If it's a long-lasting and healthy relationship you're looking for, there are certain topics you need to discuss with your partner to make sure it's going be The Real Deal. Not just basic qus like, "What music do you like?" and, "You're obsessed with Love Island, right?" But serious questions. Ones that give you real insight into someone's personality, motivations, aspirations... everything.
Cosmopolitan UK spoke to Gurpreet Singh and Simone Bose, relationship counsellors at Relate, who explained these are the questions you should be asking your partner to find out if you're truly compatible. "You should centre your questions around the main building blocks of relationships," Gurpreet says. These include communication, negotiating and resolving differences, and independence."
"What's important to you?"
Gurpreet suggests asking your partner, "Give me your top five things that are really important to you in life". Their answers could be anything from career and money, to travel and having a family, and obviously what's important differs between couples. "See what the overlap between their answers and yours tells you," Gurpreet says. "You're looking for crossover here."
If you don’t address these things reasonably early on, as the relationship matures you'll get to know these things that could tear you apart eventually. Of course, you're not looking to be mirror images of each other. But, as Gurpreet says, you "have to have some common value system that unites you. You can argue about the upholstery, and who left the cap off the toothpaste, but if you argue about whether to have children, your finances, your career choices, these are some of the really important things that can mean you don’t end up in the same place."
"How can I make your day better?"
On a simple level, asking your partner what you can do to improve their day is an easy way to show them you care. "Just showing that you're listening to your partner and their needs is really important," says Simone Bose, counsellor at Relate. "And then hopefully, they will flip the question around and ask you the same thing."
"What is it important to spend money on?"
Finances are a major topic that need to be discussed, Gurpreet explains. Ask your partner what they think is important to spend money on to make sure you're on the same page. Whether this is splashing out on a Ferrari, or giving to charity, it'll tell you a lot about a person.
"What would our ideal life be like in five to 10 years?"
You should ask your partner what lies ahead. Talk about whether you'd like to travel, have children, buy a house, get married, move abroad, advance in your career, etc. "Sometimes, when these ideals don’t align, it can cause issues in the future," he explains.
"What are you afraid of in the future?"
Asking your partner what they're afraid of gives you a better understanding of them as a person, but it can also give you an opportunity to help them with their fears. "Asking about your partner's fears means you can understand what makes them feel safe in life, what their expectations are for the future and if they're afraid of fulfilling them," says Simone.
"How important is family to you?"
Family values, and talking about them, is super important in a healthy relationship, Gurpreet says. "For example, where one person is from a well-connected family, and the other isn't. One partner may not understand the other person’s connections to family - which is extremely important for some people."
If family is a priority for you but not so much for the other person, it can make things tricky. Unless you are both accepting of each other’s connections to family.
"What are your best and worst childhood memories?"
While you're discussing family with your partner, ask them their favourite and least favourite childhood memories, says Simone. "Understanding your partner's childhood is important for understanding how they function as an adult, and what might have shaped them," Simone explains. "You can ask them how their childhood has impacted what makes them feel good in a relationship, or how they deal with trust in relationship."
"What are your interests?"
You should be asking yourself, "Can I have fun with them?" Gurpreet explains. Ask them, "What do you do for downtime?"
Obviously this doesn't have to be the same as what you do. But it gives an important insight into how they spend their time, and what they're passionate about. Take Michelle and Barack Obama, for example. "[They] are joined by common value systems and have common interests, but both lead their own work and support each other in that. They’re like a model couple," Gurpreet says. "Kate Middleton and Prince William make a good couple in the same way. As do Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. It’s about sharing who you are as a person, rather than your differences as as something that separate you."
'Who are your friends?'
Friends are very telling, and who someone hangs out with is really important, Gurpreet explains. "If [your partner] hangs out drinking in bars every night, they might not be looking to commit," he explains. The best way to find out what their friendships are like and centred around, is to ask, "What do you talk about with your friends? What do you do with them? Are they your support network?"
