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Relationships • Compatibility

Questions To Ask About Someone We Are Thinking Of Committing To

Imagine that we are wondering whether someone is right for us or not. Certain feelings pull us towards them; others leave us unsure. 

In order to try to solidify our impressions, here are a range of questions we might ask ourselves about a prospective partner for the long term:

– Can this person apologise for their problematic sides?

– Do they have a keen sense of their flaws?

– Can they accept criticism?

– Are they keen to improve themselves in a psychological sense? Do they know that progress in emotional maturity is desirable or possible?

– Can they say sorry, warmly and generously?

– Can they tolerate flaws, your flaws?

– Do they have a rich interpretive model of where flaws come from?

– Are they curious about the details of your inner life, especially events before you were nine?

– Are they comfortable revealing to you when they are upset? Can they be brave enough to share their disappointments? Can they ask for repair when you damage things inadvertently?

– Can they laugh at themselves and at you with generosity and sympathy at the obvious chaos and disappointment of being human?

– Can they reveal the intensity of their fears and longings? Are they able to access the little version of themselves?

– Can they allow you to parent their younger self occasionally?

– Can they parent your younger self occasionally?

– Can you be mummy and daddy to each other, as it were, when needed?

– Are they patient with, and curious about, the madness of the human mind?

– Have they made their peace with imperfection?

What the test reveals is that to a strange and important extent, we’re not looking for someone who is objectively impressive or ideal, we’re trying to hone in on a fellow broken individual who can like us in our own secret complexity and whose admitted strangeness we, in turn, can embrace and be comforted by. That might be what love truly is.

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