Celebrating your one year anniversary can be a big deal, as it marks an entire 12 months since you started dating your partner, and forming the foundation of your relationship. But it can also serve as a great time to check in,
ask your partner a few questions, and assess where you stand as a couple.
While you certainly don't have to know everything about each other by
the one year mark, you might want to have a conversation about how things have gone thus far, what you both want for the future, and whether or not you're on the same page when it comes to things like commitment, boundaries, and goals.
If you find that you're still not sure how your partner feels about certain important aspects of a relationship, go ahead and ask. For example, "it is important that you have a good idea of your partner’s core values and goals," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at
Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle.
These are what your relationship will be built on going forward. While you can certainly check in and talk about your relationship at any time, the one year mark is as good a time as any to make sure you're both on the same page. Read on for some questions you should be able to
answer about your partner, once the relationship begins to feel serious.
How Do They Define Commitment?
By the one year mark, you should be well on your way to
defining the relationship — including what the word "commitment" means to your partner. So if you aren't sure how they feel, make it a point to ask.
This will help you both be on the same page in terms of what it means to be together, how you'd like to define cheating, and so on. "Talk about what you mean by words such as relationship, commitment, love, and faithfulness,"
psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina, LMFT, PhD, tells Bustle. "You'll be amazed by what you learn."
What Are Their Boundaries?
Everyone's different when it comes to what
types of boundaries they'd like to maintain in a relationship. So the sooner you can learn about what your partner wants and needs, the better.
"Knowing what your partner’s boundaries are in certain situations and respecting them can help you avoid arguments and build trust and respect for one another," relationship expert and
spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport, tells Bustle. "If you violate your partner’s boundaries or they violate yours, accidentally, you both need to step back, apologize and move forward, and remember what those boundaries are."
This will help you maintain a healthier relationship, going forward.
What Are Their Financial Goals?
Since money is one of the
top things couples argue about, knowing where your significant other stands when it comes to things like spending, saving, and paying off debts will be key.
"By your one-year anniversary, you should be able to
talk to your partner about finances, if you have not done so earlier," Rappaport says. "Whether you both have been sharing expenses or combining your finances, you want to make sure your partner budgets well and that any mutual financial plans you both have stay on track."
While money issues can be tough to talk about, knowing early on how you both view and handle finances can help prevent arguments down the road.
How Do They Like To Spend Their Free Time?
By the one year mark, you'll likely have a pretty good idea about how your partner spends their free time. And yet, you still may want to use this moment to assess how their interests align with yours.
"You don’t have to have identical interests but it is essential that you have a few things you enjoy doing together," Justin Lavelle, relationship expert and chief communications officer for
PeopleLooker, tells Bustle, as doing so will help keep your relationship fun and healthy going forward.
How they spend their free time can also tell you a lot about their values, which you'll want to make sure mesh with your own — especially if you'd like the relationship to last.
How Do They Handle Conflict?
There's a good chance you haven't had too many tough arguments by the one year mark. And yet it's still essential to figure out how your partner handles themselves
when times get tough.
"If you are usually good at diffusing each other's anger, and being supportive through times of grief or pain, your emotional bond will deepen as time goes on," Dr. Tessina says.
If you know that your partner reacts in a toxic way, however, it may be a
red flag for future conflict. "If your tendency is to react to each other and make the situation more volatile and destructive, you need to correct that problem before you live together," Dr. Tessina says.
How Do They Like To Be Loved?
When it comes to
giving and receiving love, everyone has a different idea of what feels right, and what doesn't. Some folks are all about going on dates, while others enjoy giving gifts, or holding hands. And knowing what your partner likes will be key.
"Sharing what actions and words mean love to you may be surprising," Dr. Tessina says. "Even if it's a struggle, discussing how you give and receive love will improve your relationship. You will understand what makes each of you feel loved, and how to express your love effectively."
Where Do They Want To Live?
By your first anniversary, you'll want to know where you partner sees themselves living in near future — especially if you're planning on moving in together soon.
"If you know what your partner’s dreams and career goals are (and they know yours), you can figure out how to plan and prepare for an eventual relocation if there may be one," Rappaport says.
And if you can't agree, knowing that sooner rather than later may save you a lot of heartache.
What Are Their Goals For The Future?
Talking about where you'd both like to live is important, but not as important as talking about your life goals in general. So if you don't know what your partner wants, make time to ask.
"In some cases, your partner’s life goals could conflict with yours," Bennett says. "It’s important to know your partner’s core goals and where those will lead. This relates to having kids, where [they want] to live, and other important lifestyle choices."
How Important Are Friends And Family?
While not everyone has a close connection with friends and family, the more you can know about the other important people in your partner's life, the healthier your relationship will be going forward.
You should be able to answer questions about conflicts in your partner's family, Dr. Tessina says, and what your relationships mean.
This can open the door to talking about other things, too, like how you plan to spend holidays, handle family conflicts, and how all of that may affect your future.
How Do They Feel About Your Sex Life?
This can be a tough topic to talk about, especially in the earlier days of dating. But as you get to know each other more, and as the relationship progresses, feeling comfortable enough to
talk about sex will prove to be quite beneficial.
"Sexual compatibility is an important part of a thriving relationship. Yet, few partners have an open and honest discussion about what they prefer in the bedroom," Bennett says.
This is something you can talk about any time of year, and at any stage of your relationship. But your one year anniversary can also be a great time to check in, and make sure you're both fulfilled.
Where Do They See The Relationship Going?
This will likely come up as you talk about commitment, but it never hurts to make sure you're on the same page with your partner in terms of the future of your relationship — especially if you're a year in and
still feel uncertain.
"If you feel like you’re in it for the long haul with your partner, you have to know what your partner’s vision is for the future of the relationship," Bennett says. "This includes your partner’s opinions on living together, marriage, and where the relationship should ultimately end up."
The one year mark is a great time to check in with your partner, to make sure you're both happy and fulfilled — as well as on the same page in terms of commitment and goals for the future. But remember, you can
learn more about each other and ask questions at any stage of the relationship.