50 Questions To Ask Your Partner To Make Sure You're On The Same Page

“What does a balanced relationship look like to you?”

by Eva Taylor Grant and Carolyn Steber
Originally Published: 
These relationship check-in questions will ensure you and your partner are on the same page.

The early days of a relationship are a wonderful whirlwind because falling in love is fun. It's all dates and makeouts and exciting conversations as far as the eye can see. But if you're looking for a long-term commitment, it won’t hurt to pause for a second and ask each other a few important questions to determine if you're on the same page.

This will help prevent the dreaded moment that often befalls seemingly perfect relationships, and that’s when you get a few months in and suddenly realize you don’t want the same things. It isn’t always easy to check in and ask the big questions, but it’s necessary if you want to avoid this type of heartbreak down the road.

Of course, there are the famed 36 questions that lead to love from The New York Times, which is so perfect for early dates. It includes things like, "Would you like to be famous?" and "What does friendship mean to you?" These are good go-tos if you want a light convo, but according to relationship coaches Diana and Todd Mitchem, you’ll eventually need to dig deeper, especially as time goes on.

"Knowing what you and your partner's expectations are when it comes to your relationship status, intimacy, and future is the difference between making it and breaking it," they tell Bustle. "When you are in a relationship, you should never assume that your partner wants exactly the same things that you do."

The Mitchems call this "mind-reading" and they say it only ever results in stress, anxiety, and miscommunication. Whether you’ve been dating for three weeks, three months, or three years, you’ll want to constantly check in with each other to make sure you’re still heading in the same direction.

Here are 50 questions to ask your significant other to make sure you're on the same page, according to experts.


"What do we want our love life to look like?"


While this might not be the first thing out of your mouth on a Hinge date, it should be something you talk about early on.

According to Kristin Marie Bennion, a licensed clinical social worker, many couples don't talk about this until they hit troubled waters. Instead of trying to fix things after the deed is done, be open and honest about what you like in the bedroom, what you don’t like, etc.

Bennion suggests chatting about things like boundaries, frequency, and what types of experiences you'd be open to.


"What counts as cheating?"

From there, you can dive deeper and talk about how you define cheating. Does flirting count as cheating? Or liking someone’s Instagram post? What about having a crush on someone at work?

"These are all questions that you want to ask to ensure you and your partner are on the same page and feel secure with one another," says Susan Trombetti, a matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking.

Be open about what constitutes crossing the line, and it will (hopefully) prevent a hurtful situation in the future.


"How do you think things are going with us?"

This question is a gold mine when it comes to figuring out where you stand as a couple right now, as well as what's on your partner's mind for the future. Just make sure you ask it in an open-ended way, says Carla Romo, a dating and relationship coach. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting a bland and unhelpful "good" as a response.


"What does a balanced relationship look like to you?"

Nobody wants their relationship to feel unbalanced or unfair, so make sure you get this out in the open early on. "This will give you a blueprint of what each of you wants from the relationship," the Mitchems say. Once you’ve shared your priorities and expectations, you can see if they're aligned — and make adjustments as necessary.


"What do we need to do to improve in our relationship?"

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Admitting that you and your partner might have room for improvement isn’t easy, but it’s way better than putting up with annoying habits, quirks, and misunderstandings. So go ahead and open the floor for discussion.

If your partner tells you, for example, that they'd appreciate having more open and honest communication, then you can prioritize that going forward.


"What are your goals for our relationship?

Be bold and ask your partner what their goals are for the future of your relationship, and just like that you'll get to see if they line up with your own — no guessing required.

Plus, "this is a question that will have your partner stumped if they don’t see you as a serious partner," the Mitchems says, which might be all the answer you need.


"What's your idea of a healthy relationship?"

While it might sound heavy to ask your SO to define a healthy relationship, this type of question can actually be really fun to answer. You can talk about what the ideal Saturday might look like and how much you’d like to raise a dog together — and it can paint a whole picture and get you both excited for the future.

From there, you can get into the stickier stuff, like how you’ll show up for each other when times are tough. Later in the relationship, as life throws new things at you — like bills and health concerns — you can keep asking this question to see how your definition might need to be updated.


"Do we have an ongoing problems that need to be solved?”

