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Don't Go Into 2024 Without Discussing These 6 Things With Your Man
Love & Relationships

Don't Go Into 2024 Without Discussing These 6 Things With Your Man

Since we’re at the stage in 2023 where we can pretty much count down the hours until a brand-spanking new year is before us, I thought it was necessary to encourage those of you who are in relationships to do a bit of relational inventory. It’s not something that I haven’t mentioned in my content before. Hey, charge it to being a marriage life coach and writer but I think clear communication is super essential — and that means there are times when you need to flat-out ask certain questions, listen to the answers you receive, and then decide where to go from there.


And so, today, I’ve got six questions that you should ask your man over the next couple of days. Now, I’ll be honest: some of these might be hard to ask simply because the answers might be difficult to hear if they’re the kind that you didn’t expect. Still, I believe that it’s important to close out the year by opening up the floor to hear where your man’s head and heart are as you express your head and heart in return. Because, from both personal experience and observation of others, time is too precious to be out here assuming that what you want is what he wants as well.

If you want to know, you need to ask — and I think you can pretty much get the clarity that you need by asking — asking not berating or pressuring — the following six questions before the ball drops at midnight on January 1, 2024.

1. "Are we on the same page?"

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The reason I’ve written articles like “6 Signs You’re In A One-Sided Relationship” in times past is because I know what it’s like to be seeing someone and, while I think we’re doing one thing, they are thinking we’re on something completely different. I’ve thought that good sex was establishing a solid connection while the guy saw me as his favorite kind of recreational use. I’ve thought I was officially dating while guys thought they were in situationships with me (and no, those two things ARE NOT the same). I’ve thought that seeing someone for months was ultimately leading towards marriage while the guy was having a good time just…seeing me for months (LOL).

And while it’s easy to demonize those individuals while playing the victim role, the reality is when one assumes, it still can make an ass out of them — and yes, many times, because I wanted something to be a certain way, I assumed that they did too.

And that’s why it’s so important to make sure that you and whoever you’re…whatever-ing with (LOL) is on the same page as you are. I don’t care how long you’ve known him. I don’t care how much the two of you have in common. Don’t fall into the “surely, he must be on what I’m on; how could he not be?” trap because men and women are different. That’s not a flaw on the man’s part; that’s just the way it is.

I could go on and on about this particular question alone yet I think you get my overall point. Before going into 2024, see, not only if you’re on the same page but even in the same kind of book. I would hate for you to see your dynamic as a romance novel while he treats it more like a magazine that he casually thumbs through at the doctor’s office — you know, something to do…for the moment. You’d be amazed how much that happens. Sad yet true.

2. "Do we want the same things?"

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Okay, so say that you both are in agreement that you’re exclusively dating. Thing is, you’ve got marriage in your sights while he doesn’t want to get married. “Now Shellie, why would a man get into a one-on-one situation if marriage wasn’t the ultimate goal?” Yeah, this right here is one of the main reasons why I pitched this article in the first place. A man will date you, even exclusively and seriously, and be fine with that because he may like serious relationships while having no intentions of ever getting married at all (check out “Single-Minded: So, What If You Like Dating But DON’T Desire Marriage?”). I mean, who said that everyone thinks that companionship equates to sharing a home, sharing a name, and sharing a life until death parts them from their partner?

Or what about kids? What if someone has verbalized that they can see making you his wife someday (check out “We Asked 10 Men What Makes A Woman 'Wife Material'”)? Thing is, you are in your 30s and want kids ASAP yet he is on the fence about whether he wants children at all. Listen, I have worked with couples, both as a marriage life coach and a doula, long enough to know that this isn’t something that just “works itself out with time.” Why? Because time is not on a biological clock’s side. The way life — and science — have it, men have damn near forever to figure out what they want to do as far as parenting goes. Us? Yeah, not so much.

Bottom line here, whatever it is that is truly important to you, whatever is pretty much a non-negotiable as far as you are concerned, that is something else that needs to be brought up. Because no matter how much the two of you may love each other, that has little to do with if you want the same things — and in order for a relationship to run smoothly, the latter has to be a part of your relationship’s reality.

3. "Have your needs changed?"

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I have shared in articles before that, one of my favorite quotes as far as relationships are concerned is, “People change and forget to tell each other.” This is a big part of the reason why people end up getting divorced, all the while saying that they feel like strangers to one another. It’s because, NO ONE goes day by day, month by month, year by year, and doesn’t change as a person on some levels. And when you’re evolving with another individual who is doing the same, that’s double the shifting. It takes a lot of patience and grace to go through those transitions smoothly.

