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7. They Don’t Know What They Want

7. They Don’t Know What They Want

  • Few things are as predictive of long-term satisfaction in a relationship than having deeply compatible values.
  • If the person you’re dating can’t express a handful of things that really matter to them and why, that suggests they don’t really know what their values are.
  • And if the person your dating doesn’t know what their values are, how can you possibly tell whether they’re compatible with your own?

For example: When you’re in your 20s, maybe friendship really matters to you as a value. But when you’re in your 40s-with 3 kids and mortgage-maybe hanging out with your buddies isn’t quite as important as it once was compared to other values like family and financial stability.

So when I say be careful of dating someone who doesn’t know what they want, it doesn’t mean they have to be strictly adhering to this or that formal value system.

What you’re really looking for is someone who regularly thinks about their values, can articulate them reasonably well, and actively works toward them.

  • What are some principles in your life that you try to always adhere to?
  • What are you most passionate about?
  • Tell me about a value you used to hold but have changed your mind on.
  • What values have you inherited from your family?
  • How important are formal value systems to you (e.g. religious commandments)?
  • What values do you think it’s important that we share and see basically eye-to-eye on?
  • What are your political values? Ethical values? Career values? Creative values?

When you ask questions like this, what happens? Does your partner get uncomfortable and evasive? Are they willing to explore these, even if they are a little uncomfortable? Do they give genuine, heartfelt answers or do they respond in cliches and superficialities?

Everybody has values, no matter how ill-defined or vague. And eventually, those values will matter a lot in your relationship.

All You Need to Know

Few things lead to more chronic unhappiness and stress than being in an unhealthy long-term relationship. And the reason so many people find themselves there is that they get involved with emotionally immature people who simply aren’t capable of being in a healthy relationship.

If you find yourself dating seriously and considering a long-term romantic relationship or marriage, keep a close eye out for the following warning signs of emotional immaturity:

Of course, everybody does these things sometimes. But if you find yourself dating someone who does several of them consistently, with no willingness to acknowledge them or work on them, just be careful.


Great article and an important one for daters to read. I wish I read it before marrying. I felt a little flip in my belly and your article explains why. Getting divorced IS always a big deal in money, social group, family and emotions. college hookup apps Some folks do not realize this before they say I do.

Thank you, Jean. You know, the big impetus for writing this in the first place is how much pain I hear about from my clients who are stuck in unhappy marriages or going through divorces.

I really enjoyed the article. Too bad I couldn’t have read it four marriages ago. Though I too believe that I had some emotional immaturity myself. So it didn’t work being involved with emotionally immature guys.I Have now discovered that being on my own without a partner has made me the happiest and healthiest of all.

4 marriages… Wow… Long way to become happier and face emotional inmaturity and possibly work on it. We suffocate ourselfes with society standarts rather than working on whats really important before we start any relationship.

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