Again, it isn’t easy to admit that your relationship is flawed, but this type of question is brave in the best way. It’ll lay everything out on the table so you can fix ongoing issues together, instead of becoming furious over the same problems again and again

According to the Mitchems, "figuring out why a specific problem is a trigger point for either one of you, and figuring out how to get rid of it, will save you time, stress, and anxiety in your relationship."

Remember, if your partner isn't receptive to this kind of conversation, they may not be a good match.


“How do you argue in relationships?”

According to Tacha Kasper, MA, a licensed marriage and family therapist, every single person on earth has their own “stress reaction” or ingrained fight-or-flight response when they’re surprised, scared, or upset.

Some people yell when they’re mad while others shut down or disappear, and this will be good to know about each other well before your first argument. If your partner tends to go quiet while you yell, it can make the situation so much worse, as both of you will feel misunderstood.

By learning about each other's argument style, it’ll allow you to agree on a set of rules to resolve arguments, she says, so you can remain on the same team and work through these stressful moments together.


“What does your schedule look like when we’re not together?”


According to Cherlyn Chong, a breakup and dating specialist from Steps to Happyness, this is an interesting question because it not only shows a desire to find out more about your partner’s day-to-day, but it’s also a way to gauge more about their commitment level, especially if you follow up by asking how often they’d like to go on dates.

“If they are not at the same place as you in the relationship, they will be uncomfortable with you seemingly intruding on their space and time,” she says.


“What are your dealbreakers in a relationship?”

One night, when you’re feeling particularly bold, ask your partner what they aren’t willing to compromise on in a relationship. This question is all about values, and it will likely get you talking about religious views, thoughts on marriage and kids, political leanings, and more.

As you chat, you might realize that differences in personality and communication styles aren’t dealbreakers, says Kendra A. O'Hora, Ph.D., a licensed clinical marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. It’s totally OK if you don’t like the same music or if your SO is extroverted while you’re more introverted.

"True dealbreakers are the pieces of one's belief system that are unable to be negotiated,” she says. If you don't agree on the big stuff, a long-term relationship might not be in the cards.


"What would you like to see more of in our relationship?"

According to the Mitchems, you should ask your partner what they think is working in your relationship, as well as what they would like to see more of going forward. This will put the attention back on the positives in your relationship, and it will allow you to keep showing up for each other.

Asking this question can be fun, too, especially if they say something like "more dates" and you've been thinking the same.


"What are your financial goals?"

Finances are a huge source of stress in many relationships. In fact, one-third of millennial couples have broken up over financial differences, which is why it's important to discuss this topic early and often.

On the first couple of dates, you can bring up the small things, like who should pay for dinner, and as time goes on, you can tackle the big stuff, like how you’ll divvy up your bills.

Eventually, you should also talk about long-term goals, like how you plan to pay off a major debt or buy a house, Romo says, as well as what that process might look like.


"Are we ready to take the next big step in our relationship?”


When it comes to exclusivity, sharing an apartment, having children, or getting married, you'll want to know where your partner stands in terms of moving the relationship forward, the Mitchems say. If your partner hasn't thought it through, asking the question will put it out in the open so you can align your goals.


"What makes you feel loved?"

This question will start a chat about your love languages. Some people show their love through words of affirmation, like saying “I love you” or sending lots of sweet texts, while others are all about giving gifts or quality time.

“You may think the way you feel loved is the way your partner feels loved, but that may not be the case," says Anita A. Chlipala, a licensed marriage and family therapist. By finding out more about each other’s love languages, it’ll hopefully help prevent hurt feelings, and ensure you always treat each other right.


"Where do you see us in a year?"

"This is a fundamental question that allows you and your partner to explore the direction of your relationship, if you are both aligned on the future, and if they are serious and see you in their life," the Mitchems say.

If it seems like too big of a question, you can also ask your partner, "Where do you see yourself in a year?" Then see if they are factoring you into that plan.


"How do you feel about having kids?”

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If you're set on having or not having kids, you'll want to know where your partner stands. While some couples like to figure it out as they go, others are staunchly on one side or the other, and you’ll need to know that ASAP.

