Dating is all fun in games until you're suddenly in love with someone and seriously thinking about making it "forever" with them. Beyond the warm-and-fuzzy feelings and the butterflies, there are a lot of other realities in life that affect how relationships work.
As much as we want to believe that love can conquer all, there are some things that can make or break a relationship down the road. These are some vital things you should know about bae before committing for the long haul.
What Are His Career Goals?
Someone's career goals say a lot about their ambition, discipline, perseverance, interests, and their values. Does he prefer to make a lot of money in a field he moderately likes, or would he rather pursue his dreams even if he won't be rich? Are his career goals realistic? These are all things that might affect your future together.
Do You Have Compatible Cleanliness Habits?
Disagreements about how clean and organized how you want your home to be can create a lot of tension in a relationship. If you foresee a future with the guy you're dating, it's worth figuring out how similar your views on home organization are, and seeing if you can find a middle ground that works for both of you.
What Are His Future Lifestyle Preferences?
You might have a dream of moving to a more rural or suburban area, but he might have his sights set on a big city. Differences in city size preference alongside housing type (i.e. large house vs. apartment vs. condo) can create significant problems for couples, especially if you each see your preferences extending long into the future.
What Are His Spending Habits Like?
It can be hard to talk about finances, but you need to know your partner's history and attitude toward debt, loans, savings plans, and spending. If the guy you are dating is too frugal or too frivolous with their spending and debts, it can drive you away from them in the long run.
What Is His Emotional Intelligence Level?
Emotional intelligence has gained a lot more attention in the past 25 years or so. Someone's ability to process, manage, and understanding their own emotions as well as recognize and empathize with others' emotions is important to all relationships. You need to make sure you're moving into the future with someone who has the capacity to emotionally relate with you.
How Does He Address Conflict?
Is he passive-aggressive? Is he able to address conflict in a healthy way, or does he let problems build up until he explodes? How does he respond to conflicts you bring up? Is he understanding and receptive, or is he dismissive? Conflict occurs in all relationships, and being able to work through it together is a vital part of any successful relationship.
What Are His Views On Major Political Issues?
As much as we sometimes want to separate politics from our love lives, someone's stances on major political issues can be an important indicator of their values in life. Does he support LGBTQ+ people? Would he vote for a female president? What is his opinion on female body autonomy? All of these things show not only how he views the world, but how he values other people and even you.
Does He View You As His Equal?
All good relationships have an underlying foundation of mutual respect. Your partner should view you as his equal—almost like his teammate in life. He shouldn't look down upon you, especially based on things such as salary, grades, or perceived intelligence, but should value you and treat you as if you both are always on the same level.
What Is His Family Like?
When you date someone (or think about marrying someone), his family is part of the package. Of course, you shouldn't judge him based solely on his family, but you should also be aware of their dynamics, how they treat you, and how he reacts to their behavior. For example, will he throw you under the bus to please his parents?
What Are His Religious/Spiritual Beliefs?
Someone's religious and spiritual beliefs can highlight their personal way of viewing the world. I'm not saying that you and your partner need to have your beliefs align perfectly, but they are something you should be aware of. You should also know if he wants you to convert to a certain religion, or vice versa.
Does He Want Kids?
Some people envision themselves growing up and starting a family with a bunch of little ones, and some have no intention of ever having a child. Whatever side of the spectrum you fall on, it's important to know that you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to kids. You wouldn't want to find out far down the road, and end up either breaking up or one person being forced to compromise.
... If You Do Plan On Having Kids, How Would You Parent Them Together?
There isn't a singular correct way to raise children, and parenting styles vary widely across cultures, countries, and individual families. If you do think that children might be part of your future, you should talk to your partner about how you each would approach parenting and see how similar or compatible your styles and values are on the subject.
What Are His Work-Life Balance Priorities?
Does he intend on taking paternity leave should you have children? Would he put his career advancement ahead of his family? How many hours of work would he be comfortable with working on a weekly basis, and would he expect you to be flexible around his schedule? You need to know how his career and work will impact your relationship both now and in the future.
How Does He Feel About Traveling?
Does he want to see the world, or does he only want to vacation in the same spot every year? Does he want to travel at all? Vacationing can be a great way to spend time together, but it can also drive you apart or make you resentful if you never like to go to the same places. For example, a girl I know had to break up with a guy who never wanted to travel outside of his hometown.
How Does He Communicate With You?
Communication is a key part of all human interactions and can be performed in different ways. Does he try to communicate with you in a way that is mutually beneficial, or does he only communicate in a way that works for him? Does he only text even when you need him to call? Does he listen to you when you try to tell him things, verbally or physically?
What Is His Opinion On The Division Of Domestic Labor?
You need to know if you both see eye-to-eye on who is performing household duties. You might believe that all domestic labor will be split evenly between you two, but he might have other ideas about who should do the cooking and cleaning. I'm just saying—set the record straight if you have no intention of doing his laundry like his mom.
How Does He Prioritize You And How Might That Change In The Future?
You guy have been dating for a while now, and during that time, you've been the center of his attention. However, based on changes in life events and career, priorities are always shifting. You should discuss how he views you as a priority right now, but also how that might change in the future under different circumstances (e.g. illness, work problems, family issues, etc.)
What Are His Hobbies?
What does he like to do in his spare time? Do you have the same hobbies or differing ones? Differences in hobbies aren't a dealbreaker, but you should think about whether or not you'd be willing to join him to do things you don't love. Even worse, does he expect you to participate in his hobbies with him? My greatest fear is marrying a runner who expects me to train for marathons with him.
Are You Able To Overlook His Shortcomings?
No one is perfect, and his views, goals, and preferences might not perfectly align with yours. Are his shortcomings and differences something that you're willing to work with? Do you believe that he is, overall as a person, a good enough partner despite his flaws? Are you willing to work with him to build a life together? If the answer is no, you might have to consider that this relationship won't work long-term.
Is He Worth Changing For?
On the contrary, a lot about love involves compromise. He may want things from you that you aren't currently able to give him. Are you willing to adjust parts of yourself to work better with him?
Long-term relationships are about growing together, and you might have to give up or change some of your individual preferences in order for things to work (of course, within reason). After all, good relationships push you to be your best self alongside your lifelong teammate.