Discussions You Should Get Out Of The Way Early On In Your Relationship

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There’s nothing like a brand new relationship: the butterflies, the good morning text messages, getting to know a brand new person for the first time. It’s so easy to get lost in the honeymoon phase that you might end up forgetting to talk about the serious stuff — the stuff that could, later on, end up making or breaking your relationship in the long haul.

Even though some people think talking about serious subjects early on in a relationship is a big no, it can actually be what ends up ensuring that your relationship lasts, or it may keep you from wasting your time and getting emotionally invested in someone who ultimately can never give you the things you want and need. Dating someone new is always really light and fun, but it’s also important to talk about some crucial things. Not just because you need to make sure that this is the right person for you, but also because it’ll set the standard for the way you two handle communication as a couple moving forward, especially when it comes to the serious parts of your future together.

These are a few of the discussions you definitely need to get out of the way early on in your relationship. It might be a little awkward at the time, but you’ll thank us later.

What you’re both looking for in a relationship

If you’re going to date someone, you should probably be clear about what their expectations are of the person they date and their relationship… and that person should be aware of what that means for you, too. This includes talking about what you need from your S/O to be happy in your relationship. Is it an open phone policy? Do you expect to keep in contact all day long, or are you cool with a catch-up phone call at the end of the day? How often do you want to see each other? Do you plan to stay overnight at each other’s apartments? Whatever you want out of a relationship is totally cool — as long as it’s something you can agree on.

What the future looks like for both of you

You obviously don’t have a crystal ball, but you’re probably going to want to touch on the big stuff that could come down the pipeline if your relationship goes the distance. Where do you and your partner stand on kids? Is marriage the goal, or are you just as happy in a committed relationship for the rest of your life, no paperwork required? Where do you want to live? What are your career goals? These are the huge deal breaker topics, so it’s important that you’re on the same page about what the future looks like, if not very close to it.

The way you handle money

As things get more and more serious between you, the more you’re going to have to share information about your finances — and the more your S/O’s habits, good or bad, are going to affect you (especially if you decide to live together and share expenses). It’s important to get that all out on the table now, because this could be a deal breaker for one of you.

“Ask each other: How did you manage your money when you were on your own? What were some mistakes you made or things you did right?” financial expert Taffy Wagner told Women’s Day. Money conversations can be majorly awkward, but not having them just might lead to even more awkward talks down the line.

Unfortunately… the STI & STD talk

This might be the most awkward discussion, but it is important. It’s not necessary to disclose how many partners you’ve had (unless you want to and feel comfortable with that), but it is important to be open and honest about your sexual health and to ask the same of your new S/O.

“Discuss STIs and ask about the last time they were tested, their status, and if they’ve been sexual with anyone else since then,” says Rachel Needle, a psychologist at the Center for Marital and Sexual Health of South Florida, told Health.

If you or your new partner need to get tested, the time to do that is right at the start of your new relationship. Having an STD is nothing to be ashamed of, but you do want to be aware if one exists so it can be treated and so you can hopefully avoid passing it on from one of you to the other.

How you like to spend your downtime

It may seem like a minor detail, but the way you choose to spend the time you’re not working or in school is actually pretty telling of who you are as a person. If you absolutely have to spend the weekend on the couch, recovering from your work week, and you’re dating someone who loves to use up every minute of the weekend having outdoor adventures, this is something you probably want to know.

“How discretionary time is used says a lot about a person,” relationship experts told eHarmony. “If she works on her ‘day off,’ she might be highly career-oriented…or maybe a workaholic. If he spends the day coaching a kids’ soccer team, it’s a good bet he loves sports, enjoys kids and wants to help others excel. If he watches TV and plays video games all day, you may have a couch potato on your hands.” A couch potato isn’t a bad thing, but it might not be very compatible with certain personalities.

Ideally, you’ll enjoy spending your time off the same way, but if not, it’s important to know whether or not your differences are something you can live with or compromise on. Some people actually prefer to date people with wildly different interests so that they can guarantee some quality time spent apart. Everyone’s different – that’s kind of the beauty of it. There are no right or wrong answers in these conversations, it’s just about getting all the information right off the bat so you can make smart decisions about where your situationship is going.

These conversations are so important, and you’ll learn a lot about each other while you’re having them. And honestly, it’s a win/win: if you figure out you’re not compatible, it’s better to know that at the beginning of your relationship, and if you are, then you can rest assured that your relationship has started off on the right foot. Who doesn’t want that?