Relationships bring comfort and security, but sometimes you might be too secure. Even if your partner is loving and treats you well, it’s worth taking a step back and asking yourself some critical questions about the future, your life, and how you feel about yourself. Here are 12 questions people in relationships should ask themselves.
- Have I lost myself? Having “your person” is wonderful, especially when you’re in a long-term relationship and are growing as people together. Ask yourself if that growth is authentic. A lot of people lose who they are in a relationship and become a version of themselves their partner wants or who they think their partner wants. So, take a moment to evaluate your life to determine if you are still yourself. Your partner should love you for who you are.
- What’s my backup plan? Most people date to have a partner to tackle life with together. It’s nice to feel like you two are against the world, but it’s not healthy if your entire life is rooted in your partner. Life can be unpredictable; while you might see yourself as end game, unfortunately, something could happen. So, ask yourself, will you be okay? Are you financially independent or have something to fall back on? Do you have a support system beyond your partner? If not, start working on yourself and think of some options.
- Do I balance my time? Some people abandon their friends the second they get into a relationship and come crawling back after a breakup. It’s also frustrating when you try to make plans with a certain friend for a DMC, but they always bring their partner — completely uninvited and without a heads up. Don’t be that friend. Making time for your partner is important, but make sure you’re not neglecting other areas of your life either. I make a point to see my friends without bringing my boyfriend at least 50% of the time, if not more. Even if your partner is The One, your friends are still important; who else would you vent to if you’re having relationship issues.
- Was I happier before we got together? It’s not always easy to be together, especially after the honeymoon phase. Sometimes you need to fight for the relationship, but the bad times shouldn’t outweigh the good times. So, ask yourself, were you truly happier before you met? Was your life more peaceful before they came into it? In the past, I tried to convince myself that it was a coincidence a happy period of my life ended when he came into it, but honestly, it wasn’t. It was him. If the answer is yes, take a good hard look at your life and relationship to determine if it’s worth staying. While it could just be a coincidence, and you’ve had a difficult time due to unrelated reasons, it may also be the case that they are the source of your unhappiness.
- Are we really on the same page? For any relationship to survive, you need to be on the same page when it comes to the big things. If you’re in it for the long haul, make sure you’re on the same page regarding marriage, children, where you want to live, etc. For example, if you agreed never to have children, be sure you agreed to that because that’s actually how you feel. Make sure you’re not agreeing to things because you’re afraid they’ll leave if you share what you really think. If you hope you can change their mind later — you’re just wasting everyone’s time when they’re still set in their decision down the line.
- Do they bring out the best in you? We’re heavily influenced by who we surround ourselves with. Does your partner make you want to be the best version of yourself, or do you feel like you need to dilute yourself for them to feel good? Maybe they’re a negative person, and you notice you’re more pessimistic after spending time with them. Even if they’re nice to you, are they really bringing out the best in you if you find yourself excusing their poor behavior to others? At some point, you just become complicit.
More questions people in relationships should ask themselves
- Can you communicate? Communication is essential in a relationship. You need to ask yourself if you effectively communicate boundaries and issues with your partner in a clear, respectful manner. It’s also important to ask yourself if they do that too. Does your partner make you feel valued and heard, even if they don’t agree with you, or are you walking on eggshells because somehow you’ll end up apologizing for trying to address something they did? It should be you and them against the problem, not each other.
- Are you in competition with each other? Healthy relationships are about equality, but many relationships have unhealthy power dynamics. Do you feel a powder imbalance or like you’re constantly trying to get the upper hand? Can they celebrate your achievements? Would they be proud or try to knock you down? You’re supposed to be on the same team. If you feel like you’re beneath them and constantly trying to prove yourself to someone, who, to be blunt, will never see you as good enough, why are you still with them? You deserve someone who doesn’t undermine you.
- Can I handle their baggage? Everyone has baggage; we’re human. Dating isn’t as simple as having only your partner in your life; it means their career, friends and family too. So, if you want to continue your relationship, you need to, at the very least, be able to tolerate these people. If you see yourself having in-laws who will sabotage you or the relationship, it needs to be addressed before you marry into the family — or rather, if you actually still want to marry in.
- Is our current stance on contraception sustainable? Some people are fine taking hormonal contraception for a few years, but it’s not something they want to do until menopause. So, if you’re in a long-term relationship, you need to ask yourself how you feel about it and then address it with your partner to come up with a plan so no one feels blindsided.