In the early days of dating, you might
feel unsure about the future of your relationship. And that's OK. It can take a while to work up the nerve to talk with your partner about moving in together, where you both see the relationship in five years, and so on. But you should be able to get there, eventually.
"Once you have been dating a while it is a good idea to have a discussion to see where things are going,"
therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, tells Bustle. "And you should feel confident in bringing up any issues." If you're concerned you aren't on the same page, for example, this'll be something you'll want to talk about ASAP.
That said, it can be tricky to figure out how to broach these topics, which is where low-pressure questions can come in handy. Since relationships are a big investment of time and energy, "it’s fair to ask about your
partner’s goals for the future and where you fit into that plan," Jonathan Bennett, certified counselor and co-founder of Double Trust Dating and Relationships, tells Bustle.
But there are ways to go about this in a gentler way, to start. It's perfectly fine to ask smaller questions first, and work up to bigger conversations down the road. Here are a few ways to
talk about your relationship's future, with a few simple questions. 1 "How Do You Think We're Doing?"
If you aren't sure about your relationship's future, it can help to throw in a "how do you think we're doing?" type question, whenever the moment feels right. This is a way to talk about the relationship thus far, without backing anyone into a corner.
"Opening up the conversation for a relationship check-in is a nice soft approach to get valuable information from your partner," Erika Boissiere, LMFT and founder of
The Relationship Institute of San Francisco , tells Bustle.
By asking how they think things have been going, and throwing in your two cents, you can effectively get a conversation started about your relationship, as well as where it might be headed.
2 "How Does Our Relationship Make You Feel?"
You can also ease into this convo by telling your partner how the relationship makes you feel — excited, happy, content, etc. — and then asking how it's been making
"Stating your feelings about the relationship is another type of question to get the discussion moving," Boissiere says. "Be able to cite the specific things that have [made] you happy and why." And go from there.
This question can open the door for a
conversation about feelings and emotions — which aren't always easy to talk about. After sharing your thoughts, "allow for your partner to play catch up with you as you introduce the topic," Boissiere says. Once you've opened up, they should feel more comfortable doing the same. 3 "What Do You Look For In A Long-Term Partner?"
In the early days of dating, you might want to ask your partner what they look for in a long-term partner. "This is a play on trying to understand if your partner sees you [as someone they can be with long term]," Boissiere says. "Do they name some qualities that you have?" If so, it's a good sign for the future.
4 "What Are Your Goals?"
If you want to be even more low-key, you can simply
ask your partner about their goals , to see if they align with your own, and to gain more info.
"Asking about general goals can give you an insight into what your partner thinks about the relationship," Bennett says. "For example, if [they don't] mention anything about you or [bring] up things that would end the relationship (like a job relocation), you know commitment isn’t a priority."
From there, you can either kick back and see what happens, or take things into your own hands by asking a few follow up questions. If you'd like to be in a committed, long-term relationship, then be straight forward about it and let your partner know.
5 "Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?"
Another way to go about it, without putting a ton of your pressure on a new relationship — or forcing your partner to list out their goals — is to casually ask where they see themselves in fives years.
"It can give you an idea of your partner’s priorities as well as your place in that future," Bennett says. "If [they say] nothing about the relationship, it’s a red flag."
6 "What Are Your Plans For The Holidays?"
It never hurts to ask about future holidays plans, especially since being a part of your partner's "plans for celebrating a holiday is a good indication as to where you stand in the relationship," says Hershenson.
Did they ask you to joint them? Did they express interest in
having you meet their family in the future? Meeting the family is a big step for most people, so your partner's response can be quite eye-opening.
Of course, if there aren't any plans just yet, that's OK. At the very least, this question will start a dialogue between you two about what's important, and where you hope the relationship goes.
7 "Where Would You Like To Move?"
Talking about future plans for moving, or where you'd both like to live someday, can be helpful, too. By asking your partner
where they see themselves living in the future, you can begin to gauge their feelings.
And, it can get a convo going about how committed you both are to each other. As Hershenson says, "It is not a good sign if they are planning on moving without including you in the discussion," for example.
Then again, if your partner is talking about moving, they might not be sure of
your commitment. So if you'd like to be in this relationship for the long-haul, be sure to let each other know. While it may not always be comfortable, communication is a key component of a healthy relationship. Though you can ease into the topic of commitment with questions like these, you will want to be honest and forthright about the future, too.