Relationship Advice

SheKnows readers asked our love expert the tough questions about love, relationships, romance and more!

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Should you ask your partner about his/her previous sexual experiences? I've heard it can you down a dangerous road and I could potentially find out things that bother me, but I have to be honest – I really am curious about it and think about having that discussion a lot with my boyfriend.
Arielle C., Laredo

There's nothing wrong with talking about previous sexual experiences but i would be cautious. If he doesn't want to talk about it, respect his wishes. Also consider that he might then want to know all the details of your previous experiences and you might be opening a can of worms.

 

 

How much of a role do you think religion, finances, family dynamics and those types of things should play in a relationship? My boyfriend and I have been together for 6 months, and boy – opposites do attract! We couldn't have come from more opposite backgrounds, however, we seem to do fine together. I'm a little concerned about what that means for our future, though. Do you think that the bond we have together is enough, or will these differences from our past eventually catch up with us and caused conflict. What's your advice for this kind of situation?
Lara from the Bay area

 

Even though research shows that having similar backgrounds is a positive factor, there are many happy relationships where opposites get along very well. Live in the present, enjoy your relationship and don't worry about these things.

 

 

My relationship is great, but sometimes we fight about stupid petty things. We say things that I know hurt each other and then apologize, make up and then do it all over again. Even though these are little arguments, I think they are chipping away at our relationship. It's constant bickering. How can we avoid them so that these little petty fights don't add up to big time damage?
Paul

 

You're right to be concerned. Petty fights can add up to big time damage. It takes two to fight but it only takes one to avoid fighting. Whenever she says something that you know will lead to an argument, do something funny. For example, instead of contradicting her, do the chicken dance, or kiss her passionately, or simply change the subject to something that is pleasant to both of you. When you are tempted to start an argument, think before you speak. Ask yourself: Is what I'm about to say conducive to a happy relationship? If it's not, don't say it. If you slip and start an argument, punish yourself by doing a chore she usually does or by buying her a gift.

 

 

 

Is it possible to affair-proof a relationship? I've heard that the number one reason why men cheat is opportunity.
Cece M.

 

It is possible to affair proof a relationship. You have to be both his best friend and his lover. As a best friend, you're his confidante, he feels he can tell you anything. You are also his constant companion, enjoying what he likes to do and accompanying him as much as possible. As his lover, you find out how he wants to be loved. It's not enough to give love, you have to give it in the way he wants to receive it. Find out what love means to him. Is it telling him regularly that you love him? Is it helping him in his work? Is it in the way you look and how you take care of yourself? Each person is different and to affair proof your relationship you have to discover what he truly needs.

 

 

 

I am going on my first date in a very long time in a week. I am not good with face to face conversations and I've always been more of an observer. I'm scared that I won't have anything to talk about with this man and it's making me really anxious about this date even though I know I should be excited. My friends set this up and I trust their judgment, but I worry that my shyness with ruin it all. Should I plan conversation topics ahead of time, or will it be obvious that I'm forcing it?
ShyBug134, GA

 

By all means plan the conversation ahead of time. Ask him questions that show that you're interested in him, then listen carefully to his answers and respond in a way that shows that you understand him. Possible subjects are: his work, his family, what he likes to do on vacation, what are his favorite TV shows, who are his best friends, does he have favorite sports. When he asks you a question, be sincere and spontaneous. Don't forget that if you show that you are interested in what he has to say, he will think that you are a most interesting person.

 

 

 

In high school and in college I dated the boy next door, who ended up cheating on me with his ex the last 3 months of our year-and-a-half relationship in college. He gave me a ring (not for that finger, but just as a token of how he feels), swore to change and we tried to make it work but I couldn't do it. Six years went by where I got various e-mails from him (about once a year) first apologizing and saying how much he's learned from what we've been through to asking how I'm doing and hoping everything is well. We recently began talking again through text and phone calls and he flew into town to stay with me for one of the most romantic weekends I've ever had, which included some long-term verbiage on his part. Everything seems to be moving rather quickly and I have yet to bring up the past and how it may affect any "future" with him. My question is… can people change? Is it worth giving him another shot and seeing what happens or am I wasting my time? -Alyssa from Phoenix

 

People do change. Six years have gone by and he is probably quite different and much more mature than what he was in college. It's best to have a fresh start and not even talk about the past. Enjoy him for who he is now and live in the present!

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Comments on "Q&A with the SheKnows Love Expert"

Stacy (Single Stacy) January 30, 2009 | 8:56 AM

Thanks for the good advice. I'm going to check out the Parents Without Partners that you recommended. Wish me luck!

Sandra January 30, 2009 | 8:55 AM

This is really great advice - thanks for doing this! A lot of these peoples' questions can apply to everyone. Great work!

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