Anyway, it’s always a wise move to ask your partner if the same needs they had last year — or hell, even six months ago — are the ones that they have now. And I mean in every department too. What they may have liked sexually may have shifted (as is with you). The ways that they used to like you to express your love for them might be a bit different now (as is with you). The kind of relationship that they were looking for — getting older, their goals, and all kinds of other stuff may have altered that as well (as is with you).

You can’t meet someone’s needs if you don’t know what they are and it’s unrealistic to assume that those needs are always going to be the same — no matter how much you may want them to be (that’s a play on words by design). The best relationships are proactive about making sure that mutual needs are met. Discuss each other’s needs with your man sooner than later. Much sooner if you can.

4. "Is this what you thought it would be?"

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Even though I mostly work with married and engaged couples, I do come across my fair share of people who are just dating too. One couple, in particular, I remember the woman being absolutely heartbroken when her boyfriend of three years told her that he wanted to end the relationship because it wasn’t what he thought it was going to be like. He felt that she wanted to monopolize too much of his time. Not only that but she didn’t get along well with his family and they had two different faith beliefs. Although he went into the relationship thinking that so long as they strongly cared for each other, everything would work itself out — it wasn’t going smoothly and he wanted a relationship that required a lot less…finessing.

Listen, a motto that I have is “better to break up than divorce,” so it’s a good thing that he spoke up before paperwork, kids, and a lot of other stuff got involved. However, that story alone is impactful enough for this question to be mentioned because…you’d be amazed how many people won’t speak up about stuff like this unless they are point-blank asked. ASK.

5. "Are we making each other better? Or...worse?"

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There are so many words that just get “thrown around” without really appreciating the weight of them. One would be “toxic.” Something that is toxic is something that is basically harmful at a poisonous level. And so, when we use the term “toxic relationship,” one way to qualify if one is or not is if it’s making two people better or worse. Honestly, this can apply to familial dynamics, friendships, co-workers, fellow church members…yeah, it pretty much runs the gamut. Yet since we’re talking about romantic connections here, you definitely should discuss with your partner if the two of you are making each other better or worse as the direct result of intimately interacting with one another.

I actually have a male friend right now who is at this crossroads because he doesn’t feel like he or his fiancé are making each other better. It’s not so much that they are making each other “worse” so much as they are keeping each other stagnant — and that’s not good either. Why? Because if there is anyone who you should be able to say that, as a direct result of them being in your life, you are thriving and flourishing, it needs to be your partner. And if that isn’t the case, no matter how much you care for each other, something isn’t healthy about staying together because life is too short to be “treading water” when you should be moving forward.

  • If you’re not emotionally maturing, you’re not getting better.
  • If you’re not getting stronger in your sense of self-worth, you’re not getting better.
  • If you’re not reaching goals that you have for yourself, even if it’s simply because you’re distracted with trying to maintain the relationship all of the time, you’re not getting better.
  • If you feel like you’re sacrificing, to the point of losing, parts of yourself, you’re not getting better.
  • If you’re not getting better, you’re not getting better.

Better means “more.” Worse means “less.” If there is more "less" than more "more" when it comes to your relationship with your man…don’t overlook that. The time to talk is now. RIGHT NOW.

6. "How do you want to end next year?"

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Okay, so back to what I just said about the whole treading water thing, I definitely think that you and your partner should reflect over the past 12 months and chat about the strides that were made. Yes, as individuals yet more importantly (as it relates to this article), as a couple. If you can pinpoint clear new milestones that were reached — mazel tov! On the other hand, if nothing has really changed at all…you know what I’m about to say, right?

And no, I’m not saying that folks should expect what I just recently read about Fantasia (did you know that she only knew her husband for three weeks before getting married? Wow.). All I’m saying is that healthy relationships consist of two people who move with intention and when intentions are executed, progress is made.

So, as we close this one out — talk about how things were this time last year and if there are clear signs of growth. Then talk about 3-5 goals that both of you can feel good about setting for the new year so that you can keep improving as a couple. Because it would be sad to spend years with someone and, in the words of Nina from the classic movie Love Jones, all you can look at each other and say is, “All we have are all these years.” Geeze.

_____

An author by the name of Justin Wetch once said, "Love starts as a feeling, but to continue is a choice." And in order to choose to continue, in a mutually beneficial fashion, you both need to know that you want the same things and feel the same way. So, before entering into 2024, please make sure that the both of you do — for both of your sakes. That way, you can move with confidence and clarity…without any type of assumption.

And that’s always the best place, relationally, to be.

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Featured image by Riska/Getty Images

 

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