About a year ago, I met a guy who my parents introduced me to. There was the customary small talk followed by me asking him if he read. There was this blank look of incomprehension on his face as if I’d suddenly started speaking in French. Apart from academic books, he hadn’t picked up another book in, probably, years. Not even a magazine – I checked. I, on the other hand, love books. Sometimes I read four or five books from different series at a time. Books have been my best friend since a young age, and I immediately knew that it wasn’t going to be easy with him.
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I’m not saying he wasn’t a nice guy, he was. He was smart, tech-savvy, courteous, and serious (more than me, and that says a lot about him), and lots of other things that made him a very eligible man for someone else, not me. I was more interested in finding out whether the murder was done by the butler or the unsuspecting second wife than I was interested in finding out who won the Formula One race in the Italian Grand Prix. As the meeting went on and truth upon truth was dropped, it became crystal clear that it wasn’t just the latest novel by Patricia Cornwell or Richelle Mead that made us too different. He thought novels, especially romance novels, were a waste of time (cue horrified gasp), and on the weekends, he did his laundry and washed his car. That was the entirety of his weekend. Seriously.
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He couldn’t understand how writing could be a career for me, nor did he seem to get why it was important for me to travel the world and soak in all that the world had to offer. I could tell he was put off by the fact that I’d spent my savings to travel to Greece with my cousins, without any ‘adult’ supervision – a fact that I was super-proud of. I think that was the proverbial nail in the coffin of our budding (or should I say, not-so-budding) association. That was the last I ever heard from him or his family. No regrets though.
After this catastrophic meeting, I decided to make a list of all the things I’d like to ask a potential beau before I got too emotionally involved. Mind, this isn’t a complete list of questions to ask your partner – additions are made almost weekly – but it sure is coming up to be a comprehensive one. I’d urge you to add your own questions to this so that you aren’t caught off guard by someone you’ve been going out with for a while now.
1. Do you consider yourself a feminist?
This is one of the most important questions according to me. If your partner doesn’t believe in feminism, or worse, thinks feminism = man-hating, then you are doomed and your relationship would have died even before it began. If they are against feminism, then they’re against equality. However, if they don’t understand the concept at all, and their attitude remains the same even after you’ve explained, then RUN! With your sneakers on – in the opposite direction!
2. Would you support my career?
This one is right next to them being a feminist or not. Actually, come to think of it, it’s an extension of the previous question. Many men I’ve met want a partner ‘who’s going to be there for them, support them through thick and thin, and generally be unswerving in loyalty and support.’ However, when I simply ask them if they’d extend the same courtesy to their partners, they say in an offhand manner that ‘it’s pretty obvious.’ No, it’s really not. I really don’t want to deal with misunderstandings a few years down the line based on this ‘obvious assumption’ I made. I want it spelled out – clearly and without a shadow of a doubt.
3. Would you take on half the housework?
I remember meeting this one guy a couple of years ago, who was living abroad, and one of the first things he said to me when asked about life in a distant land was that he didn’t like the housework. Essentially, he was looking for a glorified, educated, fairly good-looking housekeeper, not a life partner! When we both live in the same house, it belongs to both of us, and in essence, the housework belongs to both of us too. At the end of the day, it’s making it work – as a team, whether you choose to do the laundry and fold them, or cook and clean.
4. Are you close with your family?
This is pretty subjective, and depends mostly on how you were raised and the relationship you shared with your parents and sibling(s) growing up. I admit that everyone’s experiences and circumstances are different. However, family as a value is pretty important to me. I’m very close with my brother and my parents, in that order. If my partner didn’t respect these connections, or didn’t show any inclination to engage with the people I love and care about, then it’s going to be a pretty sore point.
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5. What is your fitness routine?
This might seem like a really shallow/subjective question, but it’s not. Whether you’re a fitness freak or do it more because your mum keeps hounding you to become fitter, you need to have a fitness routine. Your health is in your hands – for the most part – and you need to take good care of yourself.
6. Do you like to read?
As mentioned above, I’m a voracious reader and a self-proclaimed bibliophile. So, while it’s not a deal breaker, it would definitely raise your value as a life partner, in my opinion, if you’re a reader. Doesn’t matter if you stick to fiction or non-fiction or even just interesting magazines. The point is that you need to read. My philosophy is that you gain more knowledge from in between the pages of a book than watching a movie. There’s just something really appealing to me to meet men who read – the more voracious they are, the better.
7. How do you identify yourself with regards to politics?
This can get pretty heated in my opinion, if your political affiliations don’t match with your partner’s. It’s better to know it beforehand so that you’re not caught off guard when you learn your partner’s extreme far right leanings. *shudder*
8. Do you believe in monogamy?
You don’t want to find out that your partner believes in ‘free love’ about three months (or much more) into the relationship, do you? Nope, just nope.
9. What are your views on cheating and infidelity?
Now, this is a very tricky subject for me personally. When it comes to fidelity and loyalty, I see things in black or white. However, as I’ve become older, I have come to understand that the world of relationships is pretty spectacularly grey as opposed to my narrow view. But, I strongly believe that the presence of the vast grey doesn’t matter in the end because it all boils down to this one statement: Cheating is a choice. When you’re in a relationship, you’re in it one hundred percent. There’s no in-between; you’re either in it, or not.
10. What are your goals?
The ambition to succeed and the drive to make a mark in this world are pretty crucial in a partner. When you have a partner who truly understands what makes you get up in the morning and head to work day after day, it’s going to be a true partnership. Both of you being motivated and dedicated to your work, creates a partnership where you’re each other’s personal cheerleaders, who’re going to push each other to achieve the goals you’ve dreamed up.
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11. Do you want kids?
If you want babies as soon as possible and your partner doesn’t even like kids, then you’re better off calling it quits. Because if you get into the relationship thinking you’ll “change their mind,” then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment – majorly. Besides, it isn’t fair, but just plain mean.
These are just some of the questions to ask your partner that I’ve come up with. You should add more if you think they’re really important to you. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like much, that you could ‘compromise’ on a few things in life to have a good relationship. However, everyone has their saturation points – the point past which they cannot endure. While these are mine, you need to figure out what yours are and stick to them, in my opinion.
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