When you decide to define a relationship with someone new, it’s smart to sit down and have a frank conversation about where you want things to go. Diving right into it without really discussing everything can lead to miscommunications that cause a riff in your journey as a couple. Before you get too deep into it, you want to know what you’re getting into.
- Will we be dating exclusively? Monogamy is important for a lot of people. Some people prefer to be in an open relationship. Define what your relationship will look like and what your partner wants. You should never feel compelled to be in a relationship that doesn’t align with your desires and needs. Set clear expectations going in. Will you be deleting any dating apps from your phone? Are there any rules about how your open relationship will operate (do you discuss your experiences with others or not)?
- What do you want out of a partner? Everyone has a different love language. It’s how you want to be loved and what makes you feel connected to your partner. Discuss these needs so your partner knows what you need from them. Do you value quality time? Are words of affirmation important to you? You want to make it clear to your partner what you want from them and what you expect from them. This alleviates any misconceptions on what you need. Everyone’s needs are different and we tend to show others we love them based on how we want to be loved, but that doesn’t always translate to another person.
- What are your opinions on religion and politics? Religion and politics are typically a taboo topic, but when you’re entering into a relationship with someone, it’s essential to have this conversation. You absolutely do not have to have the same views on religion and politics. It is up to you to decide if you can be with someone who doesn’t share your views. You may have opposing political views, but if you’re able to respect one another’s opinions and have a healthy dialogue about your differences, that’s great! If your religion is very important to you and you want to walk through life with someone who shares your beliefs, it’s probably not going to work with someone who is an atheist, for example.
- How much alone time do you need? One thing you sort of sacrifice when you enter a relationship is your alone time. When you’re in a relationship, you start to spend more time with another person. If you’re someone who really values your alone time, let your partner know that. Or, if you crave attention, fill them in on that as well. This allows you to be respectful of what the other person needs to function.
- What are your career goals? Sharing career goals is important for a few reasons. In a relationship, you are each other’s support systems. You’re there to help them achieve their dreams. So, you need to understand what their goals are so you can help them get there. In addition, career goals can sometimes reveal if there is a possibility of relocation. If your partner wants to become an actor, they may want to move to New York or California one day. Is that something you could see yourself doing? Or maybe your partner works for a company with offices across the country. If they’re serious about moving up in that company and the opportunity to relocate comes up, they may want to take it. This something you want to know beforehand so you can decide if relocation is something you’re interested in.
- What is your relationship deal breaker? Everyone has a deal breaker for relationships. There are some things that we simply won’t accept in our relationships. You need to figure out what that something is that you simply cannot put up with when in a relationship. Is it cheating? Is it not liking your family? Share this with your partner so they are aware and can understand what they expect from you.
- What are your rules on fights? Every couple fights. Understanding how you’re going to manage each fight is important. Do you refuse to go to bed angry? When you get upset, what do you need from your partner? Silence? Comfort? When you’re in a fight, it’s hard to let the other person know what you need. Tensions are too high. When you establish your needs in a setting where you aren’t angry with each other, you’ll be able to know what to do when a fight happens.
- Do you want to get married and/or have children? When you’re entering into a relationship with someone, you have to understand what they want their life to look like in the future. You can’t worry about bringing it up too early. There’s no such thing! If you have needs in your life, they’re important. You don’t want to start a relationship with someone who doesn’t want the same things that you do. If you want to get married and have children, don’t settle for someone who doesn’t. If you never want to have kids, don’t be talked into thinking you could change your mind one day. Marriage and kids are typically non-negotiables for people. Don’t get it in your head that you could change their mind one day because you’re most than likely going to find yourself disappointed.
- What do you need to know about me? Ask your partner if there is anything they want to learn about you before they begin a relationship. This can be anything. Maybe they want to know about your sexual history or whether you like to sleep with a fan on at night. There are plenty of little things that someone would want to learn that haven’t come up yet. You want to get everything on the table that you are curious about regarding your partner. Some surprises in a relationship are good! Some are not. Get those out of the way sooner rather than later.