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Do You Know Your Partner As Well As You Should (or could you do better?)

Take the Partner 101 Test Here

Karen Nimmo
Apr 24 · 4 min read

You wake up next to someone.

You make coffee. You eat toast. You wade through the morning chaos. You go work. You come home. You get through the evening chaos. You pour wine. You watch Netflix. You go to bed.

You look across the sheets and there’s your partner scrolling their phone, that person you’ve been with for years, that person you know so well. But do you? Do you really know the one you’re with?

In the beginning, it’s easy…

Well, sort of easy if you don’t count the angst of wondering if someone actually likes you. You meet, you present your best self, you ask lots of great questions, you cover off your histories.

You talk late, you banter, you laugh outrageously, you have sex. You talk about the Big Stuff; your ambitions and desires, hopes and dreams. This person is so interested in you (and you in them): you can’t get enough. Boom. It’s love. You’re in it — and you commit to staying in it.

But, slowly, time and life takes over. ..

You talk, but now it’s about the house, that bitch at work, the neighbours, the kids, whoever needs new shoes, where you might holiday this summer. You go out to dinner and you cover off the kids and the neighbours and that bitch at work and the holidays — and then you start looking around for the check.

And you wonder, what the hell happened there?

Do I know this person anymore? Do they really know me?

How Well Do Know Your Partner?

First of all, relax, if you’ve read this far, you’re normal. All relationships go through phases, and ups and downs or rocky patches. Very few consistently hold the “boom” factor over time.

But the important thing is to give relationships a chance to grow and develop and to accommodate our individual changes. And that means communicating healthily (which does not mean badgering someone to say how they feel) — but asking good questions and listening carefully, and with empathy, to your partner’s answers.

So here’s the test if you’re game. Note: Part A is easy. Part B is a little more demanding and Part C takes you to the heart of the big stuff. Warning: it’s fine to ask these questions of yourself but be careful about fronting your partner with them. Their answers might surprise (or scare) you.

Part A: Easy Terrain

  • What first attracted you to your partner?
  • Where/what was your first (official) date?
  • What’s your partner’s favourite food?
  • What’s your partner’s favourite thing to do when not working?
  • What three words would you use to describe your partner?

Part B: Intermediate Grade

  • What three words would your partner use to describe you?
  • How does your partner react to stress? (What do they feel/do?)
  • What upsets your partner?
  • What makes your partner most happy?
  • Who is most important to your partner (besides you and family)?

Part C: Difficult (Tread with Care)

  • What was your partner’s childhood dream?
  • If your partner could make a wish come true what would it be?
  • What is your partner’s biggest regret?
  • What’s your partner’s biggest worry?
  • Is your partner happy? With you? Generally? (Why or why not?)

Results

Every conversation you have with your partner doesn’t have to be deep and meaningful. Boring if it was!

But we spend a lot of time thinking about ourselves, and our own hopes and dreams. That’s important — but not at the expense of the person you’re with.

So next time you’re alone with your partner, ask them something a little more interesting. There’s no need to bolt into the abyss with the huge questions. But try to go beyond the house, the kids, the neighbours, your jobs and the local gossip. Ask something that makes them think: even when the answer not what you were expecting, it may be helpful to your relationship to hear it.

Finally, consider this: What would make the biggest (positive) difference to your partner’s life right now? Then see if you can help make it happen.


Enjoyed this? Then check out my new book Busy as F*ck , a DIY approach through stress and striving to build a life that matters. Available as an ebook or in paperback at Australian and New Zealand bookstores. Other territories coming soon.

Join my email list here for and receive a free gift: Seeing Someone: a brief guide to psychology, therapy and coaching. Enjoy!

On The Couch

Understanding yourself is the key to great results and optimum living. Clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo offers help for your difficulties and a blueprint for fulfilling your potential.

Karen Nimmo

Written by

Clinical psychologist, writer, still learning how to live. Author of 3 books, including Busy As F*ck: 10 on-the-couch sessions for busy people everywhere.

On The Couch

Understanding yourself is the key to great results and optimum living. Clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo offers help for your difficulties and a blueprint for fulfilling your potential.

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