How do you make a healthy relationship work? It’s one of the most elusive questions in human existence, right up there with the meaning of life – how can you guarantee long-term compatibility with another human being, who has their own thoughts, goals, motives, and inner life? Is such a thing even possible?
Nobody has a fool-proof set of answers to these questions. I certainly don’t – and I’ve been with my partner for seven years. Which, obvs, doesn’t make me a relationship guru by any means. You can be with someone for decades and never be a relationship “expert” (if such a thing even exists).
But there are a few steps you can take, early on in a potential relationship, to feel out compatibility. Because you can love someone all day long in a million different ways, but in the end, if y’all aren’t truly compatible in the ways that it counts, it’s just not going to work in the long-term.
Of course, it’s tough to get all of the compatibility info out of the way up front, while at the same way you don’t want to wait *too* long into the relationship to start asking the tough questions. If you wait until you’re comfortable before asking, you run the risk of overlooking incompatibility issues because you’ve grown “attached” to your partner. And it’s not like you can just hand your new romantic partner a survey on the first date. (Well, I mean, technically you ~can~ totally do that, but I’m pretty sure that might frighten a large portion of potential partners away.)
The following not-overly-serious questions will spark a few fun, lighthearted conversations that will help you bond with and get to know your new partner, while also getting a sense for whether their short- and long-term life goals vibe with yours.
1. What was the last show you binge-watched on Netflix?
Because Netflix and chill (only literally) is so totally a thing when you’re in relationships, and you’ll want to know whether your new partner has similar tastes in movies and TV. Or, *shudder* if they’re “Not a movie or TV person.”
2. What was the best trip you’ve ever taken?
This is a biggie if you love travel – you’ll want to suss out whether your potential partner will be down to taking trips with you and whether they’re a sit-on-a-beach-with-a-margarita vacationer or a hike-Mount-Everest type of traveler.
3. Who are you voting for in the upcoming election?
Some may say that this is too aggressive a line of questioning right up front, but if someone disagrees with you on a fundamental, political level, odds are you may not get along in regards to a LOT of important issues — and this could cause some relationship drama.
4. What was the worst date you’ve ever been on?
More than likely this will just lead to trading a few funny stories about real-life dating horrors. It’ll be a fun bonding experience and also will give you a feel for your new S.O.’s pet peeves. It’s also just generally a good thing to be upfront with your partner about exes.
5. What would you do if you won the lottery?
Kind of a cheesy question, but a great way to get to know your new partner, their priorities, and what matters most to them in life.
6. If you could live in any city in the entire world, where would that be?
The worst thing ever is to fall for someone over the course of months, only to find out that, JK, they’re moving across the world to further their career/because they want to be closer to their family/because they really hate the weather in the city where you met. This is sneaky way to ask whether they plan on moving anytime soon.
7. What was the last meal you made?
It’s a fun way of sussing out whether your date is a foodie. If they hate cooking, you’ll probably be able to tell based on their answer – or you can just segue easily into asking that directly based on their answer to the last meal question.
8. What was the last book you read?
If reading is something that you love, this is a must-ask. Your partner’s answer to this will also probably give you some insight into their personality.
9. Dogs or cats?
If you’ve got a furry friend, you’ll obviously want to know if your new love is amenable to animals. If they’re allergic to your animal pal, best to get that right out of the way at the very beginning. And if they say that they own, like, 14 snakes and you’ve got Indiana Jones-levels of ophidiophobia – well, that’s probably something you’ll also wanna know ASAP.
10. What’s the most embarrassing thing that happened to you in high school?
Your high school self is super important in your development as a human. Get a sense for your S.O.’s past in a casual way and make sure they don’t take themselves too seriously!
11. If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three fictional characters would you bring with you to help you get off the island?
This is just a super fun question to ask literally anyone in your life.
12. Marvel or DC?
~The~ fundamental question of all human existence, given that we’re basically guaranteed to have at least one superhero movie on the slate per year until the end of our expected lifespans.
13. What’s your favorite song of all time?
Like the binge-watching and books questions, this will let you know if your new boo is a music lover, and then you can decide whether or not that’s something important to you. Bonus points if you both discover you’re the most diehard Backstreet Boys fans on the planet.
14. Where do you want to be at age 50?
50 seems like a super long way away when you’re a millennial, so it’s far enough in the future to not turn the convo *too* serious – but it’ll give you a feel for how your new S.O. wants their life to go and whether or not you fit in that picture.
15. Who’s your #1 hero?
Fictional or real, doesn’t matter. This would give you great insight into the ideal type of person your new potential partner aspires to be.