Personal Questions to Ask in a New Relationship
Just starting a new relationship?
Ah, yes... newfound love (or lust). When our imaginations go wild and all is right with the world. Some of us love dating up a storm and meeting new people, while others of us would rather go to the dentist than go through the process over and over. And over.
Im one of the latter, and pray I never have to go through this process again.
When in a new relationship it is important to create some boundaries for yourself, as well as identify what you consider important in a potential long-term partner. There are some people out there who just want someone to get along with and enjoy each others company, and there are others who keep a requirements list for a potential mate. Yes Im serious, and Im sure you know a few people out there who do this.
While I dont think it necessary to keep a mile-long checklist of character traits to mark off when dating, here are six important personal questions to ask a potential suitor that you should consider:
1. How is your relationship with your family?
2. Are you religious?
3. What do you think of children?
4. What are your future goals?
5. What are your hobbies?
6. What does commitment mean to you?
Lets explore these further, shall we?
When first asking about someones family, take note of their immediate reaction. We all have relatives in our families we can take in limited doses, and some of us prefer not to deal at all with some family members for different reasons. This can also be stated with tact. A man who is asked about his mother and responds "Shes nuts", theres a good chance he will talk about you in the same way in the not-so-distant future (trust me, I know from firsthand experience). If a person talks about their own blood in a disrespectful manner right off the bat, heed the red flag.
If someone tells you they are close to their family, ask what they enjoy doing with them. Why are they so close?
My own family is a little dysfunctional (whose isnt?) but they are good people, and if I am in a bind - they have my back. This is how it should be, regardless of how close or not close the family is.
RELIGION MATTERS (TO SOME)
I was raised Catholic. My boyfriend does not believe in God, and that is fine. Religion for some is a make or break point, and is something both personal and important to discuss. To me, it is not that important; maybe because I am not a practicing Catholic. My boyfriend is one of the nicest people I know and he was never baptized, so I do not think following religion (or lack of) is an absolute for making you a good or bad person.
Some people consider religion important to their heritage, culture, and bloodlines, and want to find someone who shares their same beliefs for the purpose of raising a family. This is fine as well, just be sure to agree on what you want.
While I do not consider asking about children on the first couple dates a good idea (for obvious reasons), it is important and needs to be brought up after a few dates if you are thinking about continuing in a relationship with someone. Another make or break point for lots of couples, children are a forever commitment and the job is not for everyone.
It would be wise advice to ask about your partners thoughts on children in the beginning stages (but not too soon). There are people out there who love children and want their own, and others believe having a child is the equivalent to being in a prison cell. Make sure you are compatible in this regard for a decision as big as having kids. No one should be backed into a corner to have them, and someone who would make a great parent should not be denied the opportunity to do so. I can think of two couples who did not discuss children before marriage - thinking the other would change their mind - and when they didnt, their marriages ended in divorce. Do not make the same mistake they did.
People change their minds all the time after marriage, but at least have this discussion with your partner beforehand and see how they interact with children. Actions speak louder than words.
People love other people with a plan, or most of us anyway. Ask what your partner hopes to accomplish in the next couple years and if they have any long-term goals. Make it fun and ask the first thing they would like to do after retirement. Do they even want to retire?
If his idea of a plan is to visit the Playboy Mansion in the next couple years, well you may want to rethink continuing on with this person. Goals should be bigger, better and more productive than standing next to Miss November for a photo opp.
HAVE ANY HOBBIES?
I consider this important for three reasons:
1. Compatibility and whether you will have to do everything alone or not
2. Stuff to talk about besides work and gossip
3. It gets you away from each other for a bit for solo time, without having the other person as the focal point of your life (which is never healthy anyway)
My biggest deal breakers? Travel and pets. If you do not like to travel, nor have any interest in pets, you are not going to last. Decide what you are unwilling to bend on, and look for someone with those same interests that are must-haves. An old family friend of mine got divorced because she wanted to get out and see things, meanwhile her husband wanted to stay on the couch. She got tired of being bored, and she got out.
Before a relationship gets more serious, ask your partner what commitment means to them. Being in a relationship should make you comfortable with each other, and should make you want to have the other persons back and best interests at heart. What do you like about this person, and is this person someone you would want to be friends with? Also ask if they see themselves settling down later on (another question saved for a few dates in). If not, take time out to think about why and if you should even continue.
If someones idea of commitment is being faithful only when you are in the same room, run - dont walk.
You should both agree to commit to each other if the relationship is to continue, in the same room and out of sight.
While there are tons of questions to ask in a new relationship, be sure to discuss the above at some point. And remember, timing is everything. Be patient and have fun, but also be smart.