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 10 things you need to know about the person you’re dating (and some good questions to ask!):
Faith and/or value system
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?
Family of origin
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.
Definition of relationship
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.
What makes your date feel most alive? What does he daydream about during board meetings? What hobby or side project keeps her up late at night? Can your date share these passions with you? Can you support these passions and projects and get excited for them? Are your own passions compatible with his/hers?
Don’t just meet friends in a large group setting; intentionally get to know your date’s best pals. Who does she go to for advice on a bad day? Whose phone calls does he never fail to return? Do you fit in with the group? Can you respect the people he loves? Do you feel included and respected when thrown into the group as the new person? Can you see yourself becoming friends with them, too?
If you and your significant other are not spending every night together, how do you each spend those nights apart? While introverts and extroverts can definitely make it work, being honest about your social life — how often you go out, how late you party, how many quiet nights in you crave — can help you both navigate busy, merging schedules. Speak up about what you need. If you need to be doing something project-based or social to feel invigorated, share that. If your date needs a night on the couch to feel energized and rejuvenated, try to respect that, too.
Is your date a spender or a saver? Is the pursuit of wealth important to her? Does he aspire to living well below his means, giving most of his income away to charity? How does your date make decisions regarding big-ticket items? Money and sex are two driving forces behind divorce. Be transparent about your own spending habits and talk about your respective relationships with money. You don’t need to disclose financial details early on in a relationship, but be aware of how you both approach payday, splurges and saving for a rainy day.
Dreams and goals
Are you heading in the same direction? Can you become your partner’s greatest cheerleader and champion? Ask about your date’s dreams for his/her future. Does she have a five-year plan for herself? Does he secretly dream of starting his own business? Is parenthood, financial success, creative pursuits or travel on the wish list?
When you’re dating someone, you’re both determining whether or not you fit into one another’s presents and futures. Sharing dreams and goals can better help you assess if you can partner with each other in a way that enables you both to thrive.
Does this about cover it? What else do you think is crucial to know about someone you are dating?
eHarmony's "Can't Stands" and "Must Haves" feature allows users to create a concise list of traits that are important to them in a relationship partner.