When a relationship is getting more serious, the word "commitment" tends to get thrown around a lot, by friends, family members, coworkers, and maybe even your therapist or another professional. Everyone wants to know if this relationship is one that's going to last. You'd probably like to know the status of your relationship as well. Commitments are serious things — and can be big steps in a romantic relationship — but they can also be a little bit risky. What if you're committed and your partner isn't? Luckily, there are some questions to ask your partner that'll reveal if they're committed to your relationship, so if you're ready to take the leap, you don't have to do so without any sort of idea as to where they stand.
Open and honest communication is important in any relationship, but can be especially important when you're trying to figure out if the one you're currently in has a future or not. If it's going to end in heartache either way because they believe (or don't believe) these particular things, you might prefer asking the questions and hearing the honest answers before letting yourself become completely invested in the relationship. Still, before you ask big questions about your relationship and your future, you should be prepared for the answers to potentially be things that you didn't want to hear. Ultimately, however, knowing if your partner is committed to your relationship or not can help you determine if the relationship is right for you, as well.
1. What Are Some Top Priorities For You Personally In The Next Couple Of Years?
Asking about priorities can give you an idea about where their focus will be over the coming years. "This is a good question to ask when you are not in a discussion about your relationship in particular," Karol Ward, LCSW, a licensed psychologist, author, and confidence expert, tells Romper via email. "As you listen to the answer, pay attention to whether being in a committed relationship is mentioned. You want to make sure the person you are with shares some of your core values and this question will help."
If their areas of focus aren't congruent with yours — or a committed relationship isn't mentioned — they might not be as committed to the relationship as you are.
2. Do You Believe In Long-Term Relationships, Or That You Should Stay With Somebody Because They’re Right For You For That Season?
Because you're asking something that's more hypothetical, even though it's also directly-related to your relationship, they might not feel like it's such a scary question, Dr. Claudia Luiz, Psya D, a psychoanalyst, tells Romper in an email exchange. "It will tell you what your partner's general beliefs are about commitment. It will reveal what guides decision-making — whether the person will be more likely to work through conflicts or move on to the next person," Luiz says. If they don't believe in long-term relationships, they're probably not ultimately going to feel that committed to yours.
3. Who Do You Think Is More Invested In This Relationship?
Knowing who they think is more invested in the relationship can give you some important insight into how they view the relationship. If they say they're more invested — or that you're equally invested — you might want to reflect a little bit on if their actions match their words. "People show their investment through interest in their partner’s life outside of the relationship," Elisabeth Mandel Goldberg, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, relationship expert, and dating coach, tells Romper by email. "If they don’t know much, they are not curious enough and therefore not very invested in getting to know the person they are with. Superficial relationships are often short-lived or will end in infidelity."
4. How Should We Navigate (Insert Difficult Relationship Dynamic Or Upcoming Taxing Event)?
If your relationship is going to last long-term, there will be some times when things aren't going as well or when one or the other is dealing with something difficult. "With this question, it’s not so much the specific answer that matters so much as the willingness of your partner to engage in a conversation that puts you both on the same team figuring out how to tackle something together," Erin K. Tierno, LCSW-R, a licensed clinical social worker, tells Romper in an email exchange. "A partner who is one foot out the door will be much less inclined to engage in a brainstorming session about how to deal with having different timelines for relationship milestones, for example, or how to navigate a prickly evening with Great-Uncle Ted."
You want to feel secure in your relationship, knowing that you're both committed and that you'll work through whatever it is side by side.
5. What Do You Think Is Important In A Long-Term Relationship?
Knowing what they find important in a long-term relationship is super important. "A committed partner will likely answer this question using examples from the relationship, where a less committed partner will answer with generalities or just say 'I have no idea,'" Billie Bemis, LMFT, LAC, CFI, SAP, EMDR II, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Romper in an email exchange. If your partner says they haven't thought about what's important in a long-term relationship, they might not think that your relationship will last.
6. Want To Come To Family Dinner?
"Someone who isn't at least somewhat serious probably doesn't want to get to know your family," Erin Parisi, LMHC, CAP, a licensed mental health counselor, tells Romper by email. "It's a hassle, it can be embarrassing, and there are almost always 'when are you giving me grandbabies?' or 'what are your intentions with my daughter?' type questions. Do they ask you to meet their family?" If they don't want to meet your family because you asked super soon and they're just not ready, that might be one thing, but if you've been together for a while and they still don't want to meet your family, that could mean that they don't see a future.
7. Where Do You See This Relationship Going?
Though this question probably isn't very surprising, like with some of the others, what your partner doesn't say in response could be just as telling — if not more so — as what they do say. "[A]n ideal response will be open and inviting to further conversation," Raffi Bilek, LCSW-C, a clinical social worker and therapist, tells Romper via email. "If your partner gets nervous, defensive, or angry; if they send nonverbal signals that they don't want to talk about it; if they change the subject or make fun of you for asking — those are all indicators that you may have more invested here than they do."
8. How Long Do You Think People Should Be Together Before They Make A Commitment To Each Other?
"They may tell you that people know right away, they may tell you people should stay together for five years before they commit," says Luiz. "If they say a couple of months, it means they believe you can work through problems. Five years though, means they will be ambivalent about commitment for a long time. No response could indicate that they may not want commitment at all." Though those numbers might not be hard and fast rules in your specific relationship, the answer to this question, in addition to the other answers they give you, can give you a better idea of how they see commitment and if they're invested in the relationship with you.
9. Who Are My Closest Friends?
This question might sound like you're testing them and, OK, you kind of are, but it can be really revealing. As Mandel Goldberg says, if they're committed, they'll take an interest in your life beyond your relationship. Your friends, family members, and passions in life all impact the person that you are. If your partner can't tell you who your closest friends are, they might not actually know you as well as you think they do.
10. How Do People Know When They’ve Found “The One?"
Like a few of the other questions on this list, this one isn't as direct, which means that there's really not as much pressure for your partner to feel as though they need to answer a certain way. "This is the perfect opportunity for the committed partner to showcase your fabulous qualities," Bemis says. "The less-invested partner will make a more general statement that there’s not just one right partner for everyone."
Knowing the answers to questions like these can really help you know where you stand in your relationship. But you need to be thoughtful about when you ask these kinds of questions, too. "If you’ve only been with your partner for a couple of months, your partner may appear not to be as committed as you like," Bemis says. "That doesn’t mean that such a partner can’t get to a committed place necessarily, but maybe that it’s too early in the relationship to consider a long term future. However, if you’ve been in a relationship with your partner for over a year and they appear to be uncomfortable with these types of questions, it may just be time to move on."
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