Atlantans are inquisitive individuals. I don’t know if it’s our friendly, southern disposition that compels us to try and acquire someone’s life story upon initial meeting or what. But we’ll meet a complete stranger and by the end of the day, you’d swear we were BFF’s (or at least distant cousins) because we’ve accumulated so much information about one another. If we meet someone we’re interested in, multiply this by two! Yes, we ask a million and one questions, but do we ask the right ones?

When we first meet someone special and go out on a date, we do the whole “getting to know you” exercise, asking the questions that we’ve deemed as standard: How old are you? Where are you from? Do you have any brothers and sisters? Etc. Most times we don’t ask if you’re involved. After all, you’re on a date with us right? So there’s no way you could POSSIBLY be involved with someone.

However, when we do get those rare moments and decided to inquire about your relationship status and ask if you’re involved, we usually stop inquiring when the answer is no.

What a lot of people (including myself at one point) fail to realize is that this particular question is extremely broad and generic. Asking the wrong way can leave the person who was asked the question free to answer however they see fit without really answering the question.

D.I.M.E.S.: Divorced? Involved? Married? Engaged? Separated?

Having learned this the hard way, I’ve come up with an acronym that will remind individuals to ask the specific questions that need to be addressed initially and not eventually…

D.I.M.E.S.: Divorced? Involved? Married? Engaged? Separated? Most times we touch on two, possibly three of these, but rarely do we ask all of five of these questions. You might not want someone who’s only separated. You might not want someone who’s currently involved with other people. You shouldn’t want someone who’s married or engaged…but that’s for you to decide. By remembering D.I.M.E.S., it allows you to decide if a person’s current relationship status is acceptable to you.

Before D.I.M.E.S., I thought I did a pretty good job of asking the right questions. I may not have touched on all five of those things, but I asked enough.

Not too long ago, I made the fatal mistake of not asking any questions at all and just took the information that was offered to me. He told me initially that he was divorced. I took that information for what I thought was the truth and since things were going well, moved forward in the relationship. When things began to go south, I decided to touch on another category of D.I.M.E.S. Divorced suddenly turned into Separated. I’m not one for dating men who are only separated because for me, that’s still married. So I proceeded in telling him that, turning our relationship into a friendship.

Still left with an uneasy feeling, I did some more digging only to find no separation papers on my prospect and his “ex” and a Facebook page that included a married status as well as pictures of vacations just taken only months prior among other things…

Now there isn’t an acronym long enough to BEGIN to identify all the questions one needs to ask when screening prospects. But for me, D.I.M.E.S. is a start in helping something that has the potential of being complicated make a lot more cents…I mean sense.

Alone in Atlanta