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Robert J Maurer Ph.D.

Dating Made Simple

The best key to predicting the potential for success.

Brodie Vissers/stocksnap
Source: Brodie Vissers/stocksnap

So you are meeting someone new at Starbucks. You are very busy and very tired of the dating scene, not sure what to look for, having made a few poor choices. I have good news. After being a marriage counselor for over thirty years, I have found only one essential predictor of future relationship health. It is not the criteria people usually look for: shared interests, the same religion, similar incomes. Here it is: You ask them the typical cliche question: “So, how come someone as wonderful as you is still single?”

Your date will hopefully hear this question as a compliment but their answer is usually revealing. Everyone makes mistakes in dating and that is not the issue. As they relate the stories of their last relationship(s) are they taking any responsibility for choosing poorly or not having the right skills at that point in their lives? Are they taking any responsibility for the last relationship not working? If the theme of the story is they are the victim, my advice is simple: Run! All relationships run into stumbling blocks. When you hit the inevitable rough patches, will they look for ways to help or wait for you to take the blame, the whole blame, and nothing but the blame? The renowned marriage researchers, John and Julie Gottman, found that while conflicts are inevitable, the key skill for a successful relationship is being able to "repair". Repairing is making an attempt to resolve the issue or to lower the heat between the couple. It is hard to make an effort to repair if every problem is the other person’s fault. So look for someone who is willing to look inside for the source of the problem and for solutions, nothing is more vital for a relationship to thrive.


About the Author

Robert Maurer, Ph.D., a professor at UCLA, is the Director of Behavioral Sciences for the Family Practice Residency Program at UCLA. 


Robert Maurer