Questions to Ask Your Partner to Take Your Relationship to Next Level

From early dating to long term commitment, keep asking questions.

a couple talking over wine at a restaurant

Verywell / Zoe Hansen

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At any point in a romantic partnership, asking the right questions can help you progress your connection and work toward shared goals.

From those early dating days where you’re trying to understand who the other is, to later stages where you’re determining whether the relationship is moving toward a forever commitment, we’re sharing important questions to ask your partner at every stage of your relationship.

Early Relationship

If you’re serious about getting serious, asking your mate key questions is vital in the early stages of dating.

This can help you determine whether you’re aligned on non negotiables, determine your overall compatibility, and help you figure out whether the person you’re dating is on the same page.

What makes you who you are?

Understanding your partner’s background, motivations, and current passions can help you learn more about them and determine how well your lives fit together.

These can be icebreaker-type questions for those first dates that help lead to deeper conversations, explains Heather Kent, a registered psychotherapist.

Ask about their upbringing, favorite way to spend free time, what makes them happy, which people are most important in their life, what makes them unique, what their finances are like, whether they’re working toward any goals, and what their long-term plans are.

As you have these early interactions—and throughout your relationship—make sure you're truly listening. We sometimes have a tendency to think about what we're going to say next versus absorbing what the other's saying and enjoying the conversation in real time.

What are you looking for in a partner?

It’s also important to know, early on, what the other is looking for in a partner. People’s ideals and preferences are apt to change, but having a clearer picture of what they’re seeking can provide great insight into whether you’re compatible.

Now’s a good time to discuss each other’s personal boundaries so you can respect each other moving forward.

Do we share the same values?

You don’t have to agree on everything in order to enjoy a satisfying relationship. However, it’s important to align on big issues or at least have a plan to work around major differences. 

“Ask whether you share the same core values and beliefs regarding marriage, children, and spirituality,” says Syd Miller, PsyD. “These issues may not be relevant now, but they will be in the future. If you do not share the same values this is probably not the long-term relationship for you.”

Mid to Late Dating 

There’s a certain bliss associated with mid to late dating. By this point, you’re likely comfortable with your partner and you know them pretty well.

You should also know where they stand in terms of children, marriage, religion, work, finances, and politics. That said, there’s some pressure associated with this phase as you try to determine where the relationship is going in terms of commitment. Here are some important questions to ask.

Is this moving toward lasting love, or is it just a physical connection?

The early stages of a relationship are blissful in both emotional and physical dimensions. Often, the physical connection is quite extreme, but it tends to wane a bit as you both step into a regular flow. Now’s a good time to determine where each other’s at. 

“You have to ask the question, when the initial excitement wears off, is there something more in this relationship-something more substantial and meaningful. Is there love?” says Dr. Miller.

What is your preferred timeline for marriage and children?

If marriage and children are important to you, figuring out a general timeline for these future milestones is imperative. Discussing it relatively early on can help you both save each other time (and avoid resentment) if the other isn’t on the same page. 

How will we keep the spark going after dating for years?

Relationships have seasons, and sometimes life can get in the way. That initial spark may not always burn as brightly, so discussing ways to maintain passion between you can help you get ahead of inevitable lows. 

“There are all kinds of ways to keep the passion going, but the most important thing is to make sure that you always have good communication about your needs, wants, and desires,” says Dr. Miller. “These may change over time but if you are sharing with the one you love you can always make it happen.” 

Fully Committed

It might seem strange to think that you’ll still be asking your partner questions years, even decades, after fully committing to each other. However, we’re always evolving, and maintaining a healthy relationship requires curiosity about the other, as well as desire to meet your partner’s needs.

HEATHER KENT, psychotherapist

You don’t need to have a ‘deep relationship talk’ every day; that would be exhausting. But it is important to check in every once in a while, if for no other reason than to show the other person how much they mean to you.

— HEATHER KENT, psychotherapist

How have you changed in recent years?

This question might surprise your partner because it’s possibly one they haven’t considered themselves. However, discussing the ways in which you both evolve can help you stay aware of the other’s goals, preferences, and passions. Science tells us that effective communication can greatly increase relationship satisfaction.

How can I continue showing up for you?

This question does two things. First, it demonstrates that you are still dedicated to being your partner’s best friend and ally. Second, it gives you an opportunity to learn about ways you can genuinely make your partner happier

What are some ways we can spend more quality time together?

The longer we’re in a committed relationship, the easier it is to fall into the daily flow of life and neglect the romantic aspect of our connection. By sitting down and discussing ways to spend time together, you’ll be much more likely to enjoy consistent quality time

A Word From Verywell 

Marriage isn’t the ultimate goal of a relationship. Rather, it’s about committing to each other’s needs, challenging each other, and sticking by your partner’s side through thick and thin. Relationships require hard work and often come with complex emotions, but maintaining communication throughout can make the work more joyful and rewarding. 

2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Arendt JFW, Pircher Verdorfer A, Kugler KG. Mindfulness and leadership: Communication as a behavioral correlate of leader mindfulness and its effect on follower satisfaction. Front Psychol. 2019;10:667. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00667

  2. Johnson MD, Lavner JA, Mund M, et al. Within-couple associations between communication and relationship satisfaction over timePers Soc Psychol Bull. May 2021. doi:10.1177/01461672211016920

By Wendy Rose Gould
Wendy Rose Gould is a lifestyle reporter with over a decade of experience covering health and wellness topics.