It might not seem like first-date material, but Romo says this dealbreaker is so big that it’s always better to find out early instead of wasting your time.

“There are three types of people: Those that must have children, those that don't want children, and those who will defer to their partner's preference,” adds relationship expert Susan Winter. “You need to know which one you are, and which one defines your partner.”


"Are you open to therapy?"

How someone feels about therapy can say a lot about them. According to O’Hora, knowing your partner would be down for couples therapy could come as a huge relief, especially since most partners eventually experience tough times.

This question could also reveal whether or not your partner is open to observing their own flaws or changing bad habits. If someone rolls their eyes at the thought of seeking outside support, it may be a red flag.


"What's it like to be you right now?"

The goal of this question is to help you get back in touch with each other, says counselor James Cochran, MA, LCPC, NCC. "Are they overwhelmed about something? Excited? Checking in this way can give us all kinds of insight,” he says.


"What do you hope never changes about our relationship?"

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This is a cute way to find out more about what your partner appreciates in your relationship and what makes them feel content and secure.

For example, you might be surprised to hear how much your partner loves eating dinner together every night or watching movies on Fridays.

"Clarifying what’s important to them can help make your relationship stronger in the long run by making sure the things that seem small to you aren’t overlooked,” says Ned Presnall, a licensed clinical social worker.


"What would you like to see us doing in five years?"

It’s understandable that you might not be in the same place in your life and career at this exact moment, but if you plan to be together in the long run, you should know what each other’s visions are for the future.

“This question wants clarification on life goals and partnership goals,” Winter tells Bustle. “If you want to begin a family and your partner tells you they want to be climbing the Himalayas and trekking through remote parts of the world, your future vision may be at odds,” she adds. “Five years is enough time to settle into your respective careers and have a plan of action for your future.”


“Do you feel like anything is missing from our relationship?”

Part of relationship upkeep is checking in when things are good so you can prevent them from becoming bad. “Maybe your partner thinks everything is great,” says Winter, “but maybe they secretly feel something's missing. This is a great way to ask the question before the concern becomes a problem.”


“Where would you like to live?”

It may seem obvious, but things change as you get older, move up in your career, and grow as a person. It’s important to check in and be sure you’re still on the page. “Some people want to stay close to family, especially if they plan on having children,” adds Winter. “Others want to be as far away from family as possible. Where you live will give you an idea of your lifestyle, and that's an important consideration.”


“What’s an ideal home for you?”

If you plan to be together long enough to live together, you’re going to want to agree on some things about the house or apartment you move into and if they prefer to live in a city or have more privacy and space. “This goes one step further than just thinking about living together,” says Chong. “This is about building a home. And if your partner has pictured this already, especially with you in mind, it's a great indicator of how serious they are about you.”


"How can we make each other’s lives easier?”


As a relationship goes on, it's easy to take a partner for granted and become blind to how much effort they put in. Your partner might not realize that you’re constantly buying groceries and you might overlook the fact that they’re always walking your dog.

By asking each other how to make each other’s lives easier, you can strike a better balance, help pick up some slack, and ensure that you both feel seen.

"These questions should be revisited regularly as you both grow and change because the answers might also change,” says psychiatrist Sean Paul, M.D.


“What was your last relationship like?”

If your partner has a history of toxic relationships, they might have a skewed sense of what’s healthy and what isn’t, and that’s something you’ll want to know. Are they coming in with baggage? Have they learned and grown?

It could also be interesting to hear about all the good stuff to help you get an idea about what your partner values in a relationship.


“How did your last relationship end?”

Similarly, it could be helpful to ask about how their past relationships ended. Was it a big, messy breakup? Or a completely amicable split? This could reveal a lot about how your partner acts in relationships, and how they handle less-than-ideal situations.

As you listen, pay attention, too, to how your partner speaks about their ex. This can be so eye-opening, especially if they place all of the blame on them.


“What are your icks?”

Everyone has something that gives them the ick in relationships, and it’s better if you know now to see if you’re compatible. If you chew really loud, your partner might choose to bail. And vice versa.


“What’s one thing you would change about how you acted in past relationships?”

This is a chance to curl up on the couch together and get super vulnerable. It isn’t easy to talk about the things you’ve done wrong as a partner in the past, but if your current relationship is meant to be it might be easy to open up.