"Everyone goes through something in their life, and accessing support is a really helpful thing. If they speak openly with their friends, it tells you they’re not afraid to admit their vulnerabilities and weak points."
"How do you resolve problems?"
It's really important to find out how somebody resolves problems and conflicts in a relationship. Ask them, "If you have an argument with someone close to you, how do you address it?"
Some people might say that they tell them off, but most would say, "I like to talk to them," or "I try and work it out". Gurpreet says how someone resolves problems gives you an insight into how compatible you are.
"How do you calm down after a fight?"
"This tells you how they deal with being angry," Gurpreet explains. They might say they storm off, or like to think it through before saying anything, or to talk or breathe it out. But, remember "an argument can be a good thing," he adds. "To never have an argument might be unhealthy, and it might mean that you’re not talking.
"What would be an unforgivable thing for someone to do to you?"
Asking your partner this question means they can share what would be a dealbreaker for them in a relationship, and it's also really important for setting boundaries. "An unforgivable act, might not just be infidelity," says Simone, "but it could be things like your partner putting you down, talking badly about you, or shouting at you." This can open up a conversation about what each of your triggers and boundaries are, too.
"Who has a relationship that you admire?"
Simone suggests asking your partner to identify another relationship that they admire, whether that's a friend or family member's relationship, or someone else they know. "It will give you a sense of how they would like your relationship to be, and which traits they value in a relationship," explains Simone. Plus, if your partner doesn't respond well to being asked personal questions, this is a great way to get them to open up without putting too much focus on themselves.
"How do you spend your time when you're not with me?"
Independence in a relationship is super important, too. "It doesn’t matter what they say, as long as they do things as an individual, independent of you. You can use their answers to get to know them more deeply. How they spend the time on their own is really important," Gurpreet adds.
"Do you have faith?"
"Couples are torn apart by faith," Gurpreet explains. "For example where one partner is an atheist and the other is of faith. It can work if they both accept each other's faith, or lack of, and therefore their independence."
Couples don't need to be exactly the same to work, he explains. "They don’t have to get the other partner to be like them," he adds, "they just have to accept them for their differences and love them for it."
"Would you tell me if I smelled?"
It may sound silly, but Gurpreet says this one will give you a LOT of insight into someone's personality and values. He explains, "It's about authenticity and honesty. Sometimes for the sheer sake of other people, you might not want to be honest and tell them hard truths, but it’s not doing them any good." In a healthy relationship, you should be able to be honest about the hard stuff.
"Would you be up for couples counselling?"
Their willingness to access support at a time of vulnerability, either individually as a couple, is important to find out. "If they're willing to access support, it shows they’re not afraid to be vulnerable. And it's vulnerability which gives you an opportunity to truly connect with someone."
Gurpreet says if you don’t address your vulnerabilities in the early stages of a relationship, then they'll only be more of a problem later on. "If you bring out the difficulties straight away, you'll build a stronger relationship because of it," he explains.
"What do you like about me?"
You should feel understood by the person you are with, Gurpreet says. "Asking something like "What do you like about me?" and seeing if they have really understood you is a good idea. It gives you an insight into what about you they are gravitating towards."
Similarly, Simone suggests asking, "Which features do you love the most about me?" This could include physical features, as well as personality traits, and it will encourage you to spend time appreciating each other. Simone also suggests asking your partner, "When am I most attractive to you?" to remind you of the things you like about each other.
"What is a question you wish I would ask you more often?"
Put the ball in your partner's court and ask them what they would like to be asked, suggests Simone. "This can be in terms of emotional questions, or it could just be practical things, like offering to do the washing up," Simone explains. This can also open up a conversation about each of your Love Languages, adds Simone. "Ask your partner what makes them feel appreciated, whether it's acts of service, words of affirmation, or maybe it's just that they want some space - but let them tell you what they want."
You Might Also Like