Sometimes we want ways to reflect on our relationships, especially ones that don’t conform to normative traditions. With the belief that each relationship is unique, these questions are designed to spark reflection for any of the relationships in which you participate.
The categories here aren’t prescriptive, but simply descriptive of types of connections that can exist. Use what works, ignore what isn’t applicable. Most of these questions are written in a way to generate dialogue between people, and are designed to be asked of all parties involved in the reflections. You can substitute “we” or “I” in place of you if it feels more authentic to your situation. The personal reflection section at the beginning is designed to prepare each person for the conversation, but can also be used in dialogue as well.
You can ask these questions to yourself, your partners, several partners at a time, your parents, or any people with whom you engage. You can even ask these questions to past partners, imaginary partners, or partners in absentia.
- Am I neglecting any of my own needs because of this relationship?
- Am I projecting past hurt onto this relationship?
- Do I fear being honest? What can I do to change that?
- Do I feel my contributions and communications are heard and noticed?
- If I could end/radically change this relationship without guilt, shame, or emotional burden, would I?
- Are guilt/shame preventing me from radically changing this relationship in a way I want?
- Do I have enough independence?
- How have I changed for better because of this relationship?
- How have I changed for worse in this relationship?
- Do I feel my values align with this relationship as it is today? Am I trying to shape this relationship to fit my values?
- Do I feel my routines align with this relationship as it is today? Am I trying to shape this relationship to fit my routines?
- Do I feel my needs align with this relationship as it is today? Am I trying to shape this relationship to fit my needs?
- If this relationship was a relationship between two other humans, would the people I love and respect think it was healthy? Would I think it was healthy?
- Am I happy with this relationship as it is today? How much work would it take for me to be happy with this relationship? Is that work I want to do?
- Is this a good time to talk?
- Is there anything I can do in this moment to help everyone feel more comfortable, more open, and more available?
- Is there anything I have done in the past that you have experienced as hurtful which you have not shared with me?
- What are the main stressors currently in your life? Would you like my support in dealing with those? If so how?
- How are our different sets of oppression and privilege interacting in our relationship?
- Do you feel you have equal power in this relationship?
- How are the normative and oppressive powers of our culture shaping this relationship?
- What are the ways we would like to work against that inside this relationship?
- Do you feel you are able to communicate clearly and effectively without misunderstanding?
- Do you feel you are able to communicate openly?
- Do you think the other person asks you questions about yourself enough?
- Do you think you ask the other person questions about themselves enough?
- Do you think you give enough positive feedback?
- Do you think you get enough positive feedback?
- What are we sharing about our relationship publicly? Is it enough? Too much?
- Does what we share about our relationship support or dismantle oppression and oppressive power structures in society?
- Who are we out to? Who are we choosing to be closeted with? Who are we passively being closeted by?
- What is taking up most of my time?
- What do I perceive as taking up most of your time?
- Do you feel the time we spend together is well spent?
- Do you feel pressured to spend more/less time with me?
- What would you change about the amount and quality of our time together?
- Does the way we spend our time reinforce the dyadic heteronormative framework of society?
- Is there a sexual component to our relationship? Are we happy with its existence or nonexistence?
- Are you happy with the kinds of sex we are having?
- What kinds of sex do you want to have with me?
- Are there sexual experiences you would like to have with me?
- Would you like there to be more or less of which kinds of sex in our relationship?
- How does flirting and foreplay factor into our relationship?
- How does cuddling, hugging, and touch factor into our relationships?
- Are certain physical interactions being sexualized/desexualized in a way you don’t like?
- Are we physically attracted to each other?
- Is domestic labor shared equally or equitably?
- Is paid labor we do supporting or harming us or our relationships?
- How are we providing care labor to each other? Does this feel good?
- What labor do we want to do in each other’s other relationships?
- Do you like how we are working together financially?
- Do you feel good about the things I pay for?
- Do you feel good about the things you pay for?
- Do you feel you have a comfortable amount of power in our financial decision making?
- What are the major patterns of behavior you notice in our relationship?
- Are these patterns helpful?
- What new patterns do we want to create?
- What old patterns do we want to keep? Want to stop?
- What might our ideal daily pattern look like?
- Are we creating things together?
- Are those things meaningful?
- Is the amount/nature/weight of the things we create together feeling good?
- Is there something we want to create together?
- Is there something we were creating together which we would rather do independently or with other people/groups?
- What feels joyous about our relationship right now?
- What can we celebrate more?
- How do you like to share joy?
- What actions have we agreed to moving forward from this conversation?
- Do we want to plan another check-in? if so when?
- How often do we want to talk about this relationship?
- Was this conversation productive, helpful, joyous, or difficult?
- How might we change this conversation in the future to be more productive, helpful, joyous, useful?
- Is there anything you haven’t said you would like to say?
- Is there anything you have been holding back from saying?