Your partner might admit they wish they had been more understanding or less selfish. Whatever they say, it can lead to chats about how they changed or what they’d still like to work on.


“What does your ideal weekend look like?”

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Take some time to paint a picture for each other of a perfect weekend and see how they line up. Your partner might say that they love the idea of going to a farmer’s market, getting coffee, and then hitting the gym, while you might envision a 24-hour long bed rot day. Whatever the case may be, it’ll be fun to hear about each other’s ideal day — and see how they align.


“How much space do you need in a relationship?”

Experts say it’s healthy to spend time apart in a relationship, though it isn’t always easy to part ways. Not to mention, many couples have differing opinions when it comes to alone time.

“Taking time for ourselves may seem selfish, as though we're avoiding our partner,” Rachel Astarte, a clinical hypnotherapist with Healing Arts New York, previously told Bustle.

In reality, though, it’s good for both of you. “Brief periods of solitude recharge our soul batteries and allow us to give even more to our partners and to the relationship itself.”


“How often do you talk to your parents?”

It might become clear that your partner is on the phone with their mom five times a day, but it’ll also be helpful to ask about family connections, including why they’re so important.

This will give you a clear vision of your partner’s priorities and connection to their fam, and it’ll allow you to share how you feel about your own family history.


“How important is it to you that we know each other’s families?”

This is good to know, especially if your partner’s family lives nearby. Some people dream about becoming close with their in-laws, while others think it sounds like a nightmare.

Be honest with each other now about how often you plan to visit, FaceTime, etc. It could also say a lot if a new partner is excited to introduce you to their siblings, parents, or cousins.


“How do you like to celebrate holidays?”

Not only will a chat about holidays touch on religion — which, again, can be a big dealbreaker — but it’ll also give you an idea about what to expect come Christmas, Hanukkah, or even the 4th of July.


“How do you handle stress?”

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Life is stressful, to say the least, and it’s important to recognize that you likely have your own ways of blowing off steam.

Does your partner like to go for a run when they’re frustrated or lie down alone in the dark? Knowing this will help you support them and better understand their needs.

If they don’t know how to handle stress, you could also consider that a red flag. If you put a lot of effort into managing your stress, it might not work to be with someone who isn’t on that level.


“Are you a cat person or a dog person?”

Ah, the fundamental question: Are you a cat or a dog person? While many say the answer can reveal a lot about a person’s personality, it can also be as simple as what type of pet you’d like to adopt. Do you envision going to the shelter to get a kitten or a puppy? It could be fun to think about how the answer could play into your future plans.


“How do you feel if someone looks through your phone?”

Privacy is a major factor in any relationship. While everyone deserves this right, there’s also an unspoken idea that you might let your walls down a little once you couple up.

Before you get to that point, discuss what your boundaries might be. According to LeslieBeth Wish, a licensed psychotherapist and founder of Love Victory, the phone is a major source of contention in many relationships, so start there.

"Hiding your cell phone or changing the login [are habits that can cause trust issues]," she previously told Bustle. Would you want the type of relationship where you keep your tech unlocked? It’ll be good to know now so you don’t feel paranoid later.


“Who do you think should pay for a date?”

While some people prefer to split the bill on a first date, others expect the person who did the inviting to pay. Instead of feeling awkward when the server arrives with the check, try talking about it right then and there, as a way to clear the air.

While it’s never easy to chat money, it’ll spare you both from having to do the fake wallet grab, and it’ll also reveal from day one how you approach money and dating traditions.


“Is it easy for you to apologize?”

For a quick and dirty maturity check, ask your partner how they tend to apologize after doing something wrong. By asking for the details, you’ll get to see if they’re a) able to apologize and b) if they do it sufficiently.


“How do you make important decisions?”

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The biggest decisions you’ll have to make in the early days of your relationship will be where to go for dinner and which new movies to see. After that, things get trickier.

Everyone makes decisions differently — and some can’t make them at all. Since this can be a dealbreaker, it’ll be beneficial to know early on if you’re a good match in this department.


“Would you let me know if you were mad at me?”

