Whether you’re in a new relationship or have been dating someone for a while, you maybe wondering where things are going. Of course, the more warning signs you get, the better, especially early on so no one wastes their time. When you first start a relationship, it might seem like you know everything about your partner and future is so clear, but as the glow of new found love fades, with it also might fade the assurance you once had.
1. Am I ready to share my entire life with my partner?
During the early dating phase, both partners tend to become the best possible versions of themselves, smoothing the rough edges and leaving out gritty details. They also tend to lead very separate lives. This is healthy and normal, but love means sharing all aspects of your life, openly and honestly. Are you ready to take that next step? What about finances? Many couples keep their money separated, but make bigger financial decisions together. Are you comfortable telling your partner about the low credit score that could keep you from obtaining a mortgage, or sharing the fact that you have a trust fund?
2. Do we truly know each other?
It is not necessary for loving couples to know every single experience that has occurred in 20 or 40 years of life, but it is important that your partner knows the highlights of your past, as well as who you are today. Do you understand each other’s values, views on child rearing, spending habits, and personalities? Have you seen each other at your best and worst? Do you know about each other’s emotional entanglements with exes, ailing relatives, and overly dramatic siblings? In the harsh light of reality, do you genuinely respect and even celebrate each other as complex individuals?
3. Do we agree on how to raise our kids?
Chances are you and your partner were raised very differently. Which means disagreements about how to bring up your kids could have an impact on your relationship. Ask yourself how you want to raise your kids. And if it’s different to your partner, it’s important neither of you feels criticised. Instead, run each situation past your partner and ask what they would do. Everyone is coming from their own experience of parenting. If a couple is suited they should complement each other and balance each other out. This can help you work together as a couple, and find middle ground when you have differing views.
4. How do you feel about finance?
Money is a factor in romantic relationships, and often a big one. Next to sex, money is the biggest generator of problems, arguments, and resentment in long-term relationships, so it’s good to ask your partner. A disparity in income can mean struggling about who pays for what, or whose income determines your lifestyle. Different financial habits (one likes to save, the other spends more or doesn’t keep track) can become a source of arguments. For many couples, separating your money makes things run smoother and you don’t wind up struggling for control.
5. How important is sex to you?
According to experts, if you can’t communicate verbally, you also won’t be able to communicate physically once the initial passion wears off. You need to learn how to communicate about sex, your wants and needs, your likes and dislikes; because your sex life will change as you stay together, and you need to be able to negotiate the changes with non-competitive communication. Be open about your sex life and let your partner know what you like – and don’t like.
6. Do we make decisions together?
From where to go for a family day trip through to what to have for dinner, it’s important you make decisions as a couple. Making joint decisions is vital for a healthy relationship. You don’t want to feel your partner isn’t making any decisions, while your partner doesn’t want to feel solely responsible for everything, either. It’s important to have regular conversations about making plans.
7. Can we sacrifice for each other sometimes?
One of the biggest components of lasting love is the security that comes with knowing you are there for each other, day in and day out, no matter what life throws your way. While this deeper security can only develop through shared experiences over time, by the time you are ready to declare your love, you should be fairly confident in the answer to this question.
8. Do I want to grow old with this person?
Picture yourself in 30 years’ time. Is your partner by your side? This is perhaps one of the most revealing questions about your relationship. Can you see yourself growing old with this person? If the answer is yes, you’re on to a relationship winner.
Before declaring your love for your new partner, sit down and honestly answer the questions above. You might realize that your love is true, or you might discover that you need a bit more time for it to develop.