In the 1990s, psychologists Arthur and Elaine Aron developed some questions. The aim of the questions: love. In 2015, the very same questions were used as part of a viral social experiment.
A woman tried these questions on an acquaintance and they went on to tie the knot.
Since then, people have used these questions on first dates and even experts have assigned them to couples wanting to reconnect.
Things to know
- The 21 questions to ask in a new relationship are designed to explore compatibility, values, goals, intimacy, and conflict resolution.
- Asking the right questions can bring couples closer together by fostering deeper connections and understanding each other's perspectives.
- Setting the right mood, being honest and open in your responses, and enjoying the process of building a deeper connection are important when asking these questions.
The 36 questions to fall in love, as they are commonly known, prove something to us. In the words of the Arons themselves, ‘there is power in sustained, escalating, reciprocal personalistic self-disclosure.’
Simply put, asking the right questions can bring us closer to each other.
If 36 questions can endear one stranger to another, what can they do to a couple in love?
In addition to the famous 36 questions, couples all over the world are asking each other questions about their favorite colors or what their favorite things to do on a Sunday are.
From deep questions to romantic questions to fun questions, the questions below are for couples in every new relationship:
- What should a good relationship look like?
- What do you want most out of a relationship?
- How would you like me to love you?
- When you’re having a bad day what would you like me to do?
- How have you changed over the years?
- When you were growing up how was conflict handled in your family?
- How do you deal with anger and other negative emotions?
- What is cheating to you?
- Is cheating a deal-breaker?
- What kind of parent would you like to be?
- Do you forgive easily or do you hold grudges?
- What do you think about marriage?
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
- What are your views on money in a relationship?
- Do you prefer to spend or save?
- Is it important for a couple to share the same political or religious beliefs?
- How do you feel about the physical aspects of our relationship?
- Do you have a bucket list?
- How committed are you to the things in your life?
- What was the biggest lesson from your worst breakup?
- How do you feel about my appearance changing?
New Relationship Questions
There's nothing quite like the thrill and wonder of a new relationship. When a relationship is new, getting to know each other on a deeper level is important. You don’t want the honeymoon phase to fade away and discover that you have zero in common.
Some of the best questions for new relationships explore:
- Conflict resolution
Here you’ll find 21 carefully curated questions for a new relationship. These relationship questions cover compatibility, values, goals, intimacy, and conflict resolution - all things that experts claim are crucial to building a lasting relationship.
You can measure each other’s emotional growth and determine if you're willing to meet each other's expectations.
Setting the right mood
Before diving into the questions, it’s important to set the right mood. Make your partner feel like a valued dinner guest. The goal isn't to badger them for answers, but to have a meaningful conversation.
Take turns answering the questions as honestly as you can. Your responses are likely to lead you on a journey of exploration. Just go with it. Try to understand each other's perspectives and most importantly, enjoy the process of building a deeper connection.
In a long-distance relationship? Don’t fret. A meaningful conversation is just a phone call away. Go ahead and make a virtual date out of it.
1. What should a good relationship look like?
A greater understanding of your partner's relationship expectations can be achieved by asking this important question. Perhaps you want some big spoon-little spoon action every night and they prefer some space. Maybe you like matching tees and they find them a little, well, cringe.
This would be useful to know early on in the relationship. You probably wouldn't want to learn that your partner hates snuggles after getting kicked off the bed at 2 am in the morning.
2. What do you want most out of a relationship?
Is it emotional connection, physical intimacy, or dependability? Maybe they want a loyal best friend or a trusted partner in crime. Perhaps they want someone to bring a little stability to their chaotic life.
Knowing each other's primary reasons for being in a relationship is important in the early stages of a relationship. Not only does it make you aware of each other's goals, but it also lets you determine if you're willing to meet each other's expectations.
3. How would you like me to love you?
Do they want consistency or undivided attention? Would they appreciate hearing loving words every day? Are public displays of affection a must? Understanding how your partner wants to be loved can lead to a happy relationship. This is also a great chance to explore each other's love languages.
Love languages are the ways people express love. They include 1) acts of service, 2) quality time, 3) words of affirmation, 4) physical touch, and 5) giving gifts. By understanding each other's love languages you can work on becoming great partners to each other.
4. When you’re having a bad day what would you like me to do?
Some people like to talk through their issues while others prefer to be left alone. It’s good to know which side of the camp your partner belongs to. Would they like to vent about their horrible boss over a tub of ice cream or would they prefer to binge on their favorite tv show?
Do either of you like unsolicited advice or do you prefer a silent shoulder to cry on? Asking this question allows you to respect each other's boundaries and expectations.
5. How have you changed over the years?
This question is a great way to appreciate how your partner has grown over the years. Maybe they managed to turn their most embarrassing moment into a learning experience.
Perhaps their favorite memory is what inspired them to make their latest career change. Relationships often challenge us to be flexible and open to change. If your partner values growth and self-improvement, that's a good sign.
6. When you were growing up how was conflict handled in your family?
You can learn a lot about your partner's conflict management style by asking this question. Was their younger self exposed to unhealthy conflict? Were any of their family members violent?
Do their past experiences still affect their approach to conflict? Are they avoidant or confrontational? A healthy relationship relies on healthy conflict resolution strategies, so it's a good idea to find out if your approaches are compatible from the beginning.
7. How do you deal with anger and other negative emotions?
The ability to cope with negative emotions is an important part of maintaining a healthy relationship. The answer to this question will give you some insight into how your partner handles negative emotions like anger and frustration.
