Starting a relationship with someone not only drastically changes your life, it also impacts the other person.
There are some matters that should be discussed early in a relationship, rather than let it evolve into a problem later in the relationship when you are more invested.
Sometimes the issue of relocating to another state or even another country or continent comes up. This is especially common in long distance relationships or relationships where you meet at something that is short term. Let’s say you and your significant other both have an internship in England, and you meet one night at a small party, really hit it off, and start dating.
He is from Spain, while you have grown up and lived in the United States all your life. Would you continue the long-distance relationship after your internship ends or would one of you move to another country? If the issue of moving does come up, who is going to move and reestablish their whole life in a new country?
Early in the relationship, especially when the long-distance aspect is nowhere near, this issue may not come up. However, like a looming black cloud, it starts to hover over you every time you are together. It is important to address that elephant in the room early and get it out of the way.
2. Moving in Together
If you have been dating a while and are sleeping over at each other’s places practically every day, either you or your significant other may believe that you are ready to move in together. It is difficult to assume this because everyone is different about their stance on that issue. Some people may see it as a giant milestone in a relationship, or take a huge step, while others may just view it as something as casual as a next date.
However, this situation is usually difficult or uncomfortable to address once your things are already at each other’s place. Talk about whether you want to move in after a certain stage in the relationship or whether you want to wait until much later, or even until – if you do – marriage occurs.
3. Alone Time
Are you one of those couples that are joined at the hip and together 24 hours a day once you realize that you are madly in love with each other? Or are you someone who values personal alone time to decompress and relax? Discussing the idea of alone time or time away from each other helps maintain a good balance of social life and love life in a relationship.
For example, you may think that your significant other loves spending every minute of their waking day with you, while they may just think you are clingy but do not want to tell you to go away which may hurt your feelings. On the other hand, you may be fine with spending only an hour a day or a few days a week with your significant other after the initial honeymoon phase – especially if you do not work or normally see each other daily – but your significant other may take this as drifting apart.
Discussing how much time you want to spend together is important in letting your significant other know that you are not pushing them away or trying to overtake their life.
It is important to have your priorities straight and laid out to each other right away. For example, is advancing your career more important to you than spending more time with your girlfriend/boyfriend?
You may say no and your significant other may say yes You may skip out on a career opportunity if it means that you have to move across the country or even take on extra hours, while your significant other will immediately buy a plane ticket and start packing to seize the once in a lifetime opportunity without even thinking twice.
Would you be willing to skip out on a date or something that you have planned for weeks or months in advanced because your friend suddenly needs your help? You may push off that friend, while your significant other would cancel the date.
Keep in mind that neither person is correct or in the wrong here – different people just prioritize different aspects of their life. Make sure that the both of you discuss these issues so you have an idea of what to expect when some issues like these do occur. In addition, this is important to talk about so you still feel appreciated and valued if you have to push them off to take care of something that matters more to you.
If you and your significant other have been dating for a while and are absolutely positive that you will be spending the rest of your life together, make sure that you discuss the matter having children in your life together.
Discuss if you want any children, when you both will be ready to have children, if so, how many children, and your plans in raising them together. In addition, discuss any plans you have for adoption, fostering children, and infertility issues – and more importantly, if you have children from previous relationships.
Sometimes this can be a deal breaker in a relationship, especially someone in the relationship is strictly childfree while the other person in the relationship has wanted to become a parent their whole life.
However, it is important to keep in mind that if this issue does arise, and you have differences in plans, compromise and accommodate. Look at the issue from the other person’s point of view. If it does not work out in the end, at least you discussed this before you were married and legally tied.
No matter how much you want to avoid the topic of money in a relationship, it is inevitable. Make sure you discuss your budget range for dates, shopping, food, and other miscellaneous things. This is important if you have drastically different lifestyles or just make more or less money than the other person in the relationship.
If one of you is a student or only working part-time, while the other person is a supervisor or manager, your ideas of a “cheap” date is going to vary a lot. In addition, it is important to discuss any plans for a savings account or a joint bank account if you want one together. Also, before getting married and having joint assets, address any previous credit card debt, loans, or money issues.
Although it is never fun to discuss such hard-hitting subject matters, it is important to have an idea of what position your significant other is standing on for these topics. If conversations around these topics raise some concerns for the future, it is easier to start planning ahead.
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