You’ve been on many dates. You laugh at each other’s jokes. You find their quirks endearing. And you’re excited to see where the relationship might lead. Before you take that leap into a serious committed relationship, here are some questions to ask yourself.
Question to ask yourself before committing: Do we share the same views on monogamy, marriage and children?
The big-ticket items, like family, marriage, and views on monogamy are conversation-topic musts before leaping into serious commitment. Differing values on these areas are often non-negotiables. It’s better to know he doesn’t want kids or that she’s not interested in ever getting married now than get further invested in a relationship that, ultimately, can’t have a future.
Question to ask yourself before committing: Are we spiritually compatible?
Maybe you’ve already talked about your faith backgrounds some, but articulating what your spiritual life looks like on a day-to-day basis — and what you aspire it to become — is an important step in determining when to get serious with one another. If one of you eschews organized religion and the other wishes they could attend orthodox services more often, you’re likely going to hit major roadblocks later on. Talk about these differences and determine if your differing faith systems are compatible with one another.
Question to ask yourself before committing: Are family and friends supportive of the relationship?
Does your mom like him? Does your roommate think she’s awesome? Positive feedback on the relationship from family and friends can help give you the green light in moving forward. If loved ones agree that the person you’re seeing is a good match for you, you’re committing to a relationship with a built-in support system.
If you sense hesitancy or wariness from loved ones, try to determine why they’re not as gung-ho about the relationship as you are. Maybe they’re just looking out for you following previous heartache. Maybe they have some serious reservations. Consider their yellow and red flags seriously before committing.
Question to ask yourself before committing: How do we deal with conflict?
Have you fought yet? Have you seen him upset? Establishing healthy conflict-resolution patterns is essential in cultivating a solid relationship.
Talk about conflict when you’re not in the middle of it. What often triggers defensiveness in you? What angers you? When do you feel most misunderstood? Do you tend to fight about the same things over and over? Establish rules for “fighting fair.”
Before committing, ensure that you’re both determined to always do right by the other person — and can compromise, apologize, and reassure when times get tough.
Question to ask yourself before committing: Can we communicate honestly about uncomfortable topics like money and sex?
The two biggest conflict topics in committed romantic relationships are money and sex. You’ll be setting your new relationship up for success if you start talking about these things early on. If you handle money differently, feel uncomfortable revealing spending philosophies, have different expectations when it comes to splitting the check or sharing a bed, now is the time to talk.
Practicing openness and honesty about private matters can build trust and prevent conflicts that arise from misunderstandings and assumptions. If you find you’re not compatible in these areas, be cautious about moving forward. Many find these differences to be irreconcilable.
Question to ask yourself before committing: Have we both dealt with our “baggage”?
Make sure you’re entering into this relationship for the right reasons — and without the past tagging along. Don’t commit as a knee-jerk reaction to your ex finding love elsewhere, or just because you hate being alone.
Have you both dealt enough with your relationship “baggage” that neither is comparing the other to a past relationship? If there’s still a “one that got away” in your life, you won’t be giving your all to the new relationship.
For a relationship to thrive, you need to be fully present. Before you commit, make sure this specific person is the one you want, and that your past, while important in terms of life lessons and character building, isn’t interfering with you giving your best to someone new.
Question to ask yourself before committing: Can I see myself with this person in the future?
If you can’t see yourself with this person in a few months, let alone a few years, you’re not ready to commit. And if you can already identify things that might derail the relationship, you need to talk. You don’t have to know, without a doubt, that this person is “the one,” but if you already know they’re not, why are you investing your time, energy and heart on someone you don’t want to be with in the future? It’s not fair to either of you.
Question to ask yourself before committing: Have we established mutual trust and respect?
Do you treat each other well? Do you feel like the person you’re with wants the best for you? Are you excited for each other’s dreams? Would you describe the person you’re with as trustworthy, respectful and considerate?
A relationship missing these ingredients is already filled with red flags. You want to be with someone who treats you well, and with someone whom you deeply respect.
Question to ask yourself before committing: Do I really like this person?
It sounds trite, but it’s so important that you actually enjoy spending significant amounts of time with the person you’re about to commit to. Do you really, really like him? Do you care about the details of his life? Does she preoccupy your thoughts? Are you just interested in being in a relationship, or are you craving a relationship with this particular individual? If you like the person you’re dating, in a Bridget Jones “just as you are” kind of way, keep moving forward.