If you've been in a relationship for a little while, you've probably gotten past all of the questions about where you're from, who's in your family, what you do for a living, your favorite things to do when you're not working, your favorite movies, music, and TV shows, where you went to school, and the like. Those kinds of questions are what help you to initially form a bond between you and your partner. If you want to take things to another level, however, there are some unexpected questions that'll deepen your bond with your partner and help you get to know them beyond all of the surface level facts. Even couples who have been together for a long time might not know the answer to absolutely every single question you could ask your partner, but part of the fun of relationships is that you're continually learning about the other person. You know them so well, but there are new little pieces of them lurking behind every question you ask or every story they tell.
"The key to answering these questions in a way that can lead to deepening the relationship is to encourage each other to answer without being careful to hurt the other’s feelings or embarrassing them," Dr. John Mayer, clinical psychologist, author and consultant at Doctor On Demand, tells Romper by email. "If the couple answers these questions superficially then they will not have the impact of deepening the relationship."
It all comes back to honesty and communication. You trust and love each other, so don't be afraid to answer honestly. Your relationship will be stronger as a result.
1. "Do You Have An Endgame Goal?"
You need to know what your partner's goals are. Does he want to start his own company? Does she want kids (or more kids)? Are they thinking about goals for the relationship at all? Matchmaker and relationship expert Bonnie Winston says that you need to know what those relationship goals are. It's important for many reasons, but one of those reasons is that knowing that the two of you have shared goals for your relationship is one way to strengthen the bond between the two of you. Not knowing where the other person stands is never comforting.
2. "If You Were Me, Would You Marry You?"
This question, "If you were me, would you marry you?" isn't meant to be (or sound) accusatory. Licensed marriage and family therapist and licensed professional clinical counselor Lisa Bahar tells Romper by email that asking this question is a good way of sorting out how you see yourselves, which can help solve any issues you might be having. It turns the tables on more typical problem-solving, which can often result in blaming one person or the other for causing the issue in the first place. Look at yourself from the other person's point of view. It can be illuminating.
3. "What's Your Timeline?"
Winston says that you also should ask your partner what their timeline is for reaching their goals. Knowing that the two of you are also on the same page when it comes to how you're going to reach those goals that you share can help strengthen your relationship and reinforce that the two of you are on the same team. No competing here.
4. "Are You Sexually Satisfied?"
It might be a little bit scary to ask, but this question can have a big impact. "Many couples, especially those from conservative religious or cultural backgrounds, are uncomfortable discussing their sex lives. In addition, expressing sexual unhappiness is a difficult topic because it can lead to hurt feelings and insecurity," Jonathan Bennett, a certified counselor and life and relationship coach, tells Romper via email. "However, honestly asking about each other’s sexual satisfaction is the only way to correct the problem. That way, both partners can work on making the sexual relationship more fulfilling and meeting each other’s deepest needs."
5. "What Would You Do In My Position?"
Bahar recommends this question to those in a secure and serious relationship who aren't married or perhaps don't wish to ever be married. Like the question "If you were me, would you marry you," this question serves to creatively address an issue by shooting it back to your partner.
6. "Where Do You Want To Raise Kids?"
According to Winston, knowing where you want to raise kids (will you want to move?), what sort of school you want to send them to, how you want to raise them, and more can help the two of you make sure that you feel the same way. These questions can also be revealing as they may tell you more about parts of your partner's earlier life that you don't know much about. Some adults, for instance, want to raise kids very similarly to how they were raised. Others want to do the opposite in every respect. Delving into the why's behind these questions can help make sure everyone knows what you both way, but also tell you more about each other.
7. "What Did You Learn About Gender Roles Growing Up?"
Your partner is the way they are partially because of outside influences. You might not ever realize that your partner feels differently on this subject than you and they might not either, as Christine Baumgartner, a dating and relationship coach, tells Romper in an email exchange. If they grew up with traditional gender roles, that might be what they think you believe regarding gender roles as well, whether you do or not.
8. "How Did Your Family Handle Holidays?"
Baumgartner says this question is another good one. You can learn a lot about your partner's family, friends, support system, and traditions by asking it. Realizing that you both have traditions that are important to you — and incorporating a mix of both in your shared lives — can help deepen the bond between you. Now the way you deal with holidays is uniquely yours.
9. "What Is Your Most Regrettable Moment?"
Everyone has moments that they regret. Likely, they're pretty embarrassing. "It is interesting to share a moment of vulnerability by hearing about regrettable times. These are moments where you regret not doing something or handled something in a less than optimal way. By the end, you’ll get some insight into the psychic pain that your partner carries around," Rhonda Milrad, founder of online relationship community, Relationup and a relationship therapist, tells Romper in an email exchange. Sure, it might be cringe-worthy in the moment, but your relationship will be stronger now that it's something you both understand.
