Why Future-Gazing Goes from Toxic to Essential in Relationships

Why Future-Gazing Goes from Toxic to Essential in Relationships

Lacking a Shared Vision in Relationship is a Leading Cause of Relationships Ending

We’ve all been there at one point in our lives in early dating. You’ve met the person you really jive with and your mind gets swept away to all the amazing destinations this relationship can go. The brain starts stitching together hopes and fantasies about the possibility of the relationship. Before you know it, this new partner is letting you down left and right by not living up to those fantasies. You start holding them to performing based on fictitious expectations that they are unaware exist. Because of unhealthy future-gazing, the relationship was doomed before it even had a chance to take off. 

Can you recall a time when this was at play for you in dating? 

This is the toxic side of what’s called “Future-Gazing.” Future-Gazing is looking into the future dreaming and wishing up the possibilities. When this is done in collaboration without partner, it’s a super-power, but when it’s done in our own minds without collaboration, we are setting ourselves up for “The Let Down”.

So here’s the distinction: 

There’s a big difference between living in a fantasy of what would-be, could-be, should-be in a relationship and creating a shared vision for what you’re both committed to creating within the relationship. 

According to Huffington Post, “[n]ot having a shared vision of success” is one of the top 10 most common contributors to divorce and relationship endings. So, Future-Gazing is actually an essential ingredient to a long-term, sustainable and happy relationship. 

In our Relationship Check-In (TM) Method, we include a Future-Gazing category for exactly this reason — creating a shared vision for the future sets the relationship up for success and for the couple to manifest their goals for themselves and for their relationship together, over time. 

This recently came up in an interview I did with Sara Alfers on The Tea, Please podcast. Sara tells me how she and her husband both have a shared goal of having “financial freedom”. She also tells me that she’s now finding out that their visions of how to get there are wildly different. 

“…the conversations that we have and visions for how we get there [are] drastically very, very different because he sees buying rental properties as a way to get there. Logically I can see, ‘Yes. This is smart. I get the investment.’ But then emotionally and personally I’m so not interested. I don’t want to do that and I really don’t want to contribute a lot of my money to that because to me I want to grow the podcast and want to invest in the podcast. This is my passion. This is my dream. And this is my way to get to where we both want to be.” Take a listen to the full interview to hear my response to her.


Financial discussions, too, are among the top reasons for relationships ending. But partners engaging in future-gazing they can each get clear on the path towards their goals and start to have an open and on-going dialogue about how to get there that meets both of their skillsets, passions and desires.

So when it the appropriate time to start future-gazing!? 
When the relationship starts to hit that inevitable point — the “where’s this going” conversation will be on the horizon and this is the perfect first future-gazing session. Remember, it’s toxic when done solo and superpower when done in collaboration! If you’re already in a committed relationship and don’t have a Future-Gazing practice, it’s time to initiate this into your Relationship Check-In routine! 

And tell us: 

What questions would be in your Future-Gazing conversation!?


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