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10 Questions To Ask Before Marriage

10 Questions To Ask Before Marriage

Getting married is a huge decision. Aside from the common wedding planning blunders, you’ll need to think about the more important aspects of your future together. You’ll want to arm yourself with all the knowledge you can find prior to making the choice, so here are a few things to ask before the big day.

1. If we both became jobless, what financial resources would we have?

This question is great, because it shines some light on your partner’s financial attitudes. Jumping into the question on a worse-case-scenario basis immediately emphasizes the importance of financial competency.

Although it’s scary to imagine a world without any income, it’s good to know what sort of plan might be plausible, given your current financial attitudes.

2. If I became a full-time professional, could you manage being a full-time parent?

If this is already your situation, reverse the roles. It’s good to know what your partner’s current views are on the possibility of a role reversal. This can give you insights into your partner’s attitudes about child rearing and professional goals.

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There is no right answer to this question, but its important for both parties to know where the other stands.

3. When was the last time you visited a hospital? Why were you there?

Checking in with the last hospital visit can start a conversation about medical history. It can also provide some insight on the frequency and necessity of visits to the doctor. Rather than ask for all the relevant medical facts, reflecting on recent visits allows for a more natural conversation to occur.

4. When you reach your current goals, can you see yourself developing new dreams?

Being in love with someone who is passionate is great. Setting goals, pursuing dreams and creating new dreams are incredibly important in a successful life. Although nobody can anticipate the details of such a situation, it is important to check in and see if the spark of alternative dreams is still around.

5. What is the craziest sex experience you can imagine yourself participating in?

This question presses the boundaries of your partner’s sexual imagination. It is useful to explore this territory in order to explore how comfortable the two of you are in discussing this very private topic.

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If you can’t discuss sexual needs and desires with your lifelong partner, you are likely to struggle in the long run. Prior to marriage, its good to see how open the two of you are.

6. If you could only have one spiritual need met, what would it be?

It’s valuable to know what your partner’s spiritual needs are. Spirituality need not be satisfied in a church, either. Things as ordinary as playing video games can have spiritual meaning to people.

It’s not always easy to recognize what is more important to one’s spiritual side, so starting a conversation about it is critical prior to marriage.

7. Which of my friends deserves the most respect and why?

Friends are an important part of our lives. This question focuses on our partner’s attitude about our friends and whether any of those relationships can have a foundation of respect. Although we may not always get along with our partner’s friends, it is important to maintain a level of respect.

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If your partner can’t list all of your friends, don’t let it disturb you too much. You are just checking in to see if the friends that your partner can recall are reasonably accepted by him or her.

8. Which of our parents do you think may cause relationship struggles for us in the future?

Parents have a special power over us. It can be complicated if one of the parents doesn’t like your partner. It can be managed, but it is important to be able to discuss it openly with each other.

There is nothing wrong with considering what challenges may lay ahead of you if your families do ultimately combine and clash. If possible, you may use this question to develop potential solutions to those future challenges as well.

9. What is the one thing you have to have in order to feel comfortable in daily life?

This question is designed to help your partner evaluate what things are most critical to their happiness. There are some things each one of us has to have in order to feel okay.

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These are key items which a partner has to learn to respect and work with. If your partner really needs to spend an hour a day reading and that just infuriates you, then you need to clarify that this is something needed by your loved one. It’s important to identify those items in order to facilitate communication.

10. How easy is it for you to move?

Some people see moving as a horrible challenge. Others can see the spark of opportunity within the unknown. Although you may not have any moves in your foreseeable future, it’s good to check in and find out if moving, in the future, is a real possibility or not.

If it’s totally off the table, you will need to check in and see if this is compatible with your own ambitions. As with all of these questions, this is an important one in planning your future with your future spouse and going deeper than choosing a church and party hall.

Featured photo credit: NGD Photoworks via pixabay.com

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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