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The Risk of Committing Too Soon: Questioning Impulsive Commitments

Here's how to know who is really on the other end of your relationship prospect.

Most people want to be in love and hope that love will continue. And, most people also know that successful long-term relationships take time, energy, availability, and openness to new perspectives. But many people are facing the problem of too many unpredictable prospects.

When people grew up in the same town, they knew who the likely prospects would be early on in their lives. Now, with so many single people far from their roots and in social networks they’ve had to create, many feel as if they are searching for smaller needles in larger haystacks. There are over 8,000 dating sites. There are thousands of options in too little time. There are bad apples, misleading profiles, and no way to truly know who is on the other end of the search or what the competition is.

Most relationships don’t evolve into long-term love. The skills of successfully navigating love often conflict with life’s demands, some of which are not present or obvious at the beginning of a relationship.

Yet, the yearning for true long-lasting love does not go away. Do people just date and drop until the right person somehow shows up? Do they stay in a relationship too long, even if they know intuitively that it isn’t going anywhere?

Or, if someone seems like a potential match, do they immediately go “all in,” and risk sadness and loss if it doesn’t turn out to be what they thought it would?

Many are doing just that. They are impulsively committing to seemingly plausible relationships if they look at all hopeful, long before they have gathered enough knowledge to protect themselves from potential loss.

The answers to the following twelve questions about your potential match can help you navigate an all-in, impulsive choice so that you can better predict the outcome.

1. Do They Have Footsteps?

Legitimate prospects are known by others. They have histories. They show up on social media. The stories they tell you about themselves can be backed up by other’s accounts. If they never introduce you to friends, family, or work connections, you need to wonder who they really are. If you are concerned, you should be able to tell that person why.

2. Do They Offer Reasonable Assimilation Into Their Lives?

If you’ve dated someone for a while and still know very little about them, you may be dating someone who belongs to someone else. Do you know where they live? Do you know what they do for a living? Are you included in their plans when they’re not with you? Can you easily reach them if it is important?

3. Will They Authentically Answer Your Deeper Questions?

Your eagerness to genuinely know someone new will show in the way you ask questions. “I’d love to know more about where you come from, your people, the things in your life that have had the most impact on you.” Go ahead and ask. Those inquiries are much harder for “false” people to answer.

4. Do They Share Personal Vulnerabilities?

A person who tells you about mistakes they’ve made in the past and how they’ve changed those behaviors, situations with family, friends, or past relationships is giving you a lot to think about in terms of their future availability. Anyone who isn’t able or willing to share past heartaches or errors is more likely to be hiding something.

5. Are They Trying To “Sell” You?

Beware the charming, charismatic salesperson, who only tells you their assets and never admits failure or blame. If things turn sideways between you, you will not be exempt from being their latest problem.

6. Are They Open To Sharing Past Experiences That Might Have A Negative Impact?

You are doing everything you can to help that person feel comfortable enough to share past failures and what they want to do differently in the future. Yet, your inquiries are met with withdrawal or shutting down. If he or she is reluctant to share what they’ve learned from their past experiences or has no desire to change in a new one, be careful. That behavior is not likely to change.

7. Are They Open to Being Challenged?

When you gently challenge opposing or hard-to-believe stories or questionable behavior, does that person accept your challenge and want to get better, or do they become defensive? If someone is always late, for example, or tells you stories that do not add up, can you talk to them in the moment about your concerns?

8. How Do They Treat Other People or Animals?

People often say that how people treat others who are vulnerable or in a lesser position can tell you a lot about how they would treat you if you were in a difficult situation. Irritation with a waiter, disgust if an animal comes too close, a negative reaction when a child cries, or distress if things do not go exactly as planned are all warning signals.

9. How Do They Talk About Past Partners?

The way your prospective partner tells you about past relationship partners will tell you a lot about who they blame when things go wrong. Though there may be occasional situations where an ex is truly the problem, it is more likely that both contributed to the relationship not working out. If they tell you that their ex’s behavior is always the problem, be wary.

10. Do They Follow Through?

Agreements and keeping promises are some of the core elements of trust. Beware the expert excuse-maker who agrees just to keep the peace, but always has a reason for not following through. You can only excuse and forgive for so long until you realize that person is not honest with you, or with themselves.

11. Are They Abusing Drugs or Alcohol?

People who are singularly focused on ways to replace a relationship interaction with a means of escape can only form triangles in relationships. When the relationship isn’t going well, or not providing what they want, they will choose to disconnect, using their particular addictive behavior as a priority.

12. Do They Have A Successful Social Network?

People you can trust have a readily observable and available social network that they talk about routinely and want you to eventually become part of. Early on in any relationship you should know how they feel and relate to others who are important to them.

Choose Dr. Randi Gunther a Clinical Psychologist & Marriage Counselor who truly understands the complexities of human connection.

Reach out to Dr. Randi today and take the first step toward a brighter, more fulfilling future together.

Dr. Gunther is available by Zoom or Facetime


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