Ten Questions to Deepen Your Relationship
Magic at Midlife: Your Relationship Roadmap for Romance After 40
Online dating has the advantage of letting you ask questions of a potential partner before you meet. Once a relationship is underway, however, you may not realize how much you don’t know about your partner. Certainly spending time together and watching how a person acts gives you valuable information to help you decide if you want a committed relationship. But as your love affair unfolds, you can use gentle questioning to learn more about your partner’s core values and to help you decide if this relationship is truly what you have wished for.
When you ask your partner questions, you have to be careful not to sound like an interrogator or a job interviewer: “What would say are your strengths and weaknesses?” Ugh. Questions can be a great form of communication if you keep your tone gentle, you listen attentively to the answer (without interrupting), and you respond in a way that invites more sharing. It’s also important to balance asking questions with being open about your own thoughts, ideas, and values.
Choose a relaxed time and place for these conversations, preferably when you won’t be interrupted. Don’t ask all ten questions at once – that may feel overwhelming! Just work them into the time you spend together. Certainly you can develop your own questions about anything that is particularly important to you. For example, if you have children, you might want to ask about your partner’s parenting values. If travel is your favorite pastime, you could ask about your partner’s best and worst travel experiences. Just don’t hesitate to have in-depth conversations about what is important to each of you in life. How else can you decide if this is a durable relationship that will bring you both happiness?
Here are ten questions that may help you get to know each other better. Before you ask the questions, imagine your partner’s response. Even if you think you know what it will be, you may be surprised. Try it and see!
What do you want your life to look like in five years?
Who do you respect and admire, and why?
Who are the people you feel closest to?
What is something you feel really proud of?
If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money? (Extra points for saying, “I’d share it with you!”)
What do you wish you had done differently in previous relationships?
What helps you to cope with tough situations?
When two people live together, how should they divide up the work of running a household?
What do you think about people who don’t believe fidelity is important?
What makes a really good, satisfying day for you?
Northwest authors Jennifer Y. Levy-Peck, PhD, a psychologist, and her husband Charles Peck are write a weekly column on midlife relationships. They are working on a new book, "Magic at Midlife: Your Relationship Roadmap for Romance After 40."
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