If you’re looking for a relationship that’s going to last, you need to communicate your needs. But how? We asked relationship and dating expert Dr. Wendy Walsh how to ask for (and get) what you want from your partner.
Have a plan
“The most important thing you need to prioritize is your long term relationship plan,” says Wendy Walsh, Ph.D., resident expert at DatingAdvice.com and author of The 30-Day Love Detox (due out on April 23, 2013). Ask yourself if you want a traditional marriage or if you’re happy to take the risk of cohabitating (which leads to a lower marriage rate and higher divorce rate). Your head may be in the clouds when cupid’s arrow strikes, but don’t let your heart cloud your priorities.
Have “the talk” before getting intimate
Dr. Walsh says it’s a smart idea to talk about your long term relationship life plan before having sex. “Once the dopamine rush hits the brain upon the onset of the sexual relationship, you become diluted with sex hormones and can’t make clear decisions.”
Don’t be afraid
Afraid your direct approach might scare him off? “This is the problem with young women today — they are afraid to ask for relationship definitions. In a high supply sexual economy where sex is easy and love is hard to find, it may appear that men may have the upper hand. In other words,” explains Walsh, “they can have sex with plenty of women without having to make a commitment.” The fact is, research shows the more sexual partners a man has, the more he perceives diminished attractiveness in each new mate. “The woman who’s different, the one who knows who she is and knows what she wants and is not afraid to ask for relationship definitions before she exposes her blood stream and eggs, is the one who will make an impression on him. Don’t be afraid to be different. Don’t be afraid to politely let him know what your relationship requirements are.”
Be honest and open
If your approach is indirect and you don’t clearly communicate your relationship expectations, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment. “Too many women have adopted a male model of sexuality simply because men have out pressured them,” says Walsh. “The sad fact is the more sexual partners a woman has had, the more likely she is to be on an anti-depressant. Being clear about your needs and expressing them in a helpful way is good for your health.”
Find the right man
What if you could wave a magic wand to banish all the frogs to reveal your true love? In a way, an honest approach does that. By communicating what you need from a relationship, you’re saving yourself a lot of time dating guys who aren’t on board with your long term plan. “Some men may run away,” says Walsh, “but the right man will stay.”
Communication is key. “Date men who fit in with your relationship life plan,” says Dr. Wendy Walsh, “and if you don’t know what his plan is — ask.”