The beginnings of a new relationship are exciting, partially because everything is brand new. That honeymoon phase is a time to learn about your partner and put together the pieces of their personality puzzle, so to speak. Eventually, you start to think that the relationship could turn into something more serious. (Are those wedding bells you hear?) It's a thrilling realization, but also one that requires further reflection. The fact is there are some questions that a grown-ass woman should be able to answer about her partner if she thinks it has a chance of going somewhere more serious.
Whether you're trying to define the relationship, contemplating co-habitation, planning a wedding, or something else that shows your commitment, you need to know the answers to more than just the superficial questions if you think the relationship has the potential to last forever. (Though, to be fair, knowing what show your partner likes to watch after a bad day can come in handy.) You need to know the answer to some of the more difficult, and potentially awkward, questions that can arise when two lives merge.
Grown-ass women can't afford to tiptoe around important topics; they need to embrace them. The better you know your partner, the stronger your relationship will be. Here are just some of the questions you need to ask.
1. What's Their Current Financial Reality?
In an interview with Romper, dating and relationship coach Christine Baumgartner says knowing how your partner spends their money, and if they save any money, is crucial for a relationship to be serious. Financial health is important for longterm, serious relationships, so if you're saving and they're not, that might be something you'd like to know.
2. Will They Put Your Relationship First Even When Times Are Tough?
"It’s important in relationships to know that your partner prioritizes your best interests and the best interest of the relationship," Laura VanderDrift, the director of Syracuse University's Close Relationships Lab and an assistant professor of psychology, tells Romper. "If not, you may want to think twice about where the relationship is going." Feeling unsure about where your relationship falls in terms of priorities can make you feel insecure about the relationship in general — and could mean that it's not quite as serious as you thought.
3. How Do They Respond To Being In A Relationship?
"All women need to understand their unique attachment style and that of their partner," licensed marriage and family therapist Maryellen Mullin tells Romper by email. "Everyone has patterns in how they relate and respond to relationships. These patterns are determined by our attachment styles and act as a current for how the relationship flows. Does your partner seem overly smothering, unavailable at times, or does it feel balanced?"
Recognizing how your partner responds to all things in your relationship will help you determine if the relationship really is going to be as successful as you think it is.
4. Why Did Their Last Relationship End?
Although you may not be comfortable asking about previous relationships right away, you'll eventually need to know why their other relationships didn't last. In an email exchange with Romper, clinical psychologist Dr. Ben Michaelis says that insight into those relationships' failures can help strengthen your own.
5. Do Their Preferences On Kids Match Yours?
"Too many women assume a partner may or may not want children, without directly asking," Mullin says. "If it's a deal breaker, open a dialogue with your partner early on in the dating stage, so you know whether or not to continue." She adds that you cannot change someone else's mind when they are firm about where they stand on having a family," so this is something you need to determine before you're in too deep.
It's also important to know where you stand on this subject, too. If you and your partner can't have biological children of your own, do you want to adopt? Would you rather foster or adopt instead of attempting to have biological children? It's important that you see eye-to-eye and know where you both stand.
6. What's Their Five Year Plan? What About 10 Or 20?
In an email exchange with Romper, licensed marriage and family therapist Dr. Jim Seibold says that it's important to include those longer periods of time in addition to the more mundane five-year plan. "This is important to understand if you have compatible goals long term," he says. "Too often, we only focus on the short term and don't talk enough about whether or not we have similar long-term visions." Before you ask your partner questions about how they see their future playing out, however, you need to know what your plans look like. Otherwise, how will you know if your goals match?
7. Can You Be Your Authentic Self With Them?
It's important to be yourself in a relationship, but that's only part of it. "She should also be able to identify what qualities her partner brings out in her," licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Mimi Shagaga tells Romper by email.
8. Have They Worked Through Any Past Emotional Issues?
It's important for you to know whether they've worked through any past emotional issues completely, or if there are lingering things that they need to sort through, Seibold says. For example, if your partner was previously engaged and it ended badly, there might be lingering emotions connected to that experience that they haven't entirely worked through. It's best to know those things ahead of time if possible.
9. Does Religion Play An Important Role In Their Life?
Licensed marriage and family therapist Stacey Ojeda tells Romper that knowing how important religion is to a person, and how it fits into their life, can help you see how it may fit into your relationship.
10. What Are Their Core Values?
According to Ojeda, you'll learn this more through observation than a straightforward question-and-answer session, but asking about it can help you get a fuller picture of who they are as a person. If you're planning on spending your life alongside this person, you likely want to know how their core values align with yours.
11. Do You Feel Like Anything Is Missing From The Relationship?
As psychologist Dr. Christina Barber-Addis tells Romper by email, if you can't answer (or answer in the affirmative) if anything is missing from your relationship, that's probably not a good sign.
12. How Do They Handle Conflict?
"It is important to make sure you have some familiarity with this for two reasons," Seibold says. "First, to make sure that they do not exhibit abusive or inappropriate types of behaviors. Second, to see if their conflict resolution style is compatible with your own."
13. How Do They Communicate?
Communication is essential, but knowing how your partner prefers to communicate might be even more important . You need to know if they get straight to the point or add in a lot of superfluous details to really tell you the whole story, as couples therapist Janet Zinn tells Romper via email. You also need to know if they prefer to bring things up or if they'll only address issues if you bring them up in conversation first. If you think your relationship is actually going somewhere, you definitely need to know how to communicate with your partner. It'll make your successful relationship even more successful.