Even if it feels like you know your partner inside and out, the funny thing about being in a long-term relationship is that you’re always learning new things about each other. It could be something as trivial as discovering they hate lemon in their water, or something as important as finding out about their secret desire to learn how to pilot a plane — if you love your partner, any new tidbit of information about them will seem like an exciting revelation. So what are some things you should know about your partner? Aside from the obvious, like their view on getting married or having kids, there are a ton of little things that you can ask your partner to help you get closer — because the better you know each other, the more intimate your relationship will become.
“Intimacy, by definition, is shared secret knowledge," Steven Ward, dating, relationship and lifestyle expert, tells Bustle. "Emotional and physical intimacy involve sharing something deeply personal. Be vulnerable to see vulnerable. Be open to see open. If you want to get closer to someone tell them something that very few, if any, other people know."
If you’ve already shared all your deep, dark secrets with your partner, don’t fret: there’s always something new to learn about one another — you just have to know what to ask and what topics to explore. Here are 26 things you might not yet know about your partner that you should delve into ASAP if you want to form an even closer connection and get to know each other as well as you know yourselves (or almost that well).
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What Their Career Goals Are
Of course, you're (presumably) already privy to what your partner does for a living, but it's a good idea to find out their long-term career goals or if they have any hidden desire to totally change professions one day.
"If your partner needs to reinvent their career or wants to follow their dream, you have to be on board and support their dream or career choice," Rappaport says. "While this may make things difficult financially for a while, you both have to be willing make the necessary changes to make this happen."
How They Like To Spend Free Time
Aside from the free time you spend together, you should have an idea of what your partner likes to do in their own leisure time, too.
"You should know how your partner likes to spend their non-working hours," Rapport says. "Does your partner like to sit with you and cuddle and watch television? Does your partner like to play computer games or read? Do you both do this together? Are you an on-the-go couple who likes to do physical activities like boating, swimming, surfing, skiing, golf, bowling or other sports?"
How They Like Their Coffee
It might seem insignificant, but making a mental note of exactly how your partner takes their morning coffee will show you really care — especially if they're stressed and running late one day and you show up with the perfect cup of joe.
"You should know how your long-term partner likes their beverages and what kind of beverages they like to drink," Rappaport says. "If they like coffee or tea, know what type of coffees or teas they like and how they like it prepared."
What Their Favorite Sex Position Is
The longer you're together, the better you'll get to know one another's bodies, as well as all your partner's sexual preferences, from their favorite position to their secret kinks. "You should know your partner’s favorite sexual positions and what pleases them in bed," Rappaport says.
However, it's also crucial to know what your partner doesn't like in bed: if they're totally averse to all things anal, for example, it's probably best that you know that well in advance (not that you should ever do something sexual without their consent in the first place).
What Their Bathroom Habits Are
No, this doesn't mean you have to know whether your partner crinkles or folds their toilet paper — it simply means you should have an idea of their hygiene habits so the two of you can work out a 'bathroom schedule' for busy mornings.
"While this may seem odd, you should know your partner’s bathroom habits and routines and create a schedule that accommodates both of you," Rappaport says.
What Their Favorite Meal Is
After a long, exhausting day, there's nothing better than being surprised with your go-to comfort food. If you know your partner loves cookie dough ice cream, you can put an emergency pint in your freezer and whip it out when they have a crappy day.
"You should know what their favorite meals, cuisines and restaurants are," Rappaport says. "Being able to surprise them from time to time with their favorites — even desserts (yes, it can be you) — will make them happy."
What Their Weekly Routine Is
You don't have to sync your Google Calendars (though you can if you want), but knowing what your partner's schedule is like from week to week will help you better manage your time together.
"You should know your partner’s routine and weekly schedule," Rappaport says. "If you know what time they need to wake up in the morning, when they usually come home this will help you both manage your time together, and your own personal 'me' time."
What Days Are Special To Them
Hopefully, you already know important dates like your partner's birthday and your anniversary — but making an effort to memorize dates that are important to them (but not necessarily to you) will make them love you even more.
"You should make an effort to remember your partner’s birthday, their children (if they have them), his family members’ special days — birthday, anniversaries, etc.," Rappaport says. "Taking [time] to remember these things help bond you to your partner."
Their Favorite Shows & Movies
If you're a couple whose go-to activity is watching TV together, there's no doubt you already know each other's favorite TV shows and movies. But you can also ask about any long-forgotten shows they love, or about any of their other "favorites."
"You should know what your partner likes — their favorite color, sweater, cologne, type of music, movies and television programs," Rappaport says. "These are things that you can share together."
What Their Perfect Day Looks Like
If your partner had an entire day to spend however they want, do you know what they'd want to do?
"Whether it’s a boozy brunch and exploring their city or watching Netflix, knowing your partner’s perfect day gives you unique insight into who you’re building a life with," Dana Czachorowski, Licensed Therapist and Founder of Shinefiercely, tells Bustle.
What "Love Language" They Speak
Being aware of which of the five love languages — Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Physical Touch and Receiving Gifts — your partner speaks can help you express your love to them better... but it's also OK if you and your partner have different love languages.
"Knowing how your partner gives and receives love is not just fun to know, it can be essential to understanding and resolving communication challenges," Czachorowski says.
How They Envision Their Future Family
If you want to build a life with your partner, it's important to have a clear idea of how they envision their future family dynamic.
"It may seem like everyone’s on the fast track to marriage and kids but that’s not always the case," Czachorowski says. "It's important to know whether or not your partner wants kids and how they envision the future dynamics of the family unit. Are they planning to continue to work while you stay home or vice versa?"
