10 Questions You Need to Ask BEFORE Committing to Someone
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Honestly answering these important questions can save you needless heartbreak and years in the wrong relationship.
“She never acted like this in the beginning!”
I’ve lost count of how many times someone has told me they’ve felt fooled or surprised at how their partner’s personality seemed to “change” after they entered into a committed relationship. Sure, there are PLENTY of manipulative people in the world who lie their way into your hearts, but there are also A LOT of red flags that get overlooked in the beginning of a relationship and, inevitably, reveal themselves over time.
Ask yourself these questions the next time you’re determining whether or not someone is the right fit for you:
1: How do they handle disagreements?
Anytime someone who I’m coaching says something like “Well, he was great during the good times!” I always remind them that you could go out into the street, throw a rock, and have a great time on a date with the first person that it hits.
The truth of relationships is that there WILL be things you disagree on, even if they’re small things. When someone is challenged or tested, that’s when you learn how they respond when things are not sunshine and rainbows.
Do they “fight fair,” or do they take jabs at your insecurities or insult you instead of addressing the challenge at hand?
An argument or disagreement in a relationship should be both partners against the problem, not both partners against each other.
How someone treats you during these times reveals a piece of their character that could be detrimental to the relationship. Pay attention.
2: What are their past patterns like?
Naturally you won’t know everything about someone’s history before committing to them, but conversations about past relationships or exes can shed some light on what you can expect moving forward.
Did they stick by someone during a challenging time? That hints at them being trustworthy and reliable.
Is EVERYONE they’ve EVER dated “the crazy one”? It’s probably a red flag that they’re the common denominator in the breakups.
It’s not your responsibility to break someone else’s toxic patterns, but it is your job to protect yourself from them.
3: What are their friendships like?
I once knew a couple who ended up pushing away the people around them. At one point a friend of mine observed:
“Where are their friends from college? Where are their friends from their wedding?”
The total lack of friends who stuck around long term ended up being a red flag that they consistently repeated this pattern of “friend bombing.” Totally diving into people’s lives for a short time and then doing something toxic or negative to push them away.
As we discussed in point #2, patterns don’t lie.
Pay attention to how this healthy this person’s friendships are. What are their friends like? How do they interact? What do they talk about?
Healthy relationships integrate parts of both partner’s lives with each other, are you comfortable with their friend group becoming yours, as well?
Or – if they don’t have any friends at all, that’s also something worth exploring.
4: How do they treat people they’re NOT trying to date?
I’ve always said that someone who’s not nice to the waiter is not a nice person.
It’s easy to put on a facade and be Prince (or Princess) Charming towards you as they’re trying to win you over, but how are they treating the people they’re not trying to impress?
The bartender, the barista, the server, the valet?
How do they respond when a drink order comes out wrong or the food is cold?
Paying attention to this gives you a more unfiltered look at what you can expect down the road, or in other areas of life.
5: Are you sexually compatible?
We’re all adults here, and we KNOW how important this is.
Sexual attraction and fulfillment is highly important in any intimate relationship, as is your partner’s willingness to care for YOUR needs as well as their own.
Discussions about expectations, wants, needs, desires, and boundaries are all important to the sexual health of the relationship. This can very possibly be a dealbreaker if you find things you’re not willing to accept, or vice versa. And finding out sooner is better than later.
6: Do you have similar visions for the future?
This is why clarity around YOUR identity and goals is so important. What type of life are you working on building for yourself?
Do you want to live in the city? The country? Do you want kids? If so, how many?
Naturally every relationship requires compromise, but there’s a big difference between compromising to find a middle ground, and you completely sacrificing the life you wanted to live for someone else who isn’t willing to find a middle ground.
7: Do they get along with your friends and family?
Yes, relationships are between TWO people, but your friends and family are an important part of your life. Their approval of your partner is not required – BUT, if there are fights and arguments every time all of you get together, that’s not going to make for a very harmonious relationship. In fact, it could end up forcing you to choose a “side” eventually. Is that really a path you want to go down?
8: Are they kind?
Ah, the importance of kindness.
Kindness influences how they treat not only you, but your future children. It shows how they’ll care for you when you’re sick, when you lose a loved one, when you need support for a personal challenge.
Kindness determines whether or not this is a person you’d want to be friends with, can count on, and trust.
9: Are they willing to apologize?
We all know that nobody is perfect (even though some people think they are).
The willingness to own up to your mistakes in a relationship is a highly underrated trait. Someone who thinks they’re always right will always be looking for someone else to blame their challenges on. And when you’re committed to that person, guess who the target is going to be?
The willingness to apologize reflects personal responsibility. It shows they’re willing to learn, grow, and improve. Total avoidance of blame is a toxic trait and a sign of narcissism that can bring a whole slew of emotional trauma that could’ve been avoided by spotting this red flag early on.
10: Do they enhance my life, or complicate it?
So simple, yet so often overlooked.
It really is as black and white as that: How does this person influence your mood? Your view of yourself? Your mental and emotional wellbeing?
Do they inspire you, or discourage you?
Do they bring drama, or help you avoid it?
Are they compassionate during your times of need, or distant?
If you are really honest with yourself from the beginning stages of being with someone, most of these answers will be obvious. The challenge arises when we allow ourselves to be blinded by the excitement of a new relationship and lose sight of the logical side of our decision making.
Staying clear and checking in with ourselves over the course of the dating phase before we commit ourselves to someone will help us avoid needless heartbreak and stop wasting time in relationships with the wrong people.
Finding success in creating hundreds of viral articles and videos on building limitless confidence and healthier relationships, James has accumulated over 38 million visitors to his website and a collective social media following of over 400,000.
James speaks at live events and in the media across the U.S. and has become a go-to expert with outlets such as CNN, Bravo, The New York Post, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, CNBC, The Boston Globe, CBS, and more.
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