Finding another human who you actually want to give your time, attention and loving to is such an exciting time! While you don't want to rush into the serious conversations too quickly, there are definitely 5 conversations you need to have with your partner before you get too far down the road.
Relationships often breakdown due to lack of communication, goals not being in alignment and different visions for what the future holds. Read on for 5 critical conversations you need to have to make sure you are both on the same page.
It's 2016 and the "traditional" family has evolved so much many don't even believe in the term "traditional" anymore. However, marriage does still remain a deal breaker for many individuals when it comes to how they see their future with their partner. This is a critical conversation to have in your relationship. Obviously not first date material! But as the relationship progresses it should be clear. Do you believe in marriage and all that it symbolizes while she feels that as long as you are committed that is all that should matter? How does marriage play into cohabitation and/or intimacy. Finding out where your partner stands on this subject is critical to dictating the course of your relationship.
Money is a touchy subject in all relationship, not just romantic. But it is very important to talk about with your partner as it is often also the biggest cause of breakdowns in relationships and marriages. Discuss with your partner several aspects of finances: how you manage money, debt, the importance of savings and planning for retirement, income (do both partners work? what is a comfortable household income? how do you handle it if it were to suddenly be reduced due to job loss or accidents), how you spend money, do you have combined accounts or keep things separate?
The decision to bring a new life into this world is not one that should be taken lightly, and frankly, not one that everyone wants to take on. I personally have always wanted children..three to be exact (twins and a single...but who's planning!?)but as I got older and my circle of influence expanded I realized that there are many people who don'f feel the need to have a child of their own (or be a full time parent be it through adoption, fostering, etc). This is a completely personal decision, but one that can yet again be a deal breaker in a relationship for someone who definitely sees a family of their own in their future. Have the conversation early on. Being "undecided" or "open" is not something to be concerned about and shouldn't necessarily send you running, but if you definitely want a family and he unequivocally does not, there may be a few things you need to talk about and decide.
I personally have not had to navigate the in-law waters myself yet but I have gotten earfuls from friends. Some have been blessed with amazing relationships with their in-laws, and some not so much. The common themes seem to revolve around 1) unclear boundaries into how involved the in-laws are in raising children 2) unclear boundaries about frequency of communication/visits and 3) the dreaded "Monster in-law".
It's often difficult for our partners to pick a side when it comes to conflict or issues between their families they grew up with and the family they are growing into. As you head down the path to commitment take some time to have a respectful but honest conversation to establish fair boundaries. Support your partner in growing into his or her new role.
5) Life Goals
This is such a broad topic and not one that can be tied down in one conversation, if really ever! I say this because as humans we are ever changing and evolving and our goals follow that evolution. These goals may start with a goal for home ownership or the 2/5/10 year career plan but life goals reach across family, experience, travel, financial and beyond. While none of us can predict where we end up it is important to talk about the goals you have today and see how they align. Oftentimes just the fact that your partner is ambitious and goal-setting alone is a beautiful thing to share and allows you to create some goals together to work and grow towards, together.
Relationships change over time, and as such so do your goals. We all learn from our experiences, new knowledge that comes into our lives and sometimes just plain old maturity. It is important to be on the same page as your partner when that page is important to you. Communicate with your partner openly and honestly about what your core wants, needs and values are and it will give you both the foundation to honor each other, grow together, bond you or perhaps know what step to take next.