One Small Thing

Ask yourself this before making a big relationship decision

Whether it’s moving in, getting married or just taking the relationship to the next level, how do you know you’re making the right decision? It turns out, asking yourself one simple question could help.

“There’s one question that, if people ask themselves, they will never get in a terrible relationship or stay in a terrible relationship,” Debra Macleod, a marriage expert and author of "Marriage SOS: 30 Lifelines to Rescue Your Relationship in One Month," told TODAY.

That one simple question? According to Macleod it’s: Am I making a fear-based decision?

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Whether that’s fear of being alone, running out of time to have children or losing the interest of a partner, fear-based decisions cause you to ignore red flags in a relationship, Macleod said. That fear may cause you to lie to yourself and convince yourself that the person will change. And in the long run, that can mean an unhappy relationship.

“Nothing influences your happiness level in life like the person you’re with intimately,” Macleod said. “Being with the right person in life will determine 90 percent of your happiness.”

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These 2 words are the secret to a happy marriage

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These 2 words are the secret to a happy marriage

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So how do you know if you’re making a fear-based decision? Check your gut, and try to gauge the intensity of your reservations. If you have cold feet for a few days, but it passes, that’s one thing — but if you have a constant, chronic, nagging feeling about the relationship, a feeling that you’re trying to suppress, you should pay attention, Macleod advised. It could be an indication that you’re trying to suppress your fear.

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Bela Gandhi, founder and president of Smart Dating Academy and a dating and relationship expert, told TODAY that those nagging feelings — often the result of red flags — are usually present from the very start of the relationship.

“Our guts are usually on. We know, but we usually choose to ignore things,” Gandhi explained.

You have to ask yourself if you trust that person implicitly, Gandhi said, and if that person is loyal and will have your back.

If not, ask yourself before that big relationship decision — are you trying to move forward out of fear? If so, take a step back, and reevaluate. Make a decision out of joy, not fear.

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