I knew I was “the one” for my fiance when he asked what my ring size was totally out of the blue as we were driving one afternoon. I’d told him the stories of my friends; one whose now-husband thought her ring size was a two (that’s extremely small, for those not acquainted with jewelry sizing) and bought her a doll-sized engagement band, and another friend whose husband accidentally grabbed a thumb ring from her jewelry box and had her diamond ring sized accordingly. It looked like a hula hoop on her finger. There are, however, many bizarre questions men ask when looking for "the one" that come before ring sizes and wedding talks.
Sometimes when you're on a date that seems to be going well — or when you're in a relationship and are hoping to take the next step — it’s hard to figure out what kind of questions convey serious, long-term interest, and what's casual small talk. With this in mind, I combed the internet, spoke to a matchmaker, a relationship expert, and women in relationships, all to find the unexpected questions men may ask when looking for long-term partners. Spoiler alert, they go far beyond What are your hobbies? Or What do you want for dinner?
1.What Do You Think About In The Shower (Or While Driving?)
Steve Kane, relationship expert and author of F*** It. Get A Divorce: The Guide For Optimists, tells Romper that, "One key to long term relationship success [is] that the partners continuously discover new things about the other, or just enjoy the workings of [each other's] mind, not because both parties always think alike, but because they don't." Potential partners will want to know what and how you think.
One woman I spoke with said that her now-husband would always ask on their early dates what she thought about on her drive to the restaurant or bar. "This gave me the freedom and permission to reveal to him the mundane inner workings of my mind. Early on, I honestly answered what I'd been thinking about in the car. I told him that I didn't think a certain, very popular comedian was that funny. I was glad to get that out of the way. I also told him once how I was thinking I needed new pajama pants, and so we went to Target after drinks. Best date."
2. What Are You Most Passionate About?
Physical attraction is great, but it won’t get you through two hours of sitting in standstill traffic (well, I guess it could ) or days where you’re both stressed and tired. Perhaps unsurprisingly, men want to make sure their connection with a long-term partner goes beyond the physical, and that there is a an intellectual compatibility as well. Julia Bekker, matchmaker/dating and relationship expert tells Romper, “Men want a woman who is intellectually aware and curious. They look to see what her interests and hobbies and passions are."
A potential long-term partner will be interested to know what you are most passionate about; it doesn't matter if that passion is work, or tennis, or reading, they're looking to see that something outside of the relationship gets you excited.
3. What Is Something You Can't Stand?
Dog hair on the kitchen floor and rudeness! But seriously, men want to know what their partner will find annoying or intolerable (so they can avoid enacting the trigger, yes) but also so they have a different insight to who their partner really is. You can learn a lot about someone from the things they can't tolerate.
One woman I spoke with said that after her partner asked her this question, she asked it back to him. "He said couldn't stand crumbs stuck in the butter," she told me. "That was it. I knew I could live with that long-term."
4. Would You Rather Have A Fight Or Give The Silent Treatment?
No couple gets along 100 percent of the time, even the ones who seem like they do. In the early stages of dating someone you really like it can be hard to imagine ever disagreeing, but then you flash forward a year and you’re yelling about a cabinet door left open. Your potential partner may try to suss out the type of “fighter” you are so to figure out what your relationship will look like long-term.
Kane tells Romper, “There's no one style of dispute resolution that works for all couples, but all couples do need a way to work through disputes. [Couples should consider if they] have the ability to disagree and not fall apart." There is nothing inherently wrong with disagreeing sometimes, as long as you can understand and respect where the other is coming from.
5. How Much Money Do You Make?
I cringed just writing this question. Money is awkward to talk about but it’s also an essential conversation to have when planning for the long-term. As a 2013 CNN article reported, “ Money is the leading source of disagreement for couples, whether they're just hitched or have been married for decades, and in extreme cases, tensions about household finances can even lead to divorce."
Bekker says, “As a matchmaker who works with all men as clients I can tell you what they ask me personally about women: Does she have a career of her own? They want to know what the woman can contribute to their life and relationship. They look for signs like will she offer to pay for a round of drinks or even a cab."
And even if your financial situation means you really can't pay for that cab or those fancy drinks (been there, friends) it’s important to push through the awkwardness and address hypotheticals about your financial future together. A flat out conversation about money (how much you make, how much you spend, if there is debt) will probably be at least a little uncomfortable, but it will save a lot of trouble down the line.
6. What Is Your Love Language?
In the early stages of a new relationship, you may be challenged to put together a coherent picture of who you are and how you see the world. I remember taking all sorts of online quizzes at the beginning of my relationship — Myers Briggs, The 5 Love Languages Quiz, Numerology — in an attempt to have “concrete” information about who I was to hand over to my partner in a neat little package. I’m surprised he didn't run for the hills when I told him “I'm an ENFJ, a water sign, my love language is quality time, and I’m a three”.
I wish it was mandatory for all new couples to take the Love Languages quiz; when you know your partner's language is quality time, acts of service, or gifts for example, you know how to show affection in a way that resonates. And from personal experience, yes sometimes love means emptying the dishwasher...
7.Where Do You Expect To Be In Ten Years?
This question can make you feel like you're on a interview, but it's important nonetheless.
Kane says, “Given that we are considering joining together for the very long term, generally speaking, [men want to know if their partner is] a good match vis a vis life-view. A lot of people believe that as we get older, over time, we become one of two types of people: We either want our world to get smaller and smaller, or bigger and bigger. We may be in the flush of a new romance, where even such core differences don't seem to matter, as we make huge allowances for new lovers and new adventures.”
Before a person is willing to commit long-term, they'll likely be comforted by the fact that their partner has at least a similar vision for the future, and it doesn't involve different quadrants of the world or vastly different values or belief systems.
8. How Important Is Sex To You?
It's easy to think that sex is the most important part of relationship in those early days when you're getting busy constantly. It's totally normal to fall into a slower sexual pattern, but it's helpful if you and your partner have similar drives. If your partner does ask you this question, answer as honestly as possible. Are you the kind of person who could go a few weeks without missing sex? Do you want it every day?
Kane says that couples should ask themselves, "Have we actually shared with each other our fantasies and kinks, and if not, are any of them deal breakers? Can we even discuss these things easily, or is sex talk painful and awkward?"
9. What Are Your Favorite Names?
If someone is asking you what names you like for kids, (or pets!) they like you. It's science. Most people considering a long-term relationship won't find it a dealbreaker if you like a name they're not into. Instead of writing you off because you want to call your firstborn Emma and they like Juniper, the question serves as a light, fun way to picture your future together, and maybe even as a roundabout way to discern whether you see yourself with pets or kids down the line.