Here are the 20 tough questions to ask about your relationships before moving forward.
1. Is for better or worse making me better or worse?
Does your partner encourage you to be your best self, or does he or she get intimidated by any triumphs and feel more secure when you’re not putting your best foot forward?
2. Do we really accept one another?
There will always be things you want to change about the people in your life, but no one should be in a situation where they feel they aren’t allowed to be authentic and accepted as the unique, special (yet flawed) person they are.
3. Who am I?
How can you know if your partner is a good match if you have no idea who you are?
4. Am I happy to be in this relationship?
The idea of sharing a life together is not to find someone to complete you or make you happy. But let’s face it: being unhappy at home can seep into other areas of your life . . . and fast. If you’re always fighting or just generally not feeling great about your twosome, it doesn’t mean you have to bail out (counseling might be a good option) but marrying someone in the hope that it changes things is a bad, bad idea.
5. Am I feeling trapped?
Do you really want to be in this relationship the majority of the time or do you find yourself wishing for a way out? Do you stay because you’ve invested time or are you really invested in your mate?
6. What am I doing to hold us back?
Maybe you could be more attentive, more thoughtful, quicker to let things go, or the first to bring up going to counseling. Whatever it is, take this as your sign to step up.
7. Is this relationship balanced?
Do you feel you’re both on the same page in terms of compromise, care, support and sacrifice? Or is one of you doing most of the giving while the other just sits with their hand out?
8. Can we have fun together?
Have you ever seen two people sit across from one another in silence at brunch as though they are being forced to walk through their day together? Not. fun.
9. Can we have fun apart?
Co-dependency ain’t cute, y’all.
10. Why am I in this relationship?
Is it because you respect, love, trust, and value the person you are with? Or because you’re afraid of being alone, worried about finances, or have built a life you’re scared to leave?
11. Where is this going?
Living in the “now” is great, but eventually the partnership will need a plan or someone will begin to feel anxious.
12. Do I really trust my partner?
For some, the immediate response to this can be devastating. If you’re one of them, it’s time to ask why and how you can begin to build or rebuild trust. Without it, there’s no chance.
13. Am I with a good person?
Knowing what you know about your partner today, would you vouch for them if they were a friend?
14. Am I attracted to my partner?
Physical attraction is hardly the most important component in a relationship, but forcing yourself to be in a relationship with someone who you’re not attracted to — just because it’s comfortable or “perfect on paper” isn’t fair to anyone. You will feel resentful and they will feel rejected.
15. Am I a parent or a partner?
Taking care of someone you love is a great thing to do, but when you feel like you’re raising a boyfriend — or worse, a husband — things get a little complicated. You’ll resent his childish ways. Who wants to sleep with their mom?
16. Does my partner have my back?
Do you feel like you’re a part of a loyal team who stands up for one another, supports one another, and shows a united front (even when the other is not around)? Or, do you feel like you’re constantly being thrown under the bus by your mate?
17. Are we looking in the same direction?
Some couples avoid having the big talks (religion, marriage, babies) because they think that, somehow, these things will just “work themselves out.” By the time they realize they won’t, they’re in a complicated, painful situation that leaves one (or both) feeling a little bit duped.
18. Are we growing together?
Being a human being living on this earth, we all have a right to grow and develop, and create a full life for ourselves. Are you and your partner still indulging in your passions (individual and shared) and growing as individuals?
19. Am I still me?
Being in love with someone should not require changing our identity to fit someone else’s idea of who we should be, on any level.
20. What is my gut telling me?
You have intuition for a reason. Listen to yourself.
By Brenda Della Casa, is the author of Cinderella Was a Liar, the managing editor of Preston Bailey, A Huffington Post blogger, and the founder of BDC Life In Style. She is usually found in the gym hitting the speed bag to Eminem, having a wine-down with friends, or writing with her beloved Chihuahua, Tony Che Montana, by her side.