It’s not uncommon for people to silently stew when they’re mad. Instead of letting their partner know they’re upset, they’ll go quiet, become passive-aggressive, or hold it all in until they explode during an argument six months later.

Since none of that is healthy, check in now by asking your partner if they would speak up. To ensure you have a good connection now and into the future, you can both work together to create the kind of connection where it’s OK to be honest.


“Would you let me know if you wanted to break up?”

In the same way, many people are completely afraid to break up with a partner. They might worry that they’ll hurt your feelings, but they also might not want to let go of the past or give up a potential future.

Instead of talking it out, they’ll cheat, back away, or try to push you to do the dirty work, and that’s obviously so unfair. It sounds strange, but try asking your partner if they’d be able to leave you, and see what they say.


“Do you hope we have the same or separate friend groups?”

Some people love their partner’s friends more than their own friends. They immediately fit into the group and feel part of the family, and it’s something that can make you feel extra close to your SO.

That said, this dynamic isn’t for everyone. If you prefer to have your own close-knit group of friends and don’t plan on always bringing your partner around, let them know. They might totally get it, or they might not, and that’s something you’ll need to know.


“How do you feel about joint checking accounts?”

“Until a relationship is formalized, pooling money is a risky business,” Erica McCurdy, a life coach previously told Bustle. And many experts recommend maintaining your own money even after you get married. Talk with your partner now to see how you both feel about shared finances.


“What’s your ideal way to split chores as a couple?”

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Nothing’s worse than moving in with a partner and immediately realizing you have mismatched opinions about how to run a house.

If your partner is extremely sloppy, for instance, then you can expect to feel frustrated and overworked 24/7 — and there’s nothing fair about that.

Before you ever sign a lease, get on the same page about chores, cleanliness, etc. If your partner’s current place is a mess, or you don’t think you’re on the same page, you may decide to part ways.


“What would you do if I had a medical emergency?”

Some people really show up during tough times, while others are nowhere to be found. Even though no one can predict how they’d react in an emergency, it won’t hurt to ask your partner how they envision themselves taking care of you ever if you got sick or need to be rushed to the ER. Would they stay all night and hold your hand? Or does that sound like too much to ask? Their answer will be eye-opening.


“How do you care for someone when they’re sick?”

It’ll also be helpful to hear your partner describe how they take care of people when they’ve got a common, run-of-the-mill cold. If they’re the type to run to Target to pick up medicine and soup without having to be asked, you may have found yourself a keeper.


“How would you feel if your ex contacted you?”

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This question can reveal so much about how ready your partner is to be in a relationship. If they’re still hung up on their ex, you’ll know right away by how they answer.

That said, it can also be a good sign, in many cases, if they’re still on good terms with their ex. It’ll be up to you to decide what you’re willing to deal with, but the more information you have, the better.


“What’s your favorite thing about me?”

Here’s another eye-opening Q. Ask your partner what they love most about you, and then secretly analyze their response.

If they start to list all the things you do for them, it might mean that they’re more in love with the idea of you, instead of you as a person.

If they start to list your personality traits and achievements, well, that’s a good sign. Of course, if they can’t answer or only come up with one random thing, that can say a lot, too.


“How would you define love?”

If you find that you’ve asked all of these questions, or if you want one more ultimate test, have your partner share their definition of love.

Ask them to describe love and what it means, or how true love makes them feel, and be sure to tell them how you like to define love, too.


Diana and Todd Mitchem, relationship coaches

Susan Trombetti, matchmaker

Tacha Kasper, MA, LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist

Kristin Marie Bennion, licensed clinical social worker

Kendra A. O'Hora, Ph.D., LCMFT, licensed clinical marriage and family therapist

Carla Romo, dating and relationship coach

James Cochran, MA, LCPC, NCC, counselor

Anita A. Chlipala, LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist

Ned Presnall, LCSW, licensed clinical social worker

Sean Paul, MD, pscychiatrist

Susan Winter, relationship expert

Cherlyn Chong, breakup and dating specialist from Steps to Happyness

Rachel Astarte, clinical hypnotherapist with Healing Arts New York

LeslieBeth Wish, author, licensed psychotherapist, founder of Love Victory

Erica McCurdy, life coach

This article was originally published on June 27, 2018.

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