In every relationship, at some point people start to wonder if it’s possible that they’ve changed and are no longer compatible with their partner. But how can you possibly know for sure? I’ve noticed a pattern in my own relationships where I ask a certain set of questions that help me figure out what’s really going on. These questions allow me to look beyond my superficial wants and find the clarity I need to make a decision. The following is a list of ways to figure out what you really need in a relationship, based on the same questions I ask myself during this process.
1.Ask yourself if there are any deal breakers.
A deal breaker is an absolute no-go in a potential mate. For some people, it might be smoking, drinking, or living far away (depending on your own habits). For others, it might be not wanting kids or a commitment to religion. These are things that are non-negotiable because they are incompatible with your own values.
2.Think about your dating history.
What types of traits have you gravitated toward? Do you always go for the extroverted, confident type? Do you date people who are similar to you, or do opposites attract? Are you interested in someone who is into the same things as you? Are they into the same music, movies and books? These questions can help you zero in on what’s important to you.
Maybe you’re attracted to someone who is more introverted than you are. Think about what makes them special and what they bring to the table that’s different from everyone else. You may be surprised at how attractive their personality is when you pay attention to it.
Maybe your partner should be a professional and make a high salary so that they can support you financially. Maybe they should be a stay-at-home parent so that they can look after your children. There are all sorts of things to consider when thinking about your ideal partner, but these are just two examples. Think about what’s important to you and write down everything that makes sense for your relationship goals.
3. What Are Your Top Priorities?
When you’re trying to figure out what you really want in a relationship, it’s helpful to take stock of where you are and where you want to go. Start by thinking about your top priorities. What matters most to you in your life? This can help clarify what’s important and what isn’t when it comes to finding a partner.
4. Who are you attracted to?
The first thing most people think about when they are looking for a partner is physical attraction. It makes sense — after all, what good is spending time with someone if you don’t find them attractive? However, there’s more to attraction than just looks (though obviously those matter too). Who we’re attracted to also depends on our personality types, our likes and dislikes, and our values.
5.Make sure your relationship is giving you what you need
Sometimes people stay in relationships even though they aren’t getting their needs met, so ask yourself: Am I happy? Am I thriving? Is this a healthy relationship? If it is, then great! But if you aren’t happy or don’t feel like you have room to grow, it might be time to reevaluate.
6.Evaluate your current relationship
If you’re with someone now, think about how things are going: What do you like about this person? What are your favorite parts of the relationship? On the other hand, is there anything that’s missing for you? Are there any aspects of the relationship that frustrate or upset you? It’s important to consider both sides when thinking about your wants and needs.
7.What do you want your retirement to look like?
Do you want to be a snowbird and spend winters in Florida? Do you want to travel the world and volunteer? Do you want to spend more time with family and friends, including grandchildren? Or do you want to stay in your home and continue a busy lifestyle of work, volunteering, learning and civic engagement?
8.Take time for self-reflection.
During the fast pace of a new relationship, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and overlook your values and needs. Taking time for yourself and away from your partner gives you an opportunity to be more honest with yourself about what you really want and need from a relationship.
9.Figure out what matters most to you in life.
What do you value? What kind of lifestyle do you want to live? What are your goals? Do you want kids or not? Are you religious or spiritual or not? How do you want your partner to interact with your friends and family? What are some examples of how you want to be treated in a relationship?
10.Figure out what your type is.
Write down everything that comes to mind when you think about this person — physical traits, personality quirks, likes and dislikes, whatever. Be as specific as possible.
Now ask yourself: Why do I like this kind of person? If the answer is because they make me feel good about myself or because I enjoy being with them or some other positive reason, then keep that in mind as you continue on with this exercise. If the answer is because they make me feel bad about myself or because they give me an ego boost or something along those lines, then think seriously about why you like this person and if it’s really healthy to be in a relationship with them.
All of us have different ideas about what makes a relationship great. Some of us are willing to let other people live their lives and be happy, even if it’s not with us. Some of us absolutely require an unshakable foundation of love and intimacy before we invest in making a relationship last. The key is to figure out what you really need in a relationship, then search for that one thing without sacrificing everything else that’s important to you.