10. "What Did Your Parents Tell You About How To Treat A Spouse?"
This is a fairly revealing question. It'll help you both understand why you think the way you do regarding how you're supposed to treat a partner. According to Baumgartner, you may not have ever sat down and consciously thought about this before, but reflecting on it with your partner could be a game-changer.
11. "When You Were Upset As A Child, How Did You Comfort Yourself?"
Disappointments and hard times are difficult to hear about, but they're important to share. Asking the question this particular way tells you more than just that bad things happened, though. "You will not only hear about upsetting moments in each of your childhoods, but also how you got through them," Milrad says. "By sharing, you can learn more about the similarities and differences in your coping strategies."
12. "What Did Your Parents Tell You About How To Raise Children?"
Baumgartner says that this can help you both see that you likely experienced things differently, as well. Because how your parents raised you is probably the only way you knew, that's likely influenced you more than you even know. Sharing these things with your partner helps you both learn more about each other, your families, and your relationship and what you both think is most important.
13. "If You Could Do It All Over Again, What Would You Do Differently?"
"This question asks you both to reflect on your lives thus far and think about the roads not taken," Milrad says. "This discussion can reveal personal wishes and desires, regrets and even result in both of you wanting to make changes to fulfill your dreams." If no one has ever asked before, you might not have even considered it.
14. "How Did Your Family Handle Money?"
How your family handled money and financial issues has likely rubbed off on you, Baumgartner says. Talking openly and honestly about finances can definitely be intimidating, but is super important and can make your relationship stronger.
15. "How Did Your Family Handle Discipline?"
Again, how your family handled discipline is important because it likely influenced you one way or another, Baumgartner says. If your family had a strict no spanking rule, for example, you might never consider that to be an appropriate way of disciplining under any circumstances. Knowing that the two of you are able to share even the vulnerable details of your lives with one another can deepen your relationship and make you feel closer than ever before.
16. "Before We Met, What Was One One Of The Happiest Times In Your Life?"
The time you're together is obviously important and you should definitely share your happiest times from when you've been together, but the time before you met is, of course, important too. According to Mayer, this question helps humanize the other person. Knowing what made them happiest in the time before you came on the scene will surely make you happy too. Plus, you might learn that they love some or had an experience that you'd never heard them mention before.
17. "Tell Me About A Time When You Were Hurt"
So this isn't technically a question, but knowing how they've been hurt and by whom can definitely make your relationship stronger. According to Mayer, these conversations help you empathize with your partner and see that, like you, they've been hurt in the past too. You both lived lives apart before you ever got together and the only way you can learn about those and get to know your partner even better is by talking about them.
18. "What Part Of Yourself Physically Do You Dislike The Most?"
Being self-conscious can really affect people, but it's something that everyone feels at one point or another. Asking this question helps you realize that feelings like this are universal, according to Mayer. The answer might not be what you think.
19. "Do You Have Any Debt?"
For a practical reason, this is a good question to ask if you're going to spend your lives together. Finances are nearly always an uncomfortable topic because it seems like there's often a lot of judgment there, but if your partner is hiding debt from you, that's a part of them that you don't know and there's nothing you can do to help.
20. "What Part Of Your Personality Do You Dislike The Most?"
The way you see your partner probably isn't exactly the same as the way they see themselves. Like the question about physical appearance, according to Mayer, "These questions — if answered sincerely and without holding back, see below — these questions humanize the other person, they add humility to the other person and they establish empathy for the other person."
21. "What's The Most Embarrassing Thing That Ever Happened To You?"
Everyone has an embarrassing moment and it's probably not their favorite story to trot out at dinner parties. According to Mayer, you and your partner should ask each other this question. Sharing these moments together, even if you can only talk about them, helps strengthen your relationship because, let's face it, sharing your most embarrassing moment requires a bit of grace and a whole lot of vulnerability.
22. "How Do You Handle Difficult Situations?"
According to Redbook, working through challenging situations together can be a sign that the two of you are going to last, but just because you didn't go through it all together doesn't mean you can't still deepen your bond and share the experiences. Talking about how you handle difficult situations can teach your partner a lot about you, sure, but it can also teach you about yourself.
23. "What Do You Need To Forgive In Our Relationship But Don't Want To Yet? Why?"
In an email exchange with Romper, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of Relationship Reset Jen Elmquist said that this is "a critical and possibly disruptive [question] that can create a revolution in your relationship." Recognizing that your relationship isn't perfect, but that the two of you are always striving to make it better will make your relationship stronger for a long time to come.
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