When you meet someone who gives you butterflies, sometimes your first instinct is to begin dating and jump right into a relationship. However, if you’re dating someone new and start to think things may lead to something more serious, it would be in your best interest to take a step back. You’ll need to ask yourself if this is someone you really want to spend more time with. Letting the wrong person into your life could negatively impact you for many years to come. Be proactive and make an effort to see if this is really what you want. In order to decide how to proceed, ask yourself these relationship questions.
1. How does this person make me feel?
You should feel better after spending time with your date. If you find you feel worse after being with your new love, this is a sign your relationship isn’t healthy. A good relationship should bolster your self-esteem, not lower it.
Relationship expert Megan Raphael said a relationship won’t always be perfect or give you the tingles all the time, but you should have a general feeling of joy as a result of spending time with that special someone. “Healthy relationships, while occasionally causing the partners angst, overall bring joy, happiness, and contentment to the individuals. There may be issues, conflicts, disagreements and/or problems, but once these get worked out, the partners are left with and experience satisfaction,” Raphael writes in her eHarmony column.
2. Do we have similar life goals?
It might be fun to have very different interests and goals now, but this could be a source of conflict going forward. If your lives are going in two wildly separate directions, you may eventually find yourself at a point where you start to grow further and further apart. For example, if your goal is to travel internationally and do mission work while your partner is focused on climbing the corporate ladder, you may not gel in the long run. Having similar goals helps strengthen your union. Extremely different goals may result in discord.
3. Do we share similar beliefs?
You may have passionate discussions about politics, religion, and ethics now, but in the long run this can become tiring if your views are too different. Eventually, a noticeable clash in belief systems could go from being exciting to feeling like you’re sleeping with the enemy.
Lee Woofenden, an ordained minister and founder of Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life, says even though love is an important part of any relationship, it’s one’s core belief system that often determines whether a relationship will survive the test of time. “Common beliefs, common values, common morals and ethics, common goals in life — over time these, or the lack of them, will make or break your relationship,” Woofenden warns.
4. Would this person get along with my family?
This question is especially important if you have young children. If you know immediately a potential mate would not mesh well with your family, you have some serious thinking to do. Life is difficult enough, but adding family discord to the mix can transform your days and nights into a living hell. When it comes to your children, their well-being must come first. If you realize a new love would not be a good fit for your family, it’s time to take steps toward dissolving the relationship.
5. Is he or she financially responsible?
You’ve heard it before — never let anything come between true love, especially money. While we advocate for not judging your partner based on their debt, you’ll really have to consider whether you want to get serious with someone who has a bad spending habit. At the very least, eHarmony recommends knowing where your partner stands when it comes to their finances. If they’re in need of money help, this may show an irresponsible side to their personality you didn’t see before.
6. Am I attracted to him or her?
This may sound shallow or even ridiculous, but it’s an important part of the equation. Surprisingly, people get involved with someone they don’t find attractive for various reasons. It could be money, fear of being alone, low self-esteem, family pressure, the list goes on. Remember that if you decide to get serious and eventually marry, you will have to wake up next to this person for a very long time. Along the way, you will find other people attractive, and it will be much harder to resist temptation if you have issues with your partner’s physical appearance. This is one question you should think about carefully.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it can provide a good starting point. For more relationship questions, take a look at 7 Questions You Should Ask on a First Date.
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Additional reporting by Lauren Weiler