3 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before You Ask “What Are We?”

by Anjali Sareen Nowakowski

Let me guess: At one point in your life, you've been in a "relationship" (or something of the sort) where you sort of have no idea what's actually going on.

Maybe things started out casual, and now, they are feeling a bit more serious... in a good way. Or maybe, you and a guy started out really hot and heavy, and now things seem to be taking a cool down.

Either way, it's not unusual to find yourself in a situation where you just really need to figure out what the two of you are actually doing. You're confused, to say the least, but you're hesitant to actually ask the question of "what are we?"

Still, it may be time for you and your partner to sit down to hash out what you've been doing and where it's actually going.

If you're looking to discuss the potential future (and more importantly, the present) with your... well, whatever they are, there are a few questions you should ask yourself first.

1. Why Do I Want To Define Things Now?

The first question you need to ask yourself before you decide to have "the talk" is probably the most important: Why is now the time for this discussion?

Often, if things are going along well in your relationship, it's natural to start thinking about the future. If the two of you spend a lot of time together, but you are starting to wonder if you can reasonably include them in your life down the road, then now would be a good time to have the talk. In fact, thinking of how things'll look in the long-term is likely one of the best possible reasons to sit down and figure out what you are before it gets too late.

If you're facing a big life change, like a new job or a move to a new city, those are both good reasons to bring this up this question to your partner. If a huge change is happening for you that you'd like to include them in, but you aren't yet sure about the bounds of your relationship, it's best to sit down and talk about it.

Just be clear about your reasons and make sure they are the right ones.

2. Do I Know What I Actually Want?

Before you pin your partner down for a serious talking to, ask yourself whether you're sure about what you're looking for.

While it may be tempting to figure this out in order to get your partner to decide where things are going, avoid the pull to do so. Instead, give it whatever time you need to first decide what you really want.

Are you only doing this for them? If you don't want something serious yet, is it a good idea to get into a conversation in which your partner could decide on something you don't have much interest in?

If you don't even have an idea of what you want before you start the "what are we" conversation, it's likely that your partner's thoughts and desires will take lead the whole way. You'll come out feeling like you didn't really get a say at all, without having expressed any feelings or sentiments.

Before you go into any serious relationship talk, make sure you know what you want first. It'll help make sure you get a chance to verbalize what's right for you.

3. Am I Prepared For What Happens Next?

Finally, it's important to ask yourself one more thing: Are you ready for anything that may come from this discussion?

In an ideal world, you'd sit down to talk to your partner, and you'd both be on exactly the same page about what you are looking for in the relationship.

Unfortunately, things aren't always that black and white. You could find out that you want something slightly different than your partner, or that you two want completely different things. You may be thinking next step, while he's thinking break up.

It's important that you're prepared for every single outcome that could occur after having this big of a talk. Don't let outside influences force your hand if you're not ready to face whatever truth may come your way.

A lot of us rush into asking this question simply because we've seen others around us moving forward with their relationships. Whether witnessing a best friend's engagement, or comparing the speed of your relationship to the ones you see on your Facebook newsfeed, trying to compete with others isn't a good reason to sit down for the relationship talk.

You'll end up just forcing both yourself and your partner into a place neither of you may be ready for.

Let's be honest: Relationship talks are not exactly the best representation of "fun." That said, they are very often necessary.

By asking yourself these questions before your next relationship talk, it'll help you be as best prepared as you can be.