There are so many ways a relationship can go wrong in the beginning but many awkward situations can be avoided if you start a relationship with the right questions. When it comes to making progress in a relationship, it really comes down to knowing each other’s expectations. So whether you’re in the early stages or dating or have just started a relationship, take note of the following questions:
How much ‘me’ time do you need in a relationship?
Depending on you and your partner’s attachment style, each of you may have varying needs when it comes to me time. It’s important to have this conversation early on so a partner doesn’t misinterpret their partner’s preference for alone time for neglect or disinterest. Growing up as a single child, I love my personal space and time. Even though I love spending time with my husband, I need at least a day where I get to be on my own. Knowing how much personal time and space your partner needs can help you manage your anxiety or insecurities when they opt to spend Sunday night solo.
What are the boundaries?
You can find out via trial and error or you can have a discussion about where relationship boundaries are when it comes to platonic relationships i.e. is it ok to hang out with your guy friends alone? It may sound like such a basic question but you’ll find that when it comes to boundaries and platonic relationships, it’ll vary. At the beginning of a relationship, it’s best to lay out who the important people are in your life so when you do choose to hang out with your best guy mate, there will be no surprises. Better yet, introduce them to your partner so they feel comfortable with the idea of you hanging out with other guys.
How do you deal with conflict?
Depending on how you grow up, you and your partner may have different ways of dealing with conflict. As you get to know each other, you’ll get to learn how you both deal with confrontation. However, if you are aware of your conflict style it may be beneficial to get the conversation out of the way so that when your first conflict does arise, you’re armed with the knowledge to deal with it i.e. if you find that your partner is confrontational and prefers to nip the problem in the bud and you tend to run away from conflict, you may be inclined to chat through an argument as it happens knowing your partner’s conflict style.
What are you looking for?
Sounds like a silly question to ask especially when you’re already in a relationship right? To people a relationship can mean many things i.e. companionship, fun, comfort…however it may not necessarily lead to marriage and kids. If this is what you’re look for, you’ll need to make sure your partner is aligned with the same goals you are. ‘What are you looking for?’ may put your partner on the spot so you don’t want to take a direct approach you can start the conversation with “So what would you like your life to be like in 5 years? For me I would like….”. Keep the conversation light and fun.
Money can make or break a relationship, I’ve witnessed it too many times. You may not be ready to open a joint bank account but it’s best to get day-to-day spending sorted. Like, should you go halves on dates and dinners? What does your partner believe in? Some men actually prefer to pay for their girlfriends throughout the entire course of a relationship but some may resent it. Check in with your partner and be honest about how you’d like to manage how you pay for things you do together.
The beginning stages of a relationship are tricky. If you’re casually dating and want to take it to the next level, check out my ebook/mini course on Men and Commitment.
You might also like my guest post on What to Do When You’re Dating a Guy Who is Afraid of Commitment.
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Iona is a Wellness Coach specialising in relationships and dating. She works with single women to write their own love stories.