Are you a dog or cat person?

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For us pet-owners, our pets are our family and an extremely important part of our lives, but they’re also a huge commitment. Does your partner have a lifestyle that is compatible with having a pet, or do they want to travel for months at a time? Are they allergic to fur? Are they just not an animal person? Whether you have ten rescue dogs and a ferret, or the only pet you’ve ever owned is a goldfish you won at a fair as a child, make sure you and your partner are on the same page regarding your furry friends!

Do you want kids?

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If the relationship is getting serious, or if you’re anticipating it getting serious, asking a partner about their future plans, and whether or not children are in those plans, is an important step of understanding your long-term compatibility. Perhaps you or your partner have children already – does the other respect that part of the other’s life, and are they willing to accept the possible responsibility of being in a child’s life that may come down the line?

Do you value family or career?

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It’s important to remember that family and career aren’t mutually exclusive, and societal expectations surrounding this question can vary depending on your gender identity. In heterosexual relationships, for example, women are still often expected to sacrifice their careers as soon as children are born and shoulder the majority of the childcare, while men are expected to throw themselves into work in order to fulfil the role of provider. Having an honest conversation, free of judgment, about what your shared life could look like in the future will help you better understand your own values concerning the intersection of work and family.

How religious are you?

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Religion encompasses more than just a person’s belief in a higher power. It can often be the backbone of their moral compass, and can dictate what traditions and holidays they observe, what diet they follow, or how they plan to raise any future children. For some people, having a partner that mirrors their religious beliefs, or lack thereof, is extremely important, so it can be useful to have this conversation early on.

How do you feel about marriage?

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For some, marriage is the ultimate goal of a partnership that demonstrates a lifelong commitment to the person you love. For others, it’s a piece of paper that does little to reflect the strength or longevity of a relationship. Maybe you don’t feel strongly either way, or would prefer a civil partnership. Marriage has many financial, legal, and societal consequences, so make sure to voice your expectations surrounding the topic of marriage in addition to listening to your partner’s.

Where do you see yourself living in the future?

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Maybe your partner grew up in the countryside, and you’ve lived in the city your whole life, or they have a job where they’re required to move around a lot, but you want to settle down in your home country with your family close by. Wherever the relationship takes you, make sure it’s somewhere you’re both happy to be.

How important is sex to you?

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Finding a partner who has sexual compatibility with you is a must for any relationship where sex is on the cards. This can be anything: from discussing your libido and expectations for how often you’d ideally like to have sex, to talking about interests in the bedroom. Being able to openly express your own boundaries, and respect your partner’s, is a particularly vital aspect of having a healthy relationship.

What are your long-term goals?

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While non-specific, asking your partner about the future will illuminate the things that are of particular importance to them. Do they talk about the career they’ve been working towards? Traveling the world? Settling down and having a family? This will help you decide if their long-term goals align with what you envision for yourself, or what you would be willing to make room for in your own future.

What are your thoughts on…?

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For most of us, our morals are at the core of who we are as people, and having a partner who reflects those morals is non-negotiable. Asking probing questions about issues that matter the most to you – whether it’s human rights or veganism or climate change – is a vital part of understanding who your partner is.

What’s your love language?

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How does your partner give and receive love? How do you give and receive love? Understanding how both you and your partner express yourselves, and what it takes to make each other feel cared for and secure within your relationship, will help reduce the chances of miscommunication and should ultimately allow you to deepen your connection.