What you need to know before your relationship goes any further
Are you seeing someone new? Date intentionally. As you laugh at the same movies and share decadent desserts, make sure you’re getting to know important details of each other’s lives, too. Here are five things you need to know about the person you’re dating (and some good questions to ask!):
Compatible values are essential in developing a healthy relationship. Discuss faith systems, both those from childhood and any current beliefs. What does he value most in life? Does she pray? What does happiness look like to your date? What factors does she evaluate when trying to make tough decisions?
Talk about your families. Is she close to her parents? Does he respect his brother’s life choices? Family, both immediate and extended, play an important role in who we’ve been and who we are. Some people aspire to having a love story like their parents, others want to avoid their parents’ mistakes. Talking about upbringing can reveal a lot about how your date sees the world and what he/she believes a healthy relationship looks like.
If you’re ready to have sex after date ten and your date is waiting for an “I love you” first—or maybe even marriage—things will get awkward if these physical-relationship expectations aren’t outlined before one of you rejects the other. As awkward as these conversations may be, negotiate appropriate boundaries early on. Some relationships can’t withstand differing views on physical contact, so discuss this early and often.
Sure, you’re having a great time together a few times a month, but do you really know where you stand, relationship-wise? Is one of you hoping it will turn into marriage and kids while the other is commitment-phobic and enjoys seeing more than one person at a time? After a few dates, sit down to discuss your thoughts on relationships, commitment, and how you’d define where you currently are—and where you might be headed.
It can be hard to assess how someone deals with conflict until you’ve had your first fight, but discussing previous conflicts and their subsequent resolutions can help you both understand how each of you deals with arguments. When you do have your first fight, debrief after it. Was your partner aggressive? Was he quick to apologize? To walk out the door? Did she respond to conflict with insecurity? With cruelty? As conflict is an unavoidable part of life, discovering how your date deals with it is an important part of getting to know him/her better.