When you’re in a long-term relationship, you are usually on a path to marriage or some serious commitment. That’s a great thing! (Assuming it’s what you want, of course). But as things continue to get more and more serious, and if marriage is in the cards for you two, there are some key conversations you should have before there’s anything legally binding you together.
You may think you know everything about your partner — and we’re sure you know a lot! — but you can’t just assume that you’re on the same page about everything! No one says you and your partner have to agree on everything, but when it comes to some of the super big stuff, you two should be on the same page.
Not only will it make life easier, but it means you are working towards the same goals and long-term plans. Plus, being on the same page means less arguing over things that you are going to do. We all know that arguments happen, but the less arguments you need to have the better, right?
For all of these reasons (and more) there are some key conversations you should have with your long-term partner to make sure you are on the same page, see the future the same way, and are building a strong foundation to keep your relationship strong for years to come.
Key Conversations To Have With Your Long-Term Partner
Do you even want to get married?
Marriage isn’t a given like it used to be when our parents and grandparents got married. It’s no longer expected that you have to get married. Some couples are totally content just being together and don’t need a piece of paper or a huge wedding to prove it.
If you do want this long-term relationship to lead to marriage, you should have that conversation with your partner. If you have already been together for a while, this question should not be as awkward. While you are having the conversation, you should also speak about whether or not you want a big wedding, a small one, destination, or just prefer some courthouse nuptials.
To prenup or not to prenup?
No one goes into a marriage already planning their divorce. But for some, it’s super important to protect their financial assets. Especially if kids are involved, this can become even more important.
If you know that when you get married a prenup is a must-have, this is something you need to discuss with your partner. You need to make sure they’re comfortable with it too and are willing to sign it.
How are you handling finances?
It’s no secret that finances is one of the major reasons why couples are stressed and end up fighting about. There will always be discussions about money to be had. But there are some big ones that you can have to help prepare yourselves for future obstacles.
Do you want to be a one-income family or two-income family? Do you want to be a stay at home mom or dad? Do you have the finances to do so?
How much are you saving for retirement? Are you both contributing for retirement? Are you having a joint bank account or separate ones or both? There is a lot to talk about when it comes to finances.
Do you want kids one day?
Regardless of whether or not you get married, kids can still be on the table…and it’s a super important conversation to have. If you never want to have kids, you need to make that known as kids can be one of the biggest deal breakers to a relationship.
If you and your partner do both want to have kids one day, that shouldn’t be the end of the discussion. How many kids do you want to have? Do you want to adopt? What kind of school do you want to send your kids too? If you and your partner are different religions, what religion are you raising your kids in (if any?)?
Where are we going to live?
If you and your partner are already living in the same place, and both of your families are there, great! But if you are long-distance, living away from family, or living somewhere you thought would just be part time, you need to have the conversation about where you see yourself living in the future and where your forever home should be.
Of course, have this conversation with the understanding that things can change and moving may be inevitable due to family circumstances or work relocation (be sure to have those conversations too!) but both knowing where you want to settle down together is key. You don’t want to be the person living somewhere you don’t want to and end up resenting your partner for making you move there.
What do you consider cheating? Is it a deal breaker?
People can have different definitions when it comes to infidelity. For some it’s going all the way and for others it can be a kiss. Have that conversation to let your partner know what it means to you and what you consider a relationship ender.
Or, if you want to have an open relationship, that is a very important conversation you need to have with your partner too to make sure that they’re OK with it (and that you’re both following the same set of rules!). If any sort of cheating is 100% a relationship ender for you, make sure your partner knows that.
Communication is key when it comes to all relationships, and especially when it comes to healthy long-term relationships. Sure some of the above conversations can seem a bit awkward to initiate but getting them out of the way and coming to an agreement with your partner will set you both up well for an even longer-term relationship. For some people, some answers to the above questions can be non-negotiables, which means it’s better to find out your partners thoughts and feelings on these things before any legally binding docs are signed.