11 Deeply Personal Questions To Ask Your Partner Before Taking Your Relationship To The Next Level
When you've finally found that one person you can really see a future with, it's so easy to jump in quickly without really thinking things through. After all, if you really love someone and your relationship is unlike anything you've ever been in before, why wait? To be fair, there's nothing wrong with that. When you know, you know. But according to experts, taking your relationship to the next level shouldn't be taken lightly. There are some personal questions you should ask your partner before you even think about taking that next step.
"It's crucial to really get to know your partner by asking deep questions and spending plenty of time with them in a variety of contexts," Julie Williamson, Licensed Professional Counselor, tells Bustle. It's totally a given, but before taking your relationship to the next level, you need to know a lot more about them than their likes, dislikes, and hobbies. Getting to know someone on a deeper and more personal level can only happen if you ask the right questions.
More often that not, questions that build deeper connections can make people feel uncomfortable. But as Williamson says, that's the good thing about it. If your partner is able to speak about difficult topics while listening and empathizing with you, a natural trust will start to grow. "When you've really gotten to know that person and developed a sense of trust, you'll be ready to take that next step," she says.
So here are some questions you should ask your partner before you take things to the next level, according to experts.
1. "Do You Have My Back No Matter What?"
"Taking your relationship to the next level can be scary and exciting at the same time, that’s why it’s important to know that your partner has your back," Samantha Daniels, Dating Expert and Founder of Samantha’s Table Matchmaking tells Bustle. According to her, you should ask your partner this so you know they're someone you can count on. It may seem silly, but this is the kind of question that can catch someone off guard if they really don't automatically have a positive response. "Having each other’s backs is a form of trust." she says. "Without trust, moving to the next level may be difficult." It's equally just as important to observe their behaviors.
2. "What Do You Consider Cheating?"
Cheating means different things to different people. It's not just physical cheating. There are other things to look out for like emotional cheating and financial infidelity. If you're about ready to take your relationship to the next level, you need to be on the same page about what counts as cheating. "Few things can destroy a relationship like jealousy and infidelity, so it’s crucial that you and your partner understand where you draw the line on ideas like texting other people or watching porn," Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "As uncomfortable as this conversation may be, it is infinitely better than the alternative, so make sure you and your partner appreciate each other’s stance on cheating."
3. "How Much Honesty Do You Believe Is Actually Needed In A Relationship?"
Honesty is obviously one of the most important things you can have in your relationship. But some people may feel like there are things you shouldn't have to share with your partner. So as Karen Salmansohn, relationship expert and author of Prince Harming Syndrome, tells Bustle, "Ask your partner if they feel partners should be honest about everything, and if not, what shouldn't they be honest about?" It's important to know early on if your partner is the type to keep secrets. If they are, is that something you can actually be OK with? "It's relaxing to love someone you trust," Salamnsohn says. "Someone you know will not hide parts of their life and will happily offer up the truth, without you feeling as if you are yanking it out of them."
4. "How Do You Think You've Changed Over The Past Few Years?"
Asking your partner about how they've grown or changed over the past few years can say a lot about the type of person they are. As Salmansohn says, it can give you an idea if they have an appreciation for growth and self-improvement. "Do they talk about how they'd like to grow in specific areas?" she says. "You need someone open to 'compromise' and 'being wrong' at times." When it comes to relationships, you may want a partner who can adapt to the changes that will inevitably come your way.
5. "What Do You Want Out Of This Relationship?"
In other words, where is this going? If you're going to take your relationship to the next level, you need to be on the same page. "Both of you could have a different idea of what 'the next level' means," Daniels says. "Therefore, it’s important that you communicate and ask them what they want out of the relationship moving forward." It's important so you and your partner know what to expect from each other and how to fulfill each other's needs.
6. How Do You Deal With Difficult Situations?
"It's important to ask and/or observe how your partner copes with difficult emotions, relational situations, and conflict," Williamson says. This will give you an idea of how they will cope with these things in the relationship with you. For instance, does your partner avoid conflict at all costs, to the point that issues don't get resolved? Or does your partner lash out or shut down when they become angry? "It's important to have open and honest communication about these issues and how you both want to handle them in a long-term, committed relationship, in order to avoid disconnection and intense conflict down the road," she says.
7. "Why Didn't Your Last Relationship Work Out?"
Why did your partner's last relationship end? What was it like for them when it ended? How did they cope? What would they have done differently in the relationship? "It's important to ask these questions because you can learn about your partner's ability to accept responsibility for their own mistakes, as well as how your partner has handled conflict in the past," Williamson says. If you notice similarities in your partner's descriptions of past relationships and your own relationship, it could indicate a pattern that may need to be addressed.
Talking about exes can be uncomfortable and some people will choose to avoid the subject altogether. But according to Salmansohn, discussing why their last relationship ended can give you a ton of insight into possible baggage they haven't brought up. "Ask your partner directly to explain why and how they broke up with their last relationship," she says. "Listen for long-term mood and anger issues." Discussing their mental health and needs is also super important. Asking about their last relationship can help lead you into that conversation.
8. "How Did You Deal With Your Feelings And Emotions Growing Up?"
Your childhood is known to affect your relationships as an adult. That's why Williamson says it's important to ask personal questions regarding their family and how they were raised. For instance, what were the roles of your parents? What were the expectations of the children? How was conflict handled, or was it even handled? How were emotions viewed? How did family members communicate? "These questions are important because our families of origin are our first experience with socialization and where our beliefs, values, and the way we view the world and family are formed," she says. Even if your partner believes and thinks way more differently now than they were raised, it's still important to know where they came from. According to Williamson, this can give you a better understanding of how the two of you can form your own value system in your future together.
9. "What Do You Personally Think Of Your Friend's Relationships?"
Do they believe in the idea of "happily-ever-after" or are they completely jaded to it? As Salmansohn says, asking your partner if they feel like their friend's relationships are happy can reveal their views on marriage. "This conversation will get them to reveal their views pros, cons, and readiness," she says.
10. "Do You Feel That We Make Each Other Better People?"
Before taking your relationship to the next level, it’s important to make sure that you both feel like you are better together and not better apart. "Asking this question opens the door to evaluate how far you have come as a couple and how far you want to go when approaching the next level in your relationship," Daniels says. After all, your relationship shouldn't stress you out. It should be one of the most safe and comforting things about your life. If it's not, you may need to reevaluate things before moving forward.
11. "What Do You Value Most About Our Relationship?"
"This question is helpful to ask because it allows our partner the space to acknowledge the strengths they see in the relationship, while also understanding what we might be able to tend to a little bit more," Lisa Olivera, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, tells Bustle. According to her, people often get stuck in the same routines and patterns. When you're too comfortable in your relationship, it's easy to take your partner or your relationship for granted. "Asking this question facilitates a conversation about what's going well and what we're doing right, which can help bring us closer together in the hustle and bustle of transitions and changes," she says. It can also lead to a conversation about what needs improvement.
You don't have to ask your partner every single one of these questions all at once. But you should have an idea of how they would answer before you decide to take that next step in your relationship. Some of these may be super uncomfortable and may even trigger some unpleasant memories. But if you truly trust and love each other, there's really no topic you shouldn't be able to discuss openly and honestly.