heart-logo_web.pngDear Dr. Monique,
What steps can I take to ensure my next relationship isn’t negatively influenced by my past failed loves?

Dear Avoiding the negatives,
Failed relationships can be excellent teachers to help you determine what you value as important within the context of a relationship and also what type of person that you think suites you best.  However, to learn these lessons some deep soul searching and self analysis may be required.

Try to critically analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your past relationships.  Use that to come up with a list of attributes that you want in a mate and components that you want to have in an ideal relationship.  Use this information to help you to discern which potential partners might be suitable for you. Try your best to avoid dwelling on the negatives and forgive yourself for any relationship mistakes you may have made.  After all, you are only human.

Dear Dr. Monique,
Is it common for one or both persons in a relationship to grow closer when they have a child?  Or did the closeness come because of the child and it won’t last?
Is it the child?

Dear Is it the child?,
The impact of a child on a relationship has many variables, including whether or not the couple is married, whether or not the child was desired and even the ethnicity of the couple,  to name only a few.

Furthermore, while research shows that the birth of a first child can decrease the likelihood that a couple will divorce, at least for the first few years of the child’s life,  it also shows that couples with small children may  be less satisfied with their marriage possibly due to the demands of parenthood.

So in answer to your questions, while certainly some couples grow closer when they have a child, it is by no means guaranteed and may not be common.   Whether or not the increased closeness in the relationship is due to the child, my advice would be to enjoy it and use the opportunity to further build the relationship.  Hopefully, the growth in the relationship will allow the relationship to last regardless of the influence of the child.

Dear Dr. Monique,
Is it necessary to have a rebuilding phase of being single whilst you seek to learn lessons from a failed love?

Single while learning

Dear Single while learning,
People learn things in different ways.  Some may prefer or require some single time to rebuild while others may have learnt their lessons during the relationship and, although it has failed, they may feel ready to embark on another relationship as soon as it comes along. Be introspective and evaluate yourself for who you really are and use that information to determine the best course of action for you.

Dr. Monique is an award-winning graduate of Harvard Medical School, who completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC. She has years of experience in counseling and discussing relationship issues. Ask her your questions at drmonique@sfltimes.com