Six months of dating may not constitute a particularly long relationship, but it is enough time to learn some essential information about your partner. This knowledge can help you understand your compatibility, the likelihood of a future together and even assess your safety. For instance, a person's life experience, integrity and ambition are attributes that can be studied in the early months of a relationship.
Beliefs, Morals, Values
Your partner's basic tenets should compliment yours. A commitment to honesty, belief in the equality of all people and respectful treatment toward others are certainly likable traits that can manifest themselves in a matter of months. If, however, you notice a pattern of lies, consistent rudeness toward waitresses and other service workers or contempt for people of other races, you may want to proceed carefully.
The opportunity to meet your partner's family can be enlightening. Observe how they interact and spend time with one another. Take advantage of similar opportunities to meet friends and colleagues. Learn, too, about your partner's upbringing. Family vacations, sibling rivalries, athletic and academic achievements are likely topics of conversation at any time in a relationship - including the first six months. If your partner seems hesitant to introduce you to or even discuss parents or siblings, there may be some significant issue of which you are not aware.
A specific, practical and tangible piece of information to obtain from a dating partner is sexual in nature. A sexual inventory of your partner's past sexual practices is directly relevant to your health and well-being. Take note of any diagnosed and treated sexually transmitted infections, as well as consistency of protected sex. Also be aware of your partner's past experiences in general. This can include anything from athletic and academic accomplishments to legal trouble or mental health issues. Even though history does not wholly define a person, it can have great influence.
It is helpful to have a sense of your partner's hopes and plans for the future. These intentions help inform your own vision of life in the next one, five, 10 years and beyond. Mutual dreams of living in Europe lend to compatibility, while disagreement over the institution of marriage may be a deal-breaker. The Santa Clara University Wellness Center also identifies a positive outlook on life in general to be an important quality to seek in a partner. This includes believing that "things can always get better" and turning "obstacles into opportunities and adversity into lessons."
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Jill Avery-Stoss is a graduate of Penn State University and a writer and editor based in northeast Pennsylvania. Having spent more than a decade working with victims of sexual and domestic violence, she specializes in writing about women's issues, with emphasis on families and relationships.
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