How well do you know your partner?
We’re not talking about addresses, favorite foods or phone numbers. We’re also not talking about background checks, private investigators or DNA confirmations, so please tuck your insecurities and suspicions.
I mean, how well do you REALLY know the person you’re romantically involved with?
What I’m talking about is the REAL PERSON. The person that gives you the keys to all doors. All secrets. All dreams. The person that acknowledges the imperfections of who they are and chooses without an ounce of fear, to let you see, probe and learn. They point out all the pains that have devastated them. They can speak on all the experiences that have constructed their buildings of hope. They open themselves up to you completely.
Do you know who that person is? Has your current lover really revealed everything about themselves? And what about you? Have you done the same?
Failures and successes within a relationship can often be measured by how well the couple knows one another. In the era of cell phones, Wi-Fi and fast food, our tolerance for the natural progression of learning other people has moved to nonexistent. Most of us feel as though we just don’t have enough time. It’s like a race against the clock for basic human interaction.
There are a lot of people out there who don’t even know the person they’re in a relationship with. They know more about the latest playoff game than what truly makes their partner happy. Taking days and months to get to know your lover just seems like, well……work. Most of us fool ourselves with thinking that every relationship should just “click”. We fail to realize that the work is truly ours to do in getting to know someone.
And here’s the biggest kicker. 70% of most people are in the wrong relationships. That’s right, I said it. 70 percent! It’s really that high!
The average person doesn’t seek the truth about the person they’re dating. Not the real truth. That kind of truth usually takes more than 3 months to discover. Heck, it probably takes more than 3 years to discover. But most of us abide by engagement clocks. Your mom’s desire to become a grandparent has more value than the happiness and mental safety of each person within your relationship. Most of us settle with whomever warms our bed or marginally plays to our half-baked ideas of what we think of ourselves. Instead of opening up to our mates, we try to get them to buy into our lie. The lie we tell ourselves about who we are. The lie we feed ourselves about who we want to be and the real reason we never get there.
I know. I know. This seems really negative. But it doesn’t have to be. Today could be the start of the real you. Remove what you think you know about your lover. Start from the beginning. Here are 20 ways you can learn more about your lover:
1. Set the table: To roll up on your lover and just start asking random questions will get you the side eye for sure. You can’t do that. You have to give a detailed explanation as to the reason you’re asking so many questions and what you hope to achieve. Be honest.
2. Happiest moments: Don’t assume the day he or she met you is the happiest moment of their lives. Surprise! It’s probably not. Let them tell you. Listen. Intently. Take notice of their body language when talking about this. Try to go to that happy place with them in your imagination. Ask questions about it. How did they feel? Why is that moment the happiest?
3. Journeys explored: Once you’ve gotten them to talk about the happy time, see if they would like to go there. Literally. Some people won’t be receptive to this. But most of us gravitate towards our happier moments and wouldn’t decline an invite from their lover to visit a little piece of their happiness.
4. Friendships of the past: Talk with your lover about friendships they had. Good and bad. Why they weren’t successful and why some were important to them.
5. The retro me: Dig upon the differences of who they were versus who they are now. Attempt to pinpoint the metamorphosis. You’re not there to confirm any type of change. Stand back from all forms of judgment. Let them reveal what they want. You’re only there to learn.
6. Childhood: People always assume that children don’t remember. But there is a very scary fact: We all remember both good and bad from our childhoods. Inquire about this period of time. The good and the bad. Some people may open up immediately. Some people move in inches when speaking about their childhoods. Your job is not to push them. Your only job is to learn according to what they may be open to. Maybe you’ll get shut down. Maybe there are no problems and they reveal all. Simply inquire when the moments are right.
7. Moments of pain: This is a touchy subject. No one experiences one moment of pain to make them who they are. Pain comes at different times and each injury holds a different level of pain. But they are all important. You couldn’t possibly ever learn all the pain in one conversation. I repeat: YOU CAN NEVER LEARN ALL OF THE PAIN A PERSON HAS EXPERIENCED IN ONE SITTING. This is usually a months and sometimes yearlong process of probing. Never discuss pain in a public setting. You never know what will come out. But be there. Listen. Ask a small question and listen some more. And listen some more. And listen some more.
8. Hello Two-Face: We all have a darker side. You do. I do. Everyone does. Talk to your partner about the things they’ve done to hurt others. Maybe it was a co-worker. Maybe they cheated on an ex. Dig into the reasons they did it. Dig into the joy they may have received from it. Everyone has hurt someone during their life. Intentional or not.
9. Funny moments: This particular topic is one of the most wonderful to explore. There are quite a few gems I can remember through the years of my life. Find these moments. You both will laugh (well, some of you may not laugh) and these light moments will draw you closer to one another. Ask them about the funny things.
10. High school all over again: High school is a hit and miss as it pertains to comedy. But it’s always an interesting subject for learning about your lover. Losing your virginity, embarrassing moments, high school dances, mean teachers, bullies, your first boyfriend or girlfriend…. It’s a fertile ground for learning about your lover.
11. …and College while you’re at it: The way that I remember it, college was the actual moment in which a person is actually responsible for themselves in ways that other schools never allowed. But don’t minimize those moments. College was some very intense stuff. You’ll learn a lot about your lover on this topic.
12. Family: Digging into family relationships is like solving a Rubik’s Cube. Each person makes them feel a different way. Crawl through this one with a lot of time. Family dynamics are truly weird.
13. The Exes: I touched on this briefly in other topics but this one is still ripe with information about who your lover is. How did they interact with them? What things did they like? Was the sex good? If yes, why? If no, why? Do they consider them a friend? Why or why not? It may seem invasive (it actually is very invasive) but it’s worth the exploration.
14. The future: The future could include you at some point. But on this subject, avoid yourself. This is an individual inquiry. What are your lover’s goals? Why haven’t they gotten there? Does their current job push them towards that goal or has life and the bill collectors forced a career upon them? How do they feel about their professional success? How does it measure?
15. Appearance: Explore how they feel about themselves. Are they happy with who they are? Do they exercise? If so, why? If not, why? This could tell you a lot about what they think of themselves.
16. Crying: How often do they cry? Why did they cry? Are they ashamed of crying? You can probably figure this out in time but for many men, tears are released while they are alone. It’s weird, I know but that’s how most men handle crying. Find out about it.
17. Moments with you: Ask about times in which you disagreed. What did you do to make them feel a certain way? You’re not seeking an answer to who was right and who was wrong. You’re trying to learn about your lover.
18. Weaknesses: I seriously doubt everyone even knows what their own weaknesses are. It takes a very strong person to determine where they fall short over the course of their lives. But hey. Some of us have that heightened ability. Inquire and discover.
19. Lies: Have you ever asked someone to admit the many times they lied to you? Here’s a hint: don’t. Instead of making it about you, ask them about the lies they’ve told in their lives. Maybe they aren’t gigantic lies and maybe they are. But finding out build a trust between the two of you beyond your wildest imagination.
20. Their true opinions on love: Hey, some people don’t know where the land on the topic of love and happiness. To some, love is a chemical reaction and sex is a bodily function. It would be nice to know that before you lay with someone for many months and he or she dumbs you because they’ve gotten bored with sex.