Two weeks ago I did a super fun interview with PIX11 to answer the question “Do we really have a type?” What do you think – do we? Check out this 5-minute interview for the answer on finding your ideal partner.
The Heart of Finding Your Ideal Partner
But this interview delved into something that I’m still thinking about two weeks later. They wanted to know which questions you should ask in your early days of dating someone, to really get to the heart of whether this person could be your ideal partner.
I’m so glad they asked.
Because of course – learning about someone’s passions or family history or what they do for work is interesting and important on early dates, but that’s not the kind of stuff that’s going to tell you if this person is RIGHT for you.
What matters in an ideal partnership is how this person supports you. Do they affirm you the way you want to be affirmed? When you butt heads, will you come out stronger? Will your lifestyles align? Do you want the same things?
No matter how interesting or funny or charming someone is, when it comes down to it, these are the things that really matter.
So if you’ve been on a few dates and things are looking good, here are the 5 questions to ask as you’re deciding whether to get serious – these are the biggest things to be aligned on with your ideal partner.
1. What type of relationship are you actually looking for?
Okay… this is a big question! Because I don’t just mean “are you looking for exclusivity, a boy/girlfriend, a spouse, etc.” Those answers are crucial, of course, but they’re the tip of the iceberg.
Dive into all of the winding, interesting nitty gritty.
For example: In a partnership, how much time do you want to actually be spending together, and with what kind of frequency? Do you want children? Where do career priorities fall vs. relationship priorities? This list of deeper questions makes for fascinating and intimacy-building conversations and helps you learn very quickly whether investing time in this person now could be worth it in the long run.
2. How do you like to give and receive support?
I know people who believe that unquestionably supporting their partner is key; I also know people who need a partner who will gently challenge them and their view of the world. Neither way is better or worse, but it IS important that you’re on the same page.
A previous client of mine recently told me that she had a conversation very early on with her new partner about how they each typically give support, and how they like to receive it in return. Lovingly discussing this, she said, was one of the single most important moments of their early relationship. It cemented that they were naturally compatible because they give and receive support similarly, and also set them up for all kinds of future success, because they talked about the nuances of exactly what they need from a partner to feel better when they’re down.
3. How much of an introvert or extrovert are you? Is there plenty of overlap in how we like to socialize?
Introverts can absolutely date extroverts and vice versa! But breaking it down into these two categories is an easy way to tap into a deeper discussion of what your partner’s social style and energy is, and whether it will align with yours.
If you’re the last one to leave the party and they like to be in bed by ten, that’s great if you’re both okay with that! But if you want you and your ideal partner to be the last two people to leave the party, you’re going to run into some issues.
When I met Yoav, I mistakenly thought he was an extrovert because he asks so many questions and is very friendly to everyone. But he’s actually an extroverted introvert – being around a lot of people is exhausting, so usually he’s too tired to socialize after work. But this actually is the perfect balance in how we like to socialize: I love going out with my friends alone and have been able to keep very close 1:1 friendships that way, and he loves having solo time to recharge. It turns out our styles are perfectly compatible.
4. How do you disagree or fight?
I’ve always found that having an intellectual discussion about what your and your partner’s disagreement styles are sets you up for the best possible success once, inevitably, something comes up that causes stress, disagreement, or anger. It’s safe, interesting, and fun, even, to learn what someone thinks their mechanism is for “having a fight,” and to really analyze and describe your own.
We’ve all been in tense circumstances with another person before, and we know what feels productive vs. hurtful to us in response. Asking this question is the best way to evaluate from a calm, safe distance whether you and your partner are going to have compatible disagreement styles long-term.
5. Which love languages totally do not resonate with you?
People love to talk about the 5 Love Languages and what their personal language is (if you haven’t read about the 5 Love Languages, they’re a must-read). But equally important – maybe more important – is knowing which of the languages simply don’t resonate with you, and will never be how you show love.
My producer, Katherine, knows that her main love language is words of affirmation. Her last partner let her know that words really didn’t come easily to him; he showed love in other ways. It naturally fissured their relationship over time.
Katherine’s the first to say it was no one’s fault – they both were expressing love, but how they expressed it happened to always leave the other person wanting. So sync up early on your love languages and if they’re an ideal partner match!
Do these resonate with you? Do you have other proven questions you’ve found get to the heart of whether someone is your ideal partner? I’d love to hear from you – drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We delve deeper into this and so much more in 1:1 Date Coaching with me. Learn all about it here.
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