There’s so much dating advice out there telling women how to get a man to commit, but not so much about whether you should commit to him.
Our relationships are just about the most important predictor of our happiness: and there’s hardly a relationship more important than who we choose as a spouse, potentially for the rest of our lives.
So here are 9 CRUCIAL questions to ask in a relationship before tying the knot, so that you know whether this is a man you could really be with long-term:
1. “Does he bring me up, or down?”
This is the most basic of all, but so many people forget to think about it. When you’re with your guy, do you feel better about who you are? Do you feel like you are appreciated for all your best qualities? When you spend time together, do you feel lighter, like your mood is lifted just by being with him? If the answer is yes, you have a keeper. But if you feel constantly criticized, under-valued, and made to feel bad about yourself, you know that this relationship won’t be healthy for you in the long-run.
2. “Do we want the same lifestyle?”
You want the country. He wants the city. You want to be active on weekends, he wants to sit around watching TV. You want to be settled in one place, he wants to be backpacking across South America and living one-day-at-a-time. Relationships are hard work. They’re even harder if you both have completely different ideas about how you picture your daily life. Choose a guy who already at least wants the same kind of life you do, even if you disagree on the little details about how big the kitchen should be, or which restaurant you want to try this week.
3. “Do I feel a unique sexual attraction?”
There’s no getting around it: he does it for you physically, or he doesn’t. Do you both feel that pull of wanting to grab and kiss one another? Sure, the wild early passion doesn’t stay the same forever, but you should feel like you have a sexual connection that works effortlessly from day 1, so that you know you have great chemistry. While it’s true sex can get better over time, the sexual attraction needs to be there from the first date.
4. “How much sex do we both want?”
Some of the most painful relationships are created when two people don’t put the same value on sex. There’s no one-size-fits-all rule for how much you should be having – the only answer is: enough to keep you both satisfied. Someone feeling like they aren’t getting enough is terribly damaging over a long period of time. It makes them feel rejected, unloved, and even resentful to the other person for not caring about something they need. Bottom line: Choose a guy with a sex drive that matches your own. This is one of the most difficult questions to ask in a relationship, but honesty now will save you both years of frustration later on.
5. “What is he like at his worst?”
This is HUGE. Does he throw enormous temper tantrums? Is he wildly possessive and jealous? Does he turn vicious and nasty in arguments in a way that makes you wonder what happened to the man you fell in love with? Some people think you should overlook the worst in your partner if you also want their best. That’s insane. Someone at their worst is something you’re going to have to deal with whenever times get hard, and those are the moments in a relationship when you most need someone who is going to support you and have your back.
6. “Where do I want to live?”
I can’t tell you how many couples I’ve known who have broken up over location. If you want to live in another country, another city, another continent, then it bears knowing this early, or else someone is going to be miserable at being dragged out of where they want to be for the sake of their partner. Yes, relationships are all about compromise, but make sure it’s a compromise you can actually deal with, rather than one that’s going to make you give up something that is crucial to your happiness.
7. “Is our vision for the next 5/10 years similar?”
Yep, you guessed it. Kids. Marriage. Houses. All these items on the menu need to be at least in both of your heads before committing to a future together. Just being in love sadly isn’t enough for a relationship to last. You need to both feel like you have an exciting shared vision for where you want to be in the next few years so that you’re both on the same page. Ignore this at your peril: the future comes sooner than you think, so make sure you both want the same one.
8. “Are our values similar?” (i.e. for kindness, for generosity, for ambition…)
You need to look at this man and see traits in him that you either aspire to possess more of or that you already possess. It might be how you both care about family. Or how generous you both are financially. Or maybe it’s how much you both care about spending quality time together and having a great work/life balance. Maybe you want a guy who appreciates being focused on his career because you also live to work. Whatever it is, look for a guy where you recognize a major piece of yourself in who he is.
9. Are you both willing to apologise and work on your mistakes?
Relationships can’t survive on one person alone taking all the burden when problems arise. A truly healthy relationship should have evidence that both partners are able to see their own flaws and (as difficult as it is) swallow their pride on occasion and apologize when they drop the ball.
This is ESSENTIAL for showing your relationship can grow and make progress. If your partner can never concede their mistakes in an argument, your future together will be a long uphill struggle.