Monday, April 8, 2013

What's Your Tell?

Over the years, I have had so many conversations with women about their relationships with (primarily) men.  In all of them; I find I keep coming back to an analogy for evaluating long term compatibility... Are you ready?  Relationships are like Poker.  In order to understand whether or not you're going to come out ahead; you have to be able to read your mate's tells.

Those early tells will generally give you a clear indication of what is to come in the long term.  They are a secret little window into tendencies of your "oh so cute" someone.  Those tendencies just may continue to be "oh so cute" but, beware... If you take those things and amplify them two, three, or a hundred fold; will they continue to be cute?  A drop of water may not bother you.  But if that drop of water continues to drip over and over again in the same spot for years... it can become torture.  

If those drops of water pool into an oasis of memories that make you smile again and again; you may very well have found the man (or woman) of your dreams.  If, on the other hand, these things begin to drive you mad - you may well be setting yourself up for one of those dark and confusing periods in your life where you find yourself asking how it went so wrong; how you were so mistaken about this one; how you could have been so blind, so trusting, so naive... Fill in the blank.  

The Tell:  My ex didn't have a bank account before he met me in college.
What it Should Tell You:  This person does not have an active approach to managing his money.
Ask Yourself:  Are you willing to be completely responsible for both of your finances as a couple and eventually as a family? 

The Tell:  My boyfriend goes out every night whether I feel like going or not.
What it Should Tell You:  This person is more interested in ensuring that he's having fun (or perhaps from distracting himself from his responsibilities) than spending time with you.
Ask Yourself:  Are you happy prioritizing his needs over anyone else's, including yours?  Will you continue to be okay with this after you're married and/or have children?

The Tell:  My girlfriend changes the subject whenever we hit a topic that we do not agree on.
What it Should Tell You:  This person does not like confrontation.
Ask Yourself:  How do or would you feel when this happens during a serious discussion about something that is really important to you, e.g. having children; wedding plans; financial planning?

We've all been there and we all have our own list and the list can go on and on. I'm not suggesting that you run at the first sign of trouble in the pit.  But relationships are a gamble.  If you're going to go all in; take a minute to ask yourself if you've really thought about what you know; been honest with yourself about the tells you've been shown; and considered the long term implications of how this hand may play out.  The reality is that any of these things could have been discussed and worked through prior to becoming a determining factor in a relationship's demise.  But if you're ignoring the tells; you're decision to call, fold or go all in will be random.  Why take these chances with your heart?  

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