If you ask me, the idea that a relationship is ~meant to be~ is mostly BS. You can be totally happy and fulfilled in your relationship, but that doesn't mean that the stars aligned to make it so: even the healthiest relationships take a lot of effort, and they don't "work out" by accident. In order for a relationship to last long-term, you need to take time to really get to know your partner — because the more you know about each other, the more confident you can be that they're really "The One" you're meant to be with forever.
"A couple is 'meant to be' when two factors are present: connection and timing," Rhonda Milrad, LCSW and Founder of online relationship community Relationup, tells Bustle. "When there is a deep connection between a couple and this aligns with the couple’s readiness to be in a long-term relationship, then the partnership can feel like it is 'meant to be.' If either is missing, then the magic won’t be there."
Ultimately, the way you know it's meant to be isn't some magical feeling: it's the simple knowledge that you and your partner know each other inside and out — and totally accept each other. You've spent so much time together that now you're like a walking encyclopedia of your partner.: you know everything from the name of their first kiss to their food allergies to their least favorite Spice Girl. If you can answer these 13 important questions about your significant other., it's a sign that the two of you are serious and in sync enough to take the next step in your relationship, whether that's moving in together or tying the knot.
1What Is Their Absolute Dream Job?
If you're planning to build a future together, it's important that you have a clear idea of what your partner's professional goals are. Where do they want to be in five, 10, or 20 years?
"Couples often focus on superficial things like 'we both love Harry Potter' or 'we both love coffee,' but knowing your partner's ideal job/career shows you know a lot about his or her core values, and that you have conversations that run deeper than just 'how was your day?'" David Bennett, certified counselor, relationship expert, and owner of The Popular Man, tells Bustle. Talking about your career goals early on is a sign that you're serious about each other, and want to help each other succeed in all aspects of life.
2How Do They Feel About Marriage/Kids?
Obviously, if you're hoping this relationship lasts forever, it's crucial to be on the same page when it comes to important issues like marriage and children. You don't need to prematurely plan out all the details of your hypothetical future wedding, but you should at least know what your partner envisions for your future as a couple, so you can be sure it aligns with what you want for your future. If you can't compromise on something as important as a wedding or having kids, then the relationship probably isn't' meant to be.
3What Do They Love/Hate About Their Family?
Every family has its own unique issues and quirks. If your partner can identify what they like and dislike about their family dynamic, and feels comfortable disclosing that to you, then that's a sign that your relationship is stable and full of trust.
"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."
4Where Do They Want To Settle Down?
Just like you should have an idea what your partner wants to be doing in ten years, you should also know where they want to be in the future. Someone's preferred "settling down" location says a lot about them, and if the two of you have vastly different ideas of where you want to end up one day, that could mean a premature end to your happily ever after.
5What's Their Medical History?
It will take a long time to get to the point where you've memorized your partner's family tree, complete with medical history footnotes. But if you're serious about your partner, you probably have a general idea what their personal medical history looks like — surgeries, broken bones, chronic illnesses, or medications. Plus, taking care of a partner when they're sick is actually a really romantic gesture, so knowing their some of their medical background is a win-win.
6What's Their Financial Situation?
It might not seem fun or sexy to talk about things like budgets and debts, but it is absolutely necessary to know about your long-term partner's financial situation before you entangle your bank accounts.
"Money is the number one relationship killer," Monica Parikh, dating coach and founder of School of Love NYC, tells Bustle. "Talk openly about finances from the start. Are your values in alignment? If they aren’t, can you create a common game plan for the future? Make note of your partner’s debts and whether he or she has realistic plans (and the tenacity necessary) to tackle them."
7What Makes Them Laugh The Most?
There's nothing better than sharing a sense of humor with your partner. Being aware of what makes your partner laugh shows that your humor is in sync, and that you just ~get~ how to make them smile.
"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!"
8What’s Their Biggest Sexual Fantasy?
Knowing how to communicate about sex with your partner is imperative in any healthy relationship. If you're both aware of each other's kinks, fetishes, and fantasies, that shows that you're able to converse openly about sex — which will be super helpful in the long run.
"Knowing this answer means that you and your partner are able to discuss sex in an open and honest way," Milrad says. "It also suggests that both of you feel secure as individuals and in the relationship and that the other’s sexual fantasies don’t threaten you."
9Who Is Their BFF?
Being in a long-term relationship means that, eventually, you'll get to know each other's friends and family. As cheesy as it sounds, it's really romantic to learn who your partner's best friends are, because it gives you important insight into their personality.
"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.
10How Does Your Partner Like To Be Comforted?
If I'm having a bad day, there's nothing I like more than some good old-fashioned cuddling — but not everyone likes to be comforted in the same way, and it shows a lot of thoughtfulness if you know exactly how to comfort your partner.
"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," Stacey Ojeda, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, tells Bustle. "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."
11How Often Do They Want A Date Night?
Even if you feel like your relationship is "meant to be," it's easy to fall into a rut when you've been together forever. The two of you should be on the same page about how often you have date nights, so you always feel like a fun, fresh, brand-new couple.
"Are date nights a weekly, monthly, annual occurrence?" Ojeda asks. "Being on the same page of what some planned romance looks like it paramount in keeping the fire alive! Everyone wants to feel special and connected, but the frequency of that is different for everyone so know what your partner needs."
12Do They Like Surprises?
There are two kinds of people in the world: people who like surprises, and people who hate surprises. If you're truly in tune with your partner, you'll be thoughtful and attentive enough to know how they would react to something like a surprise birthday party.
"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," Ojeda says.
13What's Their Biggest Weakness?
The best relationships aren't the ones where both partners wear rose-colored glasses and put each other on a pedestal. In real relationships, you're aware of your partner's flaws and weaknesses, but still love them regardless.
"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."
Ultimately, the only real way to figure out if your relationship is ~meant to be~ is to truly dive deep and get to know your partner, and then decide whether your views, desires, and dreams are compatible. If you're lucky, your significant other will be The One — and if not, there are plenty more fish in the sea.