3 Questions To Ask Yourself Now So You Get What You Want In Your Next Relationship

by Annie Foskett
Stocksy/Clique Images

Do you ever go out for Mexican and have a hard time choosing whether to order tacos or a burrito? Same. Do you ever go out for dating and ask yourself whether you want the take-off-each-others-clothes-after-three-drinks kind or the serious maybe-forever kind? Same. This is a smart thing to do. If I don't ask myself, "What do you want in a relationship?" before getting into one, I usually end up unhappy, and it's usually my fault.

To full circle the burrito-taco inner debate, let's say I go for the burrito. A regrettable decision, as I always end up feeling self conscious about cheese dripping on my face the entire meal, fetishizing carnitas all wrapped up in a cute little tortillas in my head. There's no one to get mad at but myself, because I asked for the burrito.

Similarly, if I go into dating with a nondescript, "down for whatever" vibe, but then catch feels and have a borderline exorcism when I realize whatever romance-hook up hybrid I'm involved in will never turn into a relationship, there's no one to blame but little old me.

Rather than default to your next date's determination of what your relationship should be defined as, decide for yourself what you are actually looking for, then find a relationship that can deliver that. You probably shouldn't hold out for "serious relationship with a Pisces who has three dogs (no more), an apartment in TriBeCa, an aversion to leafy greens, and makes a mean banana bread" because that's a pretty f*cking specific. However, "Do I want a slampiece or not?" is a good place to start.

Here are three things to ask yourself now so you can get what you want in your next relationship.

1. Do I Want A Serious Relationship?

If you ask yourself this and your answer is "yes, I want a boy/girlfriend," then cut out any in between-ing. You don't have to fast-forward to "let's be exclusive" on the third date like an eager beaver, but you can keep this in mind as you learn about where someone's wants and needs fall on their own relationship meter. I speak from experience, so hear me out.

I have been so infatuated with people that I've ignored the fact that I wanted an actual relationship where there's no P in V action with anyone else and defaulted to what they were looking for. (Because I live in New York and am a heterosexual lady, it's usually "nothing too serious.")

Also, be sure to be very honest with yourself when answering this question. Grab an adult beverage, sit down with yourself, don't try to be cool, and decide, "Do I want to be with someone in a serious way?" It can be scary to be that transparent with yourself, and sometimes you might truly just want to find someone to hold in the night and smush, but not date romantically. That's OK too; just be upfront about it.

2. What Hasn't Worked In My Past Relationships?

This can be a lot to unpack as well, so grab two adult beverages, order a cheeseburger, sit down, and think about why it didn't work out with your exes. (A therapist is also a great substitute for the cheeseburger/booze combo.) Did you feel overprotected or controlled by a partner in the past? Find someone who is cool with your sense of independence and freedom. Did you feel like a nitpicking partner when you dated that stand-up comic? Find someone isn't constantly out at night, if that's not your jam. Taking stock of old relationships will help you figure out what you are looking for next. Try something (someone) new.

3. How Happy Am I With The Rest Of My Life?

It's important to look at your life and think about where a relationship fits into it before trying to find a new boo. If you had a recent major life change, maybe you want a new relationship because you are looking for a temporary bandaid to fix things. If you are having a hard time on your own, it can be hard to be your best self in a relationship. On the other hand, if you have major plans for a cross-country move or grad school, you might be resentful of a relationship in your life that keeps you tied to a certain lifestyle. Get happy with yourself, you career, and your goals, and then you can enter a relationship with a lot more clarity about where you want it to go.

Above all, I think it's really important that you ask yourself exactly what you are looking for and why before getting into a relationship and possibly making compromises. "Who, what, where, when, why" seems like a good set of questions to start with before swiping/flirting/searching in the streets for your future SO.

One of my best friends is in a very serious relationship, and she didn't think she wanted one until her now boyfriend basically said, "Hey, I like you a lot and want to date you officially. Are you on board? Yes or no?" She made the decision of "yes," and they're been together for three years and will probably get married. Ask yourself what you would say to someone if they gave you an ultimatum, yes or no style. If it's "yes," make sure you both make it official, or say peace. If it's "no," then do like Jay-Z and move "on to the next one."