36 questions to ask your partner to get to know them better, according to relationship experts

36 questions to ask your partner to get to know them better, according to relationship experts
Asking about when someone needs affection the most will help you to support them during the most important times.SolStock/Getty Images
  • Questions for first dates, long-term couples, and the newly engaged can help deepen relationships.
  • Relationship questions can also help you determine if your partner is the right fit.

Wondering how to get to know your significant other better? Or trying to decide if a potential partner is right for you?

It's time to move past the small talk and surface-level questions and dive even deeper.

Here are 36 relationship questions to ask your partner, whether you're on a first date or want to get married.

First date questions

Try these conversation-starters on your first date to get a better idea of your potential partner.

What stresses you out?

While this question will result in some straightforward answers, it can also give you a better idea about their personality overall.


"We all experience stress, no one is immune to it. Asking someone you're into about what they stress about can determine their tolerance and patience level," says Karina Baltazar-Duran, LMFT, couples therapist at Thriveworks.

What's your favorite movie?

This could tell you a little bit about their taste, personality, and sense of humor.

Who was your first crush, and what were they like?

Try this question if you want to learn more about their tastes in physical attributes and personality, too.

Do you spend time with your family?

Questions like this about family can help you learn what your partner values and how they are interpersonally.

Note: A 2018 study found that those who grew up in a healthy family environment are more likely to have healthy romantic relationships in the future.


What do you like to do in your downtime?

This simple question can give you direct answers, but you can also dig for deeper meaning, like how a person copes with stress.

You've just won the Mega Millions lottery. What will you do with the money?

Asking this question can reveal if your partner or date is a saver or spender. It can also identify if they're generous or more selfish.

Do you have animals?

If your pets are a huge part of your life and you consider them family, but your date doesn't even like animals, this could pose a problem.

Plus, having pets can be an indicator of personality. "People with pets can be more compassionate or sensitive than those who don't own pets –– not to say those who don't own pets can't be these things," says Baltazar-Duran.

What's your love language?

There are five types of love languages: affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, or physical touch.


What really bugs you or gets on your nerves?

Knowing your partner's pet peeves can help you get a better idea of their tolerance and patience levels.

What is a 'no go' or non-negotiable for you?

For major life events, like having kids, knowing what your partner is willing and unwilling to negotiate is very important.

What's romantically drawn you to people in the past?

Understanding what they're attracted to can help you identify some of their values, for better or for worse.

Early relationship questions

Once you've been seeing each other for a few weeks or months, ask these questions to further gauge compatibility.

What would we do to have a perfect day, weekend, or evening together?

Enjoying similar activities and having compatible interests is important for lasting relationships.


What are your deep longings and dreams for yourself?

Understanding your partner's dreams can help you better understand what they value most in life and determine if your values align.

What's been the hardest thing you've ever had to do in life so far? How did it impact you?

You can get a deeper understanding of your partner's mindset when you learn how adversity has impacted and shaped who they are.

"There's no right or wrong here, just awareness of their inner strength and emotional reserves," says Liz Jenkins PhD, LMFT, relationship coach and therapist in private practice.

When do you need affection or physical intimacy the most?

Asking this question allows you to learn what your partner needs to be soothed, calmed, or feel connected.

Important: A 2017 study found that couples who practiced positive, effective communication were satisfied in their relationship.


Can you describe what your first heartbreak was?

Gaining insight into their first heartbreak could help you learn how they deal with negative emotions.

What is the first thing you noticed about me?

Not only is it a fun question to ask, but it can clue you in on what they value when it comes to a romantic partner.

What is your most irrational fear?

This question can help you deepen your intimacy, as a person may feel vulnerable sharing what they fear.

What's the biggest risk you've ever taken that didn't pay off?

You can find out more about their tolerance for risk and how they handle disappointment or failure.

What are the top three adventures you've had in your life?

It's a fun question but also gives you a sense of their level of adventure.


Questions to ask your long-term partner

As you start to get more serious, it's important to ask your partner questions about commitment and long-term goals.

What does commitment look like to you?

While you and your partner may be committed to each other, there might be a disconnect between what you both mean by that.

"So many folks assume they are talking about the same thing, assuming because they are dating or living together it means 'committed', on the path to engagement, marriage, etcetera. Many fail to see or overlook the signs that the relationship path is different for their partner," says Jenkins.

Make sure you're on the same page to ensure compatibility.

What are three things on your bucket list?

Maybe their bucket list looks similar to yours, and you can help each other cross those items off.


Do you want kids in the future?

This is an important one because if you don't agree on the answer, things might not work out down the line.

What's your dream home?

Do you both want to live on the east coast, the west coast, the U.S, or another country? Is their dream home at the beach, on a lake, or in a suburb? Making sure you're aligned on where you want to call home is important.

What does your life look like five years from now?

This question can help you understand their life goals and whether or not they match yours.

What do you appreciate most about me?

They should be able to answer this question by now, and it should provide insights into what they value.

What's a life-long goal I could help you realize?

It's a question that shows your commitment to your partner and offers insight into how well you might work together to achieve common goals in the future.


Questions to ask before marriage

Before you tie the knot, make sure to ask your partner these questions.

What is your favorite memory of our relationship?

It's nice to look back on special memories and understand what your partner values about them.

How do you picture retirement?

Retirement is going to be an important part of your future together, it's better to talk about it sooner rather than later.

What would be the greatest adventure we could take together?

Why not start planning now? Maybe for the honeymoon?

What do you consider a successful and happy marriage?

Make sure you're aligned on this or at least understand how you can play a role in making sure you set your marriage up for success.


What are your expectations of our roles in marriage?

Does your partner expect you to do the cooking and cleaning when in reality, you prefer to focus on your career? Make sure you're aligned before tying the knot.

What are your expectations of our roles if we have children?

Does your partner expect you to go to work every day when you really want to be the one who stays home with the kids? Make these roles clear upfront.

How will you offer me support in times of need?

Your partner may be your biggest support system, so make sure you know how you'll best support one another.

How can I offer you support when you need it most?

This takes the guesswork out of being there for your spouse.

What, if anything, would be a cause for divorce in your mind?

It's not romantic to talk about divorce, but it is a possible reality. Discuss each of your non-negotiables in a marriage. Is it infidelity? Emotional neglect? Lack of motivation? It's better to establish this upfront.


Insider's takeaway

Getting to know someone on a deeper level is crucial for a relationship to thrive.

Being vulnerable and opening up to someone, and having them open up to you, can help determine whether you and your partner or date are a good match.