These are the 10 questions you should definitely ask before falling in love
Divorce lawyer Baroness Shackleton, who previously represented Paul McCartney, teamed up with researchers from the University of Exeter to figure out what exactly what couples should know about one another before they commit to a serious relationship.
"More than 50% of the people consulting me about divorce have said they realised either before or very soon into their marriages, that they were fundamentally incompatible with their partners," Shackleton said. This survey involved 43 couples who had been married for ten years or had separated, and ten other couples who had been together for 15 years.
They discovered that the best long-term relationships happen when two people have realistic ideas about what their relationship can be, and claim that the following questions are essential to figuring out if their relationship will ultimately work.
1. Are we a 'good fit'?
Many of the couples in the survey began as friends, with their intimacy developing over time. A 'good fit', in this context, means people who are compatible as friends before any romance blossomed.
2. Do we have a strong basis of friendship?
Underneath the romance needs to be a strong foundation of friendship, as it can help you through tough times such as grief or serious relationship problems.
3. Do we want the same things?
According to this study, the happiest couples had similar hopes, dreams and expectations of their partner, and of the relationship in general.
4. Are our expectations realistic?
The researchers found that successful couples were the ones with more realistic expectations of marriage and relationships. These couples knew it wouldn't be easy and that they would have to work hard, and were prepared to get professional help if necessary.
5. Do we generally see the best in each other?
Compassion is crucial, but it may take some time to build that compassion. Successful couples see the best in each other, making allowances in certain situations.
6. Do we both work at keeping our relationship vibrant?
Whether it be daily traditions or simple small acts of kindness throughout the week, communicating your appreciation for your partner goes a long way to helping the relationship thrive.
7. Do we feel we can discuss things and raise issues with each other?
Taking the time to talk about the minutiae of your day, or deeper topics, is important for any relationship. You need to feel that you can have open communication with one another for when you need to speak your mind.
8. Are we both committed to working through hard times?
Adapting to change is important for any relationship, as both of you will have your own hardships you will need to manage. Making it through tough times will often strengthen the relationship for the future.
9. Would we pull together to get through stressful times?
There are plenty of stresses that couples can go through together. There's grief, financial difficulties, becoming a parent, or even affairs. All these issues require good relationship skills to make it through.
10. Do we each have supportive people around us?
It's not all about those in the relationship itself - but those around it, too. Having family and close friends that are supportive enriches the lives of couples. The study found that women, in particular, drew substantial support from their mothers, sisters and friends.
It's hard to know what's ahead for a relationship, as even those who are great together might hit rough patches further down the line.
However, if you make sure you are asking these questions and adapting as your relationship changes, always listening to and looking out for your partner, you've got a great chance of making it work.