Important questions to ask your partner before they become your partner

A few months ago I went out with a guy who didn’t watch TV. Ever. No cable, no Netflix, no HBO Go, no late night online Breaking Bad binging, nothing. I, on the other hand, love TV. I worship it. It is my rock in a sea of homework and deadlines and mean Internet commenters. Immediately I knew that we were in for a rough date. It’s not that he wasn’t a nice guy, he was. He was smart, and courteous, and serious, and lots of other things that made him a very eligible mate for smart, courteous, and serious girls who are probably much more concerned with world events than they are interested in discussing the inspirational feminist messages of Kimmy Schmitt. As the date went on and truth bombs were dropped it became ever clear that the new season of Once Upon a Time wasn’t the only thing keeping us apart. He didn’t like dogs, and he thought that novels were a waste of time. His favorite color was white and as dude from a wealthy family, he couldn’t understand how I could view travel as a dream rather than a weekend hobby. I could tell he was turned off by my affinity for glitter and his eye gave an involuntary twitch when I told him that I’m a vegetarian. It was a train wreck and when the night was over he politely walked me to my car, shook my hand, and promptly deleted my number from his phone.

After this catastrophic date I decided to make a list of all the things to ask a potential beau before I got too attached. It isn’t a complete list, and I encourage you to add your own questions to the tally. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together, for better or for worse, with Netflix or without (but hopefully with).

1. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

Very important. Very, very important. If your lover doesn’t believe in feminism, they don’t believe in equality and and ultimately they don’t believe in you. However, there is a difference between not observing feminism and not understanding it. Try explaining the concept before completely writing them off.

2. Do you like pets?

It may sound silly but as someone who can’t live without dogs, I know that I can’t be with someone who resents fur and fears fleas.

3. How close are you with your family?

This is pretty situational, and it definitely depends on how you were raised and what kind of strains or distance are placed on your family unit. I know that there are lots of circumstances where people are unable to be close with their kin, and I acknowledge that everyone’s experiences are different. However, family as a value is important to me. I’m very close with my parents, and I know that it could cause issues if my significant other didn’t respect that connection or want to engage with the people I care about.

4. Do you like to workout? How much?

On the surface this seems superficial, but it’s totally not. For some people physical fitness is a whole lifestyle and for others it’s a hobby. The bridge between these two ideologies is very hard to cross if one of you (me) likes to supplement running with napping and one of you (definitely not me) likes to lift heavy things for five hours a day and then talk about protein the other 19 hours of the day.

5. What is your sleep schedule like?

Not a definite deal breaker, but if you guys are on different sleep cycles it’s going to cause problems. I stay up really, really late and I tried to date a guy who went to bed at 9 p.m. every night and it was just terrible for both of us.

6. Do you like to read?

People who love books love talking about books and it’s very frustrating to be met with ambivalence when you’re sobbing over a paperback.

7. What is your political affiliation?

I know, it’s scary to ask and it really shouldn’t be as important as it is, but with the extreme right and left polarization, it’s important to know what you’re getting into.

8. Do you believe in monogamy?

You don’t want to find out that you’re actually girlfriend number three on the rotation.

9. What are your goals?

Ambition and drive are crucial in a mate if you’re working towards something big. With someone by your side who knows what you’re going through and understands the time constraints you’re facing, you’re going to be a lot happier than if you’re with someone who doesn’t understand your dream and doesn’t know how to support you. If you’re both motivated and dedicated, you build a kind of cheerleader partnership and it’s beautiful and wonderful. If you have dissimilar work ethics you’re going to spend a lot of time fighting about one person being ignored or one person being lazy.

10. Do you ever want to get married?

For some people it’s a big deal, and for some people it’s not. If you want to get married you should be with someone who’s open to the idea of putting a ring on it in the future. If you don’t want to get married, you should be with someone who isn’t attached to the idea of white dresses and expensive flowers.

11. Do you want kids

If you want babies then you need to be with someone who also wants babies. If you don’t want babies, you shouldn’t be with someone who wants babies or already has babies. That’s not fair and it’s mean.

12. Do you believe in aliens? Ghosts? Immunizations? 

Pro-ghost and anti-ghost couples just don’t last in the long run (because one of you will be eaten by ghosts).

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