What They Believe In
Whether they're super religious or believe only in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, it's crucial to know what your partner's beliefs are so you can make sure your beliefs are compatible.
"Understanding what their core beliefs are gives you the opportunity to see if your beliefs are aligned as this can ultimately be a deal breaker," Czachorowski says.
What They'd Do If They Won The Lottery
Aside from the obvious (buying a pool filled with chocolate pudding), what would your partner do if they won the lottery? Would they invest it all, or first buy a house for themselves and their family? The answer will tell you so much about their character.
"This is a fun, mostly abstract question to ask but gives you so much insight into how responsible your partner is or isn’t," Czachorowski says.
What The Best Decision They've Ever Made Was
You might already know your partner's life story, but asking them what they feel their best-ever decision was will give you insight into what they value and how they view their own personal history.
"Did they quit their job and travel around Asia for nine months or move across the country to follow their dreams?" Czachorowski says. "No matter how big or how small, it’s important to know how they value their journey."
How They Like To Recharge
Everyone recharges in different ways: some people need quiet time alone, while others need a night out on the town. Knowing how your partner likes to decompress and relax will help you help them whenever they're having a rough time.
"Some people are more introverted or place more value on solitude, while others don't have much need for it at all," licensed psychologist Dr. Jesse D. Matthews, PsyD, tells Bustle. "In a healthy relationship this can work, provided that this difference is understood and the partner desiring time alone can have it."
If They Have Any Debt
It's not always fun to talk about finances with your partner, but if you're planning to build a life together, it's important to be on the same page about your individual and combined debts.
"You want to be clear if you are getting into a long-term relationship with someone who has a lot of debt," Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, Relationship Therapist, and Founder of online relationship community, Relationup, tells Bustle. "This can affect how and where they live, the disposable income they have for travel and adventure, and how long it will take them to dig out of their debt. You also want to know how they accrued their debt and if they have spending issues. If you have a future together, how you live your life will be impacted by their debt."
Whether They're A Spender Or Saver
Similarly, you should know whether your partner prefers to spend or save — even if you don't exactly see eye-to-eye, you're better off talking about it so you can come to a compromise together.
"Couples with similar financial styles and goals will do better than those with big differences," Matthews says. "A saver and a spender, an impulse buyer and a thinker, or a minimalist and a materialistic person are unlikely to make it in the long run."
What They Like & Dislike About Their Family
Even if you've yet to meet the fam, asking your partner what they like and don't like about their upbringing and family dynamic will reveal a lot about how they view the idea of family, and what they might want (or not want) in the future with you.
"Knowing that your partner has some perspective and insight into their family bodes well for their mental health," Milrad says. "It means that they have insight about the dynamics of their upbringing and understand the positive and negative impact of the experience on them."
What Love Means To Them
Even if you've already exchanged "I love you's", it's a good idea to ask your partner exactly what 'love' means to them.
"When a person hears the phrase 'I love you' they expect certain things," says therapist Monte Drenner, LMHC, MCAP. "Being on the same page of what love means to each other and the expectations that go with that is important for the health of the relationship."
What Makes Them Laugh The Hardest
There's nothing more awesome than sharing a sense of humor with your partner. If you know exactly how to make them laugh and smile, that bodes well for the future of your relationship.
"Knowing what it is that gets them to laugh every single time shows that you’ve been paying close attention to them," Lori Bizzoco, Relationship Expert & Founder of CupidsPulse.com, tells Bustle. "It indicates that you know exactly what are the things in getting them to smile!"
Who They Consider Their BFF(s)
Being in a long-term relationship means that, eventually, your social circles will become at least partially intertwined, and as you get to know their friends, it's important to know which of your partner's friendships mean the most to them.
"Aside from yourself, it is important to know who else plays a significant and important role in their life," Bizzoco says. Whether it's their friend from preschool or their great-uncle, knowing who your partner idolizes and loves to spend time with will give you an idea of what they really value.
Whether Or Not They Like Surprises
I'll be the first to admit that I hate surprises — which I made sure to tell my partner so he didn't foolishly plan a massive surprise party for my birthday. If you haven't discussed it yet, get on the same page with your partner about whether or not they like surprises.
"In general, or just in regards to birthdays, it's helpful to know if a surprise is going to freak your partner out and you should avoid them, or if it [would be] considered thoughtful and sweet," Stacey Ojeda, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, tells Bustle.
How They Like To Be Comforted
One of the most rewarding parts of having a long-term partner is knowing that you'll always have someone there to comfort you (and vice versa) during a rough time. But not everyone likes to be comforted in exactly the same way, so be sure to ask your partner how you can help them.
"A lot of us comfort others, whether it's a partner, friends, [or] co-worker, in the way we like to be comforted which doesn't work for everyone," Ojeda says. "So talk about it! Ask your person what they need and be clear about your needs. Knowing the answer to this question will make you a better partner."
What They Consider Their Biggest Weakness
As much as you might admire and idolize your partner, everyone has weaknesses. If you know what your partner considers to be their weaknesses, you'll be better able to help them work on/through those over time.
"If you know your partner’s weak or vulnerable point, then, in all likelihood, you have an accurate and realistic picture of who they are as a person," Milrad says. "This understanding shows that they have revealed themselves to you and that you love them, warts and all."
Even if you feel like you already know everything there is to know about your partner, I guarantee there are many little tidbits of info you've yet to learn — so start talking.