RELATIONSHIP QUESTIONS

© Nancy Davis, Ph.D.

1. Capacity to care about others

Does he/she get pleasure from giving or expect something in return?
Does he/she believe clothes, cars, jewelry measure importance?
Is he/she self-centered? (Overuse of “me”, “I” when talking and writing)

Does he/she ask questions of you that allow you to reveal the deepest level of who you are? Does he/she listen to you; really know you? Really care about who you are?
What does he/she do with trusted information? Does he/she use it against you when angry or instead, use it to get more intimate with you in a positive way? Does he/she share this information with others inappropriately?
How does he/she treat parents? Angry, degrading, controlled by, adult to adult, child to adult?
How does he/she treat waiters and others in the service industry?
Does he/she see themselves as superior to almost everyone else?

2. Capacity to change

The capacity to evaluate oneself when confronted and to change inappropriate behavior is one of the most important qualities in a long term intimate relationship. Rigidly believing oneself always right and you always wrong dooms the relationship.
Can he/she say “I’m sorry; I was wrong”?
If there is a problem, would he/she be willing to get help, if needed?

3. Relationships with others

Does he/she have same sex friends and spend time outside of work with these friends?
If you married him/her would you be their only friend?
Does he/she spend too much time with friends?

How does he/she get along with co-workers?
Does his/her family over-control them? How often do they talk to a parent?
Are they afraid to confront a parent who is acting inappropriately? Do they establish boundaries with their parents? (Do not call me at work. Do not clean out my closet when you are visiting and I am at work)

4. Need to control

Does he/she try to control what you wear, what you say, how you behave? Does he/she call you excessively to check up on you? Are you afraid to tell them what you have been doing because he/she will be angry that you weren’t doing what they thought you should be doing?
Does he/she accuse you of being attracted to other men/women or having affairs?
How does he/she feel about your friends?
Does he/she try to isolate you and turn you against friends and family so he/she will be the only one in your life?
Does he/she repeatedly use guilt to control you and make you do what he/she wants done so that it always seems they get their way and you rarely get to do what you want to do? Does he/she use the most intimate secrets you have revealed to them to make you feel guilty and get their way?

5. Expression of anger/criticism

Anger is an appropriate part of every intimate relationship. The way in which anger is expressed is very important. A psychologist named Gottman has studied married couples for the past 20 years. His research consisted of having couples stay in a lab for a day; they were hooked to all kinds of machines that measure body responses. He had the couple talk about loving things and then to argue about something that was a problem for them. After studying couples for years, Gottman states that he can now tell within the first three minutes of a couple beginning to argue, with 95% accuracy, the ones that will be divorced within 5 years. He states that two factors predict the divorce: the amount of negative to positive statements (there needs to be five positive for every negative one) and the way at least one of the couple talks to the other, especially during an argument. Speaking with distain, in a demeaning and degrading way to their partner, is the best predictor of the breakup of a couple.

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