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Dating in the modern world is a lot more intricate than what it used to be. Back in the day (way back in the day), men courted women, and when the man felt ready, he would ask her parent’s permission for her hand in marriage, in which he would then propose. Sure, we women love the idea of a chivalrous man kneeling before us to offer themselves as our forever lovers, protectors, and partners in life. But we too, would like a say in what happens in our future…more than just a “yes” to the big question.

Many of us watched our families fall apart as our parents divorced. Some went on to create loving relationships with extended family and stepparents, while others, to this day, remain in anguish over the loss of what once was. In both scenarios, the idea of marriage no longer represents a guarantee of forever happiness and commitment to one partner. Yet, we continue to pursue the sanctity of marriage.

Fast forward to today… “Girls, we run the world!” (Sing it, Beyoncé!). Supporting us through our own ambition, independence and courage. We’ve risen in the work force and proven that we can perform just as well, if not better than men. When it comes to love and our future with our forever partner, we have made no exception.

According a 2018 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age for first-time marriages is 30 years for men and 28 years for women, the highest it has ever been. Meanwhile, the rate of divorce continues to increase for women ages 50 and older.

Bottom line— women are beginning to be more vocal about what they want in a relationship and are no longer willing to settle for anything less. Our time is precious, and so if we’re going to devote our time to a man, we want to guarantee that it is time well spent.

So if you find yourself in a relationship with a special someone, and want to make sure they’re an ideal candidate for your forever man, what do you do?

You talk about marriage. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “this will terrify the crap out of this guy and he’ll go running for the hills.” And you may be right, but isn’t that an answer in itself that he wasn’t the guy for you? **mic drop**

There is a time and a place for a conversation like this, and it is different for every couple. But if you’re at the pivotal point of wanting something more… it’s time. Believe it or not, timing is not the most important piece of the puzzle. How you choose to approach the conversation is the moneymaker. If you’re like me and many of my amazing clients, you spend most of your time in decision-making boss-mode as a go-getter and possible perfectionist (I say this with love). And as such, we tend to point out what’s going wrong before the things that are going right.

Let’s be real, the Spanish Inquisition we put on men is the real reason they run for the hills. That means our goal is to make this conversation equally open and empowering for both parties. You want a relationship with a man that cherishes you and respects you for who you are? Then we must do the same for them.

Below are some guidelines to create such a conversation:

1. Approach the conversation with curiosity and non-judgment. This is research!

2. Include open-ended questions.

3. Point out the things you like about what he says.

4. Acknowledge and validate anything he says you may potentially disagree with.

All of these points will allow you to see if you both are a fit for each other’s futures. If you find the conversation no going in the direction you wanted, you have three options:All of these points will allow you to see if you both are a fit for each other’s futures.

If you find the conversation no going in the direction you wanted, you have three options:

a. Pretend it didn’t happen and fall into ancient patterns of playing it safe and staying in a relationship that isn’t working for you.

b. Actively work on the relationship. (If you need extra help, you can grab that here)

c. Leave the relationship and regroup to find your true forever man.

Obviously, we’re not choosing A, because you’re amazing woman that deserve so much better and respects herself tremendously. Your other two options require deep work on your part with the understanding your true desires as an adored, empowered woman. Many women think they know what they want in a man yet find themselves attracting a**holes or find potentially great men but are disappointed when this conversation doesn’t go as planned. If you want to ensure that you’re meeting your forever man, you can grab my Adios A**holes Assessment here. You’ll have all the answers you’re looking for, in under an hour!

If you choose to take the road on your own for now, awesome! You’ve got the tools, now get out there and cultivate the love life you were always meant to have. You’ve got this!