You think this might be “the one,” but you want to be more confident about it. Unfortunately, time is about the only thing that will give you a sure picture of your potential relationship. However, there are several key areas of compatibility for successful relationships.

Here are five areas of life you and your love should explore – and be comfortable talking about – before things get too serious. There are no right answers, just places to begin discovering your most basic relationship ideals:

  1. Finances. It’s true that most people argue about money, whether they have it or not. There is no right or wrong, but the more you are on the same page with your partner, the less stress there will be. Are you a “save it all, retire at 40” type? If so, you may really struggle if you end up with an “I can’t spend it when I’m dead so I’m spending it ALL now” partner.
  2. Kids. If you already have kids, it’s important to find a partner who will respect the relationship you have with your kids – and respect your kids, too. If you don’t have kids, you both should know up front if one of you is adamantly for or against having any – and then decide if that’s ok.
  3. Religion. You don’t have to be the same religion, but if you’re not, you have to be comfortable with that, and, if you’ve decided on kids, you’ll need to decide how you’ll raise them.
  4. Work/Career. Are you on the fast-track to corporate management, expecting to work long hours for several years? Will you resent your partner if he or she is a struggling artist who cannot contribute financially for long stretches of time?
  5. Sex. Sex can be an important part of a relationship, but emotional closeness and intimacy, which only come from trust and deep friendship, are critical.