When you’re in a long-term relationship it’s normal to know everything about the other person and have no questions left unanswered, right?
I mean, you know so much about them, surely there’s nothing you shouldn’t ask?
Well, actually there is, according to Sydney-based clinical psychologist Stephanie Allen from Life & Mind Psychology.
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“A healthy relationship is not about telling your partner absolutely everything or knowing everything about them,” Stephanie told Mamamia.
“It’s actually about a really nice interconnectiveness, but making sure that you have your own hobbies, your own friends, your own lifestyle as well as the relationship.”
We all know how crucial communication is to a successful relationship and Stephanie says being clear is the key. So when it comes to asking getting answers to some burning questions there’s a better way to do it.
1. DON’T ask: How many partners have you had?
DO ask: How did your last relationship end?
Stephanie recommends thinking about how helpful this question is really going to be for your current relationship.
“If they said two, how is that different to four or six or one? I think what you want to know more is why did they break up?”
She says it’s natural to be curious about your partner’s relationship history, and smart to find out. But as with most things, it’s not the quantity that’s important, but the quality.
“You want to know about the sort of relationships they were. Was it a really caring relationship?”
2. DON’T ask: What does your dream person look like?
DO ask: What values do you look for in a partner?
Want a surefire way to see your self-esteem take a hit? Ask your partner to describe in detail all the ways you don’t measure up to their dream girl. If your partner’s celebrity crush had always been Pamela Anderson and you wear an A-cup, you’re not going to leave the conversation feeling good about yourself and are unlikely to listen when they insist that you’re so much better than anyone they ever imagined (even if it’s the truth, you gorgeous thing, you.)
Stephanie says that if you’re trying to make sure your goals, beliefs and values align, the best way is to get them to describe the type of internal qualities they’d possess.
“They might answer, ‘Well, someone who’s adventurous and kind and funny and honest’.”
3. DON’T ask: How do I look in this?
DO ask: Do you think this dress is appropriate for the occasion?
We all know this question can be fraught and seen as a potential minefield to the person answering, but Stephanie adds that it’s also quite vague.
Most of the time when you’re asking for your partner’s opinion on an outfit it’s for a specific reason, such as if it’s too tight. Rather than dance around this, Stephanie recommends just being direct.
“Before you ask, express what you’re worried about. ‘I’m worried that were going to a church and the dress is a little bit too short for that sort of occasion. What do you think?'”