Getting engaged without dating

Wyn Wiley For many of us, being engaged means putting most if not all of our attention on wedding planning. As a San Francisco based psychotherapist, I specialize in supporting individuals and couples in manifesting the life they envision. Clients often wonder what the magic formula is for a successful relationship and more times then not my answer is communication and your relationship with yourself. Whether single or coupled, consider these important conversations to create a solid foundation with your significant other.

The Money Talk Many of us find it hard to discuss finances. It can bring up feelings of shame, embarrassment, and comparative judgment. When talking about finances with your significant other, it is important to be gentle and move slowly. I have worked with numerous couples in therapy that describe frequent arguing, violated expectations, and profound disappointment in one another and in the relationship, often in part because of financial issues.

I believe the most important thing that can be done for one another is to stay away from blame. Interested in joint accounts? Harboring your feelings will only lead to resentment. I encourage couples to set time aside each month to have a money meeting.

This may seem like overkill to some, but consider this; issues with money contribute to divorce more than any other topic—sex, children, and division of labor. Children We have all heard the obvious questions. Do you want children someday?

If so, how many? But what about all of the other stuff that comes along with having children? We all have our own narrative about what kind of life we want to provide for our future babies and sometimes it is hard to remember that there is another adult who has an equal say in how this whole parenting thing will play out.

Raising a child with another person is perhaps one of the most fun and challenging adventures a couple will have together. Here are some important factors to consider. How will you handle it if one of you is not able to conceive?

Are you open to adoption? What are the expectations about who will be the primary care giver for your children? Will they be raised under one religion?

What do you imagine your discipline style will be? Public or private school? Never forget that before baby, your partner was your one and only. How will the two of you maintain a loving connection? How to Fight Disagreements happen and are a normal process of being in relationship. It is how the arguments are handled that can determine the long-term success or failure of your relationship. Communicating effectively can feel impossible in the heat of the moment.

It is hard to stay logical and rational when emotion sweeps in making you feel defensive and indignant. Effective arguing takes practice and skill building to learn how to react non-defensively. I am not referring to physical violence which is always unacceptable but to emotional violence. The point of an argument is conflict resolution, so reconsider the next time you feel the desire to go after your partners Achilles heel.

So, what exactly is non-violent communication? Developed by American Psychologist and author, Marshall Rosenberg, it is a form of communicating that resolves conflicts and differences peacefully. This is no easy task, but absolutely doable with practice and intention. You decide to rock your new LBD and are looking extra sparkly for your love.

You enter…smile, and then wait to hear how great you look. It would make me feel really good if you made more of an effort to acknowledge when I get dressed up. Again, you can only know so much in advance, but it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of what you and your partner expect from one another. Consider the following questions. What are your feelings if you are the sole breadwinner in the relationship?

How will you support one another if one of you gets laid off, or wants to change careers? Or go back to graduate school? How do you feel right now about the time commitments given to your careers? How will this look if you decide to have children? How will the division of labor in the home be divided if both of your work? Or only one of you? Who is expected to do what? This question is a biggie, ladies. Sex and Intimacy Sex is omnipresent in our culture.

We are bombarded with messages from so many mediums that prompt us to think about, talk about, and seek out sex. Have you ever noticed it feels easier to talk about sex with your friends rather than your partner? We know how to have this conversation outside of our relationship but when it comes to exploring this topic with our lover we feel anxious, vulnerable, and unclear. I know it may feel scary. But feel the fear and talk about your sex life anyway!

As sexual communication skills improve, so will the quality of your relationship. I want to emphasize how beneficial it is to understand your own body and how to use it. Next, I encourage couples to establish safety with each other around this topic before diving in. This often starts with a conversation about fear.

Talking about what you are afraid of and why helps you and your partner cultivate trust and empathy. Chances are you are both afraid of the same thing…rejection. Here are some helpful tips to get party started.

Start this conversation outside of the bedroom and work your way in. Tell your partner what you need to feel safe and vice versa. Respect differences in sexual preferences. This will lead to feeling angry and ashamed and will likely shut your partner and this entire conversation down. Shame is the worst. Watch an erotic film together only if both of you feel comfortable enough to do so.

During and after practice, offer positive feedback super important! Keep talking about how to keep your sex life fresh and fun. When things feel stale, get creative! For one couple this may mean sex toys and role-playing while for another it may mean having an open marriage.

This is your life and you and your partner get to design it to keep you happy and fulfilled! If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and are interested in individual or couples therapy I invite you to contact me via email at:

While their off-camera life may not involve impromptu trips to Thailand or Chris Harrison's watchful eye, their romance is stronger than ever. Here are the things I think every single person should consider before they get married. The A.V. Club I Had Known Before Getting Married. never do or ask while dating—because now you.

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