I forgot to ask whether she's married.

All right, probably you’re not going to run into a lot of married people while you’re dating online (though you might be surprised), but there are a few things you want to find out about your potential partner before you go forward

This has become much more important in the age of internet dating. Historically, you met people at school or through friends and were, consequently, much more likely to have a sort of guarantee about their character. Simply through exposure, you know more about the guy in your art history study group or your sister’s neighbor than you do about “SeattleToGo” online. You don’t want to interrogate a first date – be curious, not confrontational – but if you can pose gently pose the following questions early in your relationship, you are much less likely to find yourself with the wrong person.

1. What do you do for work? No, being unemployed doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker, but if your date hasn’t worked in three years and doesn’t express much interest in doing so, you should probably figure out whether you really want to link up with someone you’re clearly going to have to support financially. This question can also you about your date’s interests and values. For some people, work is just a paycheck. For others, it is a passion. Figure out whether your attitude toward work is compatible with your date’s. This is also a good way to find out if they’ll have any time for you because some jobs are incredibly demanding.

2. When did your last relationship end? This is their chance to tell you they’re still married. Let’s hope not. It is helpful to find out if a person hasn’t had a girlfriend in five years. If they say last week, it might be too soon for you to date them. If they haven’t been in a relationship for a long time, ask why. You can even ask why a past romance failed. This not only gives you a chance to find out whether your date is truly single and emotionally available, it gives you insight into how they think about relationships, whether they can accept responsibility, and what they are seeking now.

3. What are you looking for? So many people forget to find out early and regret it! Do you want a quick hook-up? Do you want to get married within the year? First, be honest with yourself and then find out what your date wants. You’re going to be miserable if you want different things so get this one out of the way before you start caring.

4. Do you want children? This is awkward and probably not for a first date, but if you really want children or really do not want children, you have to find out whether your potential partner feels the same way. This isn’t something you can fudge. Children are sort of a big deal one way or the other. Also included in this category is whether the person has children already. Having children has a big effect on a relationship and it’s something you want to know right away.

5. What do you do for fun? True, opposites do attract and you don’t have to have the same hobbies as your partner, but this can be a telling question. You can’t sit still – you hike all day every weekend, go to the gym five days a week, and never open a book. He says his favorite thing to do is sleep late and read the papers in bed all day. Even if you get along in other ways, you are bound to frustrate each other after awhile because what you are not compatible.

6. Do you plan to stay in the area? If you are totally settled in Bellevue and plan to send your kids to the high school, someone who truly wants to move to rural Montana might not be your best match. People do change and they move or stay for people they love, but someone who is set on a country lifestyle can clash with someone who is resolutely urban. Sometimes, people plan to move somewhere to be with their family as soon as they can and this too makes for problems if you want to stay.

7. Do you believe in monogamy? Another awkward question, but essential to your emotional well-being. If you hope to date this person and dream of having them as a girlfriend, you want to make sure she’s on the same page. Some people never want monogamy, some want it only after a long time or an engagement or a marriage. Since finding out the person you thought was your girlfriend is dating five other guys hurt a lot, be clear about your own views and timeline.

8. Are you religious? People don’t take this seriously enough, but it can be a huge source of conflict over time if you have different views. This is the sort of thing that can come out gradually because people are shy about discussing religious beliefs. You’ve been dating for six months and your boyfriend lets on that he’d really like to be attending an evangelical church. You’re firmly opposed to organized religion but by this time you love him, so what do you do? Religious views are unlikely to change and may include very serious devotions. People of different religions can obviously date but be sure one person doesn’t expect something the other is unwilling to give. Try to find out early what they expect from you.

9. Of what in your life are you most proud? This question isn’t as direct as some of the others but it can give you a good sense of your date’s values. If you care about possessions, then someone who values their car above everything else is a good fit and a guy who thinks his poetry is the most significant thing in his life is a bad fit. If you both care about the same thing – say, family – you are more likely to approach life the same way.

10. What is your favorite band? This will tell you everything you need to know about your date. No! It will not! Liking the same music is not a good reason to date someone. This and other rather basic shared interests can create a false sense of compatibility. Obviously, it is a bonus if you love the same band or restaurant but try to dig a little deeper before you decide you are into someone.



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Posted 07-08-2013 6:00 pm by