Parental Status: Does he or she have kids? How many? How old are they? Under what circumstances were they born? What is the status of your prospective romantic partner’s relationship with the other parent(s)? What is the status of other parent(s) in relation to their children? Which kids live with whom and when? Is court-ordered visitation and child support in effect?
Living Situation: Where does he or she sleep? Who else do they live with, and under what terms? Who owns his or her living space? The time to find out that he still lives with his parents, her “roommate” is her ex (and their kids), or that “home” is a halfway house for recently released convicts, is before you share access to your body, money, heart or home.
Do not take their word for it. Trust only what you learn for yourself, by observation, or through reliable, unbiased sources. Until you know the answers to the above about a person, you do not know who they are. Do not become sexually intimate. Do not give or lend money, or take on joint financial obligations. Do not invite them to your home, nor accept invitations to theirs (or to any place where you are alone with them). If you want someone to love you for who you are, stop offering sex, money and possessions. Offer them who you are, seek to learn only that from others.
How long should you wait? Forget artificial timetables such as the “90-day rule.” Just remember this: The right person is worth the wait; the wrong person is never worth the risk. Take as long as necessary to learn the absolute truth about a person, in order to make healthy, self-loving decisions about his or her place in your life—or until you get tired of waiting. If you don’t have absolute clarity by then, a relationship is not worth the risk. Bypass anyone who resents or resists your efforts to learn what you need to know to protect yourself. There is a world of interesting people worth getting to know. At least one of them will be qualified for loving in the Grown Zone.
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