive" that featured 8 top-tier questions to ask potential for a deeper dive before making things official-official.
Similarly to the topics that couples should discuss early on in dating to establish what might be non-negotiables, the questions that Gunther proposes to precede exclusivity in your relationships are a great indicator of whether to move the relationship forward or take a step back. “None of these questions are deal-breakers unless you want them to be deal-breakers," Gunther tells xoNecole. "I believe all the answers can be talked about and processed successfully before you decide to commit to a new partner. However, if the majority of these answers are not to your liking you may end up either delaying becoming exclusive or ending things so that you can go find someone who’s a better match.”
Additionally, Gunther recommends revisiting these questions and the responses every six months as a relationship check-in as a means to stay on the same page. “People grow and change in relationships and it’s important [that] you’re still a good match as you move forward," he explains.
Okay, but what are the questions? I’m sure you’re wondering as I go on my tangent. Keep reading to learn more about the 8 questions to ask before becoming exclusive and why.
8 questions to ask your sweetie before you become exclusive.#mentalhealth #therapy #therapytok #relationshiptips #dating #datingadvice
1. What is your definition of 'cheating'?
As Gunther pointed out in his TikTok, the definition of cheating can differ from person to person and therefore from relationship to relationship. There are different types of cheating (i.e. emotional cheating, sexual cheating) and different levels of cheating (i.e. online affairs, sexual fantasies, financial infidelity). And because cheating has levels to it, one person might have a hard line of no intimate contact of any kind with a person outside of themselves.
Another person might be more flexible in their approach to things like flirting, watching porn, fantasizing, etc. In order to be aligned on what crossing a line and what respecting a line looks like, this question should definitely be discussed.
2. What kind of relationship do you want?
Relationships are not one size fits all and can be tailored to the ideal that both (or more) parties desire. In addition to the more traditional monogamous relationship, there are also nonmonogamous relationships like monogamish, solo-poly, a free relationship, and the more well-known polyamory. Also, just because people might decide to be in a monogamous relationship doesn't mean the 'structure' they are after in a relationship is the same across the board. Again, one size does not fit all.
There might be rules or boundaries that are necessary to put in place and respect if a relationship is to take place. For example, guidelines like sharing passwords or not sharing passwords might be discussed or if people share a living space, a boundary of what alone time in a relationship looks like might be established.
3. What type of kinky stuff are you into?
In regards to kinky stuff, Gunther briefly explains in his video, "You're not trying to yuck their yum, you're just trying to know what to expect." And that is the perfect way to approach this particular question. When it comes to discussing taboo topics, even in the safety of partnership, it can feel a little daunting, especially when there can be an element of sexual shame looming in the atmosphere. Approach this question with an open mind and allow people to express their fetishes, fantasies, and kinks freely. After that, it can be decided whether those kinks work for both parties or if they absolutely don't.
4. What’s your biggest worry about me?
Though the nature of the questions doesn’t seem harmful at all, it is possible for everyone’s perception to differ. This immediately made me wonder what it looks like to have this conversation with ease–doing so in a way that creates as safe and comfortable of a space as possible rather than tension and guardedness. In particular, Gunther suggests that we “enter into this question with curiosity and do your best to be compassionate. We all have red flags. Most of us don’t know what they are.”
It can feel like a loaded question to prompt an ask that prompts someone to convey a concern, worry, doubt, fear, or red flag and it is easy for the response to trigger a desire to go on the defense. Instead of going on the defense, welcome that feedback as the gift that it is. He adds that the opportunity is in fact a "chance to reassure them or give them more context about something they’re fearful about. This question allows you two to be honest about how you’re feeling instead of keeping it bottled up and hoping for the best!”
5. Are you okay with being my primary support person?
As humans, we all rely on others for support from time to time. Because we have emotional needs, it is natural to look to a partner for support, especially in relationships. In relationships, the people in them tend to lean on each other more than those outside of the relationship. For this question, it is important to understand how emotionally supportive and available your potential partner may be in relation to the relationship. If the answer to the question is no and therefore there is more of a need to rely on your community than the other person in the relationship, Gunther prompts his viewers to ask themselves, "Am I okay with that?" If you are, that's totally fine. And if you're not, that's fine too.
6. What are you giving the most energy to right now (school, work, family, friends, this relationship)?
When thinking about pushing a relationship forward into exclusivity, what the other person realistically has the capacity for is an important element to factor in. Understanding where you and the relationship potentially rank on someone's list of priorities and how that impacts the health of your relationship and your happiness should be discussed sooner rather than later. "If your sweetie is focusing more on work instead of the relationship and you’re let down with that answer it is 100% appropriate to ask them for a timeline of when they’ll be able to prioritize you over everything else. It’s also 100% appropriate for them to tell you that they don’t have an answer.”
Another example could be seeing one another frequently throughout the week is important to one person, but the other person doesn't have the bandwidth to accommodate or prioritize the relationship the way you would like to be prioritized -- that's something that needs to be discussed. Likewise, if there is room to accommodate different priorities and less in-person time together is something that could be respected (not just tolerated), that should be discussed too. Like the seasons, energy and priorities can shift, which is why doing relationship check-ins every six months or so is encouraged so that everyone stays on the same page.
7. Does anyone else think they’re in a relationship with you right now?
This question right here! In today's dating landscape, gray areas can be commonplace and the status of a relationship could very well be up in the air, or at the very least unclear to everyone involved. If the two of you are casual and have still been entertaining other people, or even if there are some persistent exes looming, this question is very valid and should be asked before moving into the official relationship category. That way it is clear to both parties if the two of you are single-single or if there is some communication that might need to take place to make boundaries clear to people outside of your relationship out of respect for the relationship you are creating with each other.
8. What do you think is most important that I should be aware of?
And for the last question, it's an open-ended one that allows both parties to take the stage and share anything they feel is important to share with the other person. Overall, you want to be present in the conversation, even when you aren’t necessarily fond of the feedback or response you’re receiving. By being present and responding with curiosity, you come closer to making a sound decision regarding the potential of the information. This is always the case – the more information, the better you’re able to make your decision.
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Motor City native, Atlanta living. Sagittarius. Writer. Sexpert. Into all things magical, mystical, and unknown. I'll try anything at least once but you knew that the moment I revealed that I was a Sag.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy