Let’s go hypothetical.

You are about 28 years old. Have a job on a path to a career. You are content with your life.

One day you go to a party and meet a person. You and the person hit it off and decide to go out on a date.

After your first date, you think you can envision a future with this person.

Yay for you! You found a person!

Maybe.

When do you start bringing up the “important” questions?

2nd date?

5th date?

What do I mean by important things?

  1. political leaning
  2. religion
  3. where you want to live
  4. long term goals
  5. children

I’m sure there are a bunch of other things, but you get the idea of what things I consider important, things that could impact a future relationship.

Do you talk about these things, future type things at the beginning of a relationship, when things are fresh? Do you risk losing the person because you are “moving too fast”?

Do you wait and risk being in love with someone, only to find out that you have irreconcilable differences on things that matter?

How do you know when it’s the right time to bring up tough subjects?

or

Do you just avoid discussing them?

Discuss…

106 thoughts on “So What do You Think About…

      1. I think that it is a good way to match you with people that you are more likely to have chemistry with. That being said, it isn’t a guarantee that you will connect with someone. Everyone is different obviously and there are the rare occasions of two people hitting it off from the first date and then go on to have long lasting relationships, but most of the time it takes time and working through rough times.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Personally I feel like these things need to be discussed early (like within the first month) to avoid disappointment and potential heartbreak later. If it scares them off it wasn’t meant to be.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Fair enough. I’m quite an emotionally intense person, which means I don’t scare easily but I also scare off people frequently! Thankfully my husband stuck with me at the start of our relationship, when most people would have bolted haha!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Sorry, but I’m struggling to get past the idea of thinking about whether you might have a long-term/serious future with someone after just one date – that sort of thinking is completely alien to me – whether at that age, or at any other age.

    As for finding out about things that are important to you, surely dating is for getting to know someone, and you find out more about people by observing their behaviour rather than by asking multiple questions. What’s to stop a person telling you lies if they know/intuit that’s what you want to hear? Give a person time to show you who they are is my motto.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I get the part about knowing from the beginning. However, my friends who have the most successful relationships has that from the beginning thing going on. As for the person revealing themselves….I guess I go back to, if you don’t ask the question will you get the answer…do we ever assume things?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sure, people do assume things. But they also choose not to pay attention to things they are told or have seen. You can ask all the questions, get all the right answers, have them be the truth, but still end up out of sync if one of you changes and the other remains the same. If you’re on exactly the same path, wanting exactly the same things, you still have to either stay the same together, or change together, or you’ll end up out of step. Friends of mine who had that beginning thing, have just divorced after over 40 years in their 60s. Nothing dreadful happened, they just changed and in different directions to one another. No amount of asking questions and having aligned views when you first meet can prevent that.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. No one can foresee how you’ll change. But when after two years of a relationship one partner assumes the other is ready to do something and the other has no idea is an issue

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Never assume that a relationship is a success because of how you see it from the outside. Often the ones that appear to be the best are far from it. Some are but just as many are not. Trust your instincts and stop trying to make everything fit right off the bat. Communication and comprise are your friends and required if you want to succeed in a relationship

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Let’s see: start dating in August; move in together the next spring; get engaged and marry the following spring; talk about all those things during that time; end up divorced 30+ years later. Did I assume more than what was verbally said? Did he? Did we just listen to what we wanted and block out unsuitable answers to those questions? People share half-truths based on fear of loss, shame, guilt…People see what they want to see for the same reasons. I agree with debscarey: behaviors can tell you so much more about a person, and unfortunately sometimes those behaviors come way too late in the relationship, after the commitment has already happened.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. But things like, wanting to live near family, or move across the country…I agree that opinions like that change over time, but sometimes this is an issue that can be avoided

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I agree…if everyone is being honest with themselves and each other. There’s outright lying, but then there’s also the baggage we carry into relationships that influence how we actually answer those questions. The words simply aren’t enough. Paying attention to actions and interactions with others surrounding those words can tell a different story.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Of course meaning is individualized, which is why there is no better or worse or fool-proof way to approach this topic. Personally I attach great meaning to actions, and when they abruptly end- alongside a hurtful comment about why, presented in one of those pseudo-joking ways, that action screams red flags to me. When that continues and grows, and nothing like this was ever present in those early days after long, heartfelt conversations…do I wonder what was missed or left out of those answers or do I assume the person has suddenly become a sociopath. There’s no way to generalize your discussion topic because there’s no way to generalize words or actions. Every couple will approach this topic in a different way and find a 50/50 chance outcome that they asked the correct things and got the correct and satisfying answers and live a happy life… or not. It’s not a right or wrong approach because human behavior often is not logical or predictable

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Well then you’re probably going to have issues no matter what! You’ve replied to multiple comments that you’re on the fence as to when these issues should be addressed. You’ve also stated, I believe, that you’re looking for a best answer, a right or wrong time, but why is that question so important, why does it need to have a definitive answer? I love that you toss out concepts like this, and that they create endless possible outcomes, but sometimes (often) we have to accept that a final answer just isn’t available. The variables involved in finding an ultimate, universal conclusion are just too many because humans are just too nuanced, too complicated. I love pondering these things, but sadly you won’t ever get a final answer from me, at least on this one because I don’t believe there is a solid conclusion. 🙂 And I suspect your daughter got her debate genes from you since you love to toss out these forever types of discussions 😉

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I know I love to go round and round…but we can also toss in online profiles. Are they just a way to narrow down our list of possibilities? Are algorithms better at predicting comparability?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Again, truth variables comes into play. Maybe the answer actually exists in the genetically modified human who is born with an internal lie detector to alert others to unresolved issues, half truths, and outright lies.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think patience is needed. Maybe at 28, a woman feels like her bio clock is ticking, so she feels an urgency to check boxes, but someone can check the boxes of religion, politics, earning power, career ambitions, etc and still not be The One. My Ex checked all those boxes and more, so we got married after 3 years. We were married for 25 years and I consider it a successful one. My problem was I didn’t screen for things like controlling, emotionally abusive behaviors, drinking that was close to abusive and other things that created a wedge and made me very unhappy. Today I am in no hurry to commit to anyone. I want to stretch my wings and see what casual dating is all about, meet new people, try new things. Great post!

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I’m not sure there’s a specific date number that’s appropriate for bringing up the Big Questions. I think the questions could come up naturally during conversations. Like talking about current events, your political leaning would come up.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh boy…..I think I could write a book on this topic based on our daughter’s relationship failures. In my opinion, the sooner these topics are brought into the conversation, the better. If the “contender” is scared off, there’s probably a reason and no more time should be wasted. On the other hand, the first date is not the time to pepper the date with questions when you’re just trying to get to know them and assess whether there is something worth pursuing. Most of these topics can be subtly addressed when talking about current events; it doesn’t need to be done in Spanish Inquisition style. We all are on our best behavior at the beginning of a possible relationship. But, there will be red flags early on that a person will decide to either ignore or address before it goes too far. The worst scenario is to see these red flags and think they are okay because “you can change/improve/save” then and turn them into what you really want. The most successful relationships don’t involve two people who love all the same things….they involve shared core values that form a solid base for the relationship. And, discovering those core values can take some time. 💜

    Liked by 5 people

    1. You’re right about core values….those are often what make and break relationships…and often these are the hardest to know…sometimes we don’t even know ourselves

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I think you definitely have to have the conversations but not necessarily on the first date. According to my husband, he knew I was the one the minute he looked in my eyes and shook my hand when we met and I hadn’t said anything other than “Hi, nice to meet you.” We definitely have some different opinions on a lot of things and right now are struggling most with having our adult kids still live at home (he minds, I don’t care). I know we didn’t discuss that at all. So I guess I can’t answer your question about when is the right time to discuss important things because the issues may change the longer you stay together and life situations may come up that you hadn’t thought about at all.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I think these subjects generally come up naturally in the course of normal conversation (commenting on a movie or the news, or talking about one’s family). To raise them in a low-level interrogation or game of 20 Questions seems to reveal a degree of desperation that is off-putting (and maybe a bit creepy). Don’t be in such a rush. Give the relationship the time it needs.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. While it may seem rushing it to talk about these issues in the early parts of a relationship, some of them are so critical to what a person wants out of life that it’s probably best to address them. Otherwise you continue to invest in a relationship that may be destined to fail or even if it progresses, becomes contentious because of those issues. Best to find someone whose life pursuits align with yours. Saves time and heartache.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. On a couple’s first date, American ‘shark’ and financial genius Kevin O’Leary says both parties should lay all their cards upon the table, children, financial goals everything! Sounds very unromantic but at least the couple will know where they stand. As for me, on my first date the girl appeared to want to talk about her pet horse all night 😀 ……….amusing when I look back!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I believe many successful long-term relationships begin with physical chemistry. Either it’s there, or it’s not. That spark, long-term, is essential.
    And, dating apps based on ‘compatibility ‘ can’t assess this.
    It was love- at- first sight when I met my husband.
    We discussed all the essential questions early, and married a few months after meeting. 🌼🤗🌷

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I think you’d pick up cues pretty quickly when it comes to religion and politics. As for long term goals and having children — opinions and decisions could change in time. My son’s been with his girlfriend since he was a freshman in college and he’s 28 now. They align on most of the big things. They didn’t want marriage and kids until recently!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Prior to our first date my wife told her parents I was God Fearing… I’m not actively religious. Sometimes I think (her being the daughter of a Lutheran Pastor, and growing up in the church) she said that just to appease them.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Perhaps that is why we have divorces, second marriages, stepparents and sometimes we get lucky but mostly we learn by saying “yes” and sometimes we walk away realizing our differences. If someone realizes this at 28, more power to them!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Date a little while first. How many dates? Depends on the two people. Might be the first date, might be the tenth. Important to not force it. Remember, though, I’m recently divorced…haha. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Sixty years ago John and I talked about our past experiences and current happenings. It was marvelous to get to know each other without talking about the future. When we both felt we had a future together, everything seemed to fall into place. Even though we grew up in different areas of the country, our families had similar values.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Too much too soon and I think men don’t really listen to everything to you say.. My second husband admitted years later that he listened, but only half heartedly because he was very attracted to me and said twenty years into our marriage that he would have agreed with probably anything I said to eventually get in my good graces and go to bed with me! I was shocked to hear that so many years later. But he admitted it. So had been somewhat deceptive . Yeah he was a good guy, but he had an alternate motive. I had been divorced a while and I decided since I met a really sweet man who was hired to fill in for a fellow teacher on maternity leave for a few weeks and I’d see him at lunch each day I got to really like him. So when his three weeks were up as a substitute he asked if he could take me to lunch on the weekend. I said yes. It was a nice casual date and by then we were comfortable chatting with one another. I remember I was very up front. I shared my personal interests right away. (My love of literature, my favorite authors, poets, favorite artists, my interests in the theatre, types of plays, museums, and hobbies I had). He shared his love of American history, his fascination in the old west, his hobby of being a JFK trivia nut and how he lectured on the JFK assignation at local colleges on the subject. We both found each other interesting. On our next date we saw the movie “The Long Riders” before going out to dinner. I shared that I had a 7 year old son from a previous marriage and explained he came first in my life and planning any dates I had to consider him first. None of that intimidated him so I felt comfortable continuing to get to know him. I told him that honesty was the most important thing in a relationship to me. He admitted his true age and I was surprised to learn he was almost seven years younger than I. But I figured he was educated, intelligent and kind, so I continued dating him.
    And after that I invited him to dinner and to meet my son. They both turned out to be major Miami Dolphins fans and the next week he got us Great tickets to a home game. I’m not a huge football fan but my son was over the moon and got to attend his first live game. Thus began our relationship.

    We were married twenty three years before he died of pancreatic cancer. I learned that he never really cared for poetry of any kind or plain fiction. He loved reading history. So that was his big fake out. I learned early on he was a Democrat which made politics easy for us. But all and all we were pretty much on the same page in many things. He didn’t mind going with me to antique shows or museums because he taught history and I only wanted to purchase vintage items. I wasn’t a big sports fan so he and my son did that. Our own son had more in common with my tastes, but was musical and since my husband played guitar it turned out that was something we all could do together.
    But, the truth is, too much too soon isn’t always processed. He knew I was not an easy mark and so he waited patiently for our relationship to become physical. Thus, he laughed later telling me that he listened to a lot of weird poets that almost put him to sleep just so he get amorous with me. Lol
    Funny if you think about it. On the other hand. If he had been a Republican I’m not sure I could have continued dating him. I needed a liberal guy who believed in equal rights for women.
    Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh me too but the other way. I had to rise early for work but on weekends and summers off I slept late and so did he. I don’t think I could have endured it. Also or someone who was a religious fanatic. I’m spiritual and believe in G-d but I don’t like judgemental faiths who want to tell others how to believe or who to love. My second husband wasn’t Jewish but we celebrated snd shared major holidays in a pleasant non threatening way together. It was lovely. His mom never really approved. But I ignored it since he didn’t put up with her nonsense. And the kids liked celebrating everything.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. This is actually something I talk about often with my kids, my daughter especially as she doesn’t want kids so already has a major conversational hurdle in front of her with anyone she dates. The consensus around here is that it depends. Helpful, right! It really depends on the person and the kinds of conversations you have with them. Some people, conversation just flows naturally and those things will come up along the way in their own time, at the right time. Others, it needs to actively be brought in. I’m of the opinion that if the conversation doesn’t really flow naturally, chances are that isn’t the right person for you in the first place, but that is a whole other conversation. No matter who, I do think it needs to be early on, though a specific date number doesn’t apply. It really should be based on the amount of time you spend talking to the person. A date can be a 20 minute coffee outing or a day long trip to the zoo, so putting a date # on when to have that conversation really doesn’t work. If you are far enough along that you are thinking deeper into the future than just another date, it is probably time to be trying to work those subjects into the conversation.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I would say that all of those things should be brought in the first few months at least. Politics maybe not as critical, but the other areas are pretty big things that can cause major problems if not in agreement. Why spend time falling deeper in love with someone if you may have serious differences that can’t be reconciled?

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Great post! I’ve found that most of these issues came up in early conversation when I was dating in my 20s. Before that, teenage years, were all about sex for everyone. However, I think it takes a long time to truly get to know a person, perhaps years. I’ll say 5 years. Things come out over time. It may be true that some people change over time, but I often think there was no change, you just didn’t really know the person in the beginning. I discussed all of these things with my first wife and we seemed to be on the same page on everything. Then she began cheating on me and later she would tell her friends that she only married me to have a child. Was she lying all of the time she was with me? I have no idea. But I think if you really want to make a relationship work for the long term, the earlier you discuss these things the better. Hopefully you’ll get honest answers.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. In my opinion you are taking the wrong approach to a potential relationship. If you are looking to check boxes off on a list of requirements then you aren’t ready for a serious long term relationship. Especially after one date. As another person stated in their answer anyone can tell you what you want to hear and they may not do it on purpose. They might pick up on your views and try to make theirs match.
    I am going to give you the best advice you can get and it’s up to you what you do with it. Look for a guy you have at least a mild physical attraction to, a guy that treats you with respect but also isn’t afraid to have an opinion different from yours, a guy that makes you laugh, a guy that will laugh at himself, a guy that is career oriented, a guy that treats the waiter with the same respect as the owner of the restaurant and a guy that is comfortable in his own skin.
    When you get past the initial infatuation period and you both still can’t wait to be together when you’re apart then you will know you have something with a chance to succeed. Forget checking your boxes as a lot of that stuff matters way less than his character. You shouldn’t have to make each other happy, your happiness should compliment that of the other person.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Are you specifically giving me dating advice? Cause I’ve been married for twenty years. This is purely a thought/discussion exercise based on comments others made in a post I wrote a few months ago.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well I guess I am just giving advice based on the questions you are asking and the advice is good for anyone whether looking for a relationship or trying to improve one. Congratulations on 20 years, I am glad to hear that. Too many aren’t willing to put in the work it takes to have a good relationship. I know I had my struggles in my younger years. I was wrongfully made to believe that my value was in certain physical gifts and not my personality.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. I’m not sure when the right time is to ask for the first time but what I’ve discovered is that even the things you think are fundamentals for your partner can change over time. I guess what I’m trying to say is once you get the answers to your big questions once you can’t assume they’re gonna be that way for life. People change.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Why wouldn’t you talk with someone you considered ‘the one’? I’m not meaning sitting with a questionnaire like it’s a job interview, but surely you wouldn’t give your heart without knowing their mind? Maybe it’s because I’m shy but to my mind, conversation about things that matter is a very sexy way to get to know each other rather than bump and grind in a dark corner with no words about what matters. Just my humble opinion about love which it was at 28 as it is now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Here’s my thing…I see plenty of couples who marry, and then a few years into marriage they discover traits about their partner that they said they never knew. So many people don’t discuss the big stuff, and then wonder why there are problems after that

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  23. when one is in love up to one’s ears, pragmatism goes away. There is no opinion or attitude that one does not accept for the sake of the other. We say to ourselves: It’s wonderful how much we understand … we are on one wave …. The pragmatic attitude comes later. It comes only when together in one house (or apartment) we start to “disrupt” the personal space. It’s my opinion..my experiences… 🙂🌹🌞

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  24. Sorry, but I am 19 years old. But, right now, I have no dreams, no success, no realtionships and I really don’t want all of these things. The thing that I have is Pen, writing with my dead voice.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. No matter how tough the discussion points are, they should be discussed as early as possible in orther to know which road to take; whether to continue walking in the same road a take a different direction. No true love has an easy going, and with tough issue, the stronger it becomes if and when onlybitbis for real

    Liked by 1 person

  26. This is my second relationship! I guess you move faster than when you’re younger!
    I had 18 requirements which I sent him. He was fine with them!
    On our first date we talked for hours! We talked about what we wanted! And it hasn’t been smooth sailing but we are learning as we go. It’s nearly two years now.

    Liked by 1 person

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