12 Things You Should Know 6 Months Into Dating Your Partner

The six-month mark in a relationship can be both exciting and scary. By now, you've gotten past the three-month mark where many fledgling relationships crumble, but you haven't made it to your first big milestone of one year yet. Every relationship will look different at this point, but there are still some things you should talk about or at least start thinking about by now, especially if you see the real potential for a future together.

By this point, you might be making your first travel plans together or getting to know each other's families and friend groups. You might be riding high on a wave of love, or this could be when your relationship hits its first real rough patch. Serious conflicts might start to rear their heads. Sometimes, the first wave of super-strong feelings is fading as you and your partner fall into a routine.

This cooling-off period may seem threatening because you don't feel as close to your partner. The reality is that this is normal, and a slight cooling period is often a good thing because it can allow you and your partner to step back and take stock of your relationship so far. When you do take time to reflect on your relationship and where it's headed, make sure you know these 12 things about your partner, or at least plan to talk about them.

What their life goals are

Your goals define who you are — they represent what is most important to you. If you're actively working towards your goals, they will dictate how you spend your time. So, naturally, they can impact your relationship in a big way. As your relationship deepens, you'll