At the first sign of conflict, do they curl up into a prickly ball like a hedgehog or do they charge into matters like a rhinoceros? Do they take a walk or do some other physical activity to calm down?
8. What is cheating to you?
Maybe flirting with other people is their biggest pet peeve in a relationship. Perhaps keeping in touch with exes is a big no for you but a big fat yes for them.
Finding out what you both consider "cheating" early in a relationship can save you a lot of friction later. It’ll also help you establish clear boundaries.
9. Is cheating a deal-breaker?
For some people, being betrayed by the person they love most is their biggest fear. Does your partner feel that trust can never be rebuilt after cheating? Perhaps cheating is something you feel you could forgive but your partner feels otherwise.
It's important to know how you both feel about cheating in the early stages of the relationship.
10. What kind of parent would you like to be?
Do they see themselves as a cool parent? Do they see themselves as a parent at all? Bringing up the subject of kids can be awkward, especially in a new relationship.
This question is a great way to find out if they want to have kids someday without being too obvious about it. This is also a great way to figure out their family values, and what kind of parent they would like to be.
11. Do you forgive easily or do you hold grudges?
Finding out if your partner forgives easily or if they tend to hold grudges is pretty important. Relationships challenge us to practice forgiveness regularly. There will be times when you don't agree with each other, and being able to forgive and move on without resentment is crucial.
Being ghosted by your partner for 10 whole days because you disagreed on where to eat dinner doesn't sound fun right?
12. What do you think about marriage?
Maybe they don't believe in the institution of marriage. Perhaps they were never exposed to what a good marriage looks like. This question is a great way to test for compatibility.
If a successful marriage is a priority for you, understanding your partner's views on it early on can save you a lot of emotional distress later on. If their views are similar to yours, congrats. There might be wedding bells in the future. But, if your partner thinks marriage is a trap where dreams go to die, good luck.
13. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Yes, the dreaded 'where do you see yourself in 10 years' question. Cringeworthy job interviews aside, this is a great question to figure out your partner's hopes, dreams, and goals.
If you're considering staying with your partner long-term, this is a good way of assessing your compatibility. Does the future they envision sound like something you'd be interested in? Are your aspirations similar?
If you're thinking of a high-rise in New York while they're thinking of chickens and goats on a farm, you might want to reevaluate things.
14. What are your views on money in a relationship?
This is a good question to ease into money matters without asking specific questions. Does your partner feel that expenses should be shared?
Do they believe in full disclosure or would they prefer some privacy when it comes to their financial affairs? Best get some of the awkwardness surrounding money out of the way early.
15. Do you prefer to spend or save?
While money questions aren't the most romantic questions out there, determining your financial compatibility is important. You don't want to be butting heads over dates, unplanned purchases, or even expensive gifts. Maybe they'd prefer to charge that dream vacation on their credit card while you'd prefer to save up for it.
Perhaps they deserve a feature on extreme penny pinchers while you need to be booked into hoarders anonymous. It’s probably best to figure out if you're on the same page financially before things get serious.
16. Is it important for a couple to share the same political or religious beliefs?
Political and religious issues are a minefield. Be sure to approach this question with as much open-mindedness and respect as possible. Your political or religious views being different doesn't always have to be a deal-breaker, it can be a lesson in tolerance and respecting each other's views.
You won't always agree on things and it's good to figure out what to do when you don't, early on in the relationship.
17. How do you feel about the physical aspects of our relationship?
Physical intimacy is usually essential for developing and maintaining long-term relationships. This simple question leads to a candid discussion about sexual desires and expectations.
Talking about the physical aspects of your relationship might seem like the weirdest thing. But don't wait until you're having intimacy problems to talk about sex.
18. Do you have a bucket list?
Get to know your partner's interests and what new things they would like to try by asking this question. Do they want to visit every amusement park in the world or do they see themselves jumping out of a plane one day?
Perhaps you have bucket list items in common that would make for some unforgettable dates. If your partner doesn't have a bucket list, you can make a fun activity out of creating your own list as a couple.
19. How committed are you to the things in your life?
The ability to commit to things can point to an ability to commit in relationships. If your partner is committed to things in their life, such as their career or hobbies, they are more likely to commit to a long-term relationship.
If you or your partner have trouble committing to anything, you might find adjusting to the whole relationship thing a bit tricky.
20. What was the biggest lesson from your worst breakup?
This question isn't anyone's idea of a fun date night, but it can encourage reflection and help you both discover what you've learned from past relationships.
You can measure each other’s emotional growth. You can also uncover any lingering negative feelings from previous relationships.
21. How do you feel about my appearance changing?
If either of you gained a few pounds would that spell trouble for the relationship? Would a new haircut have either of you running for the hills? You should know from the start how changes in appearance could affect your relationship.
It might seem trivial but recent studies have revealed a rather inconvenient truth about relationships today: looks really matter.
Throw in a few of these to buffer the intensity of the 21 questions.
- If you found a time machine, which time period would you travel to?
- If animals could talk, which one do you think would be the funniest?
- If you had three wishes what would you wish for?
- If you could be any character in a tv show, who would you be?
- If you could only use one word forever, which word would it be?
- Would you rather be able to control time or read people’s minds?
- If you could be a dog for a day what dog would you be?
- If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?
- Would you rather go for 30 days without your phone or 30 days without dessert?
Don't let the fun stop here.
Come up with some questions of your own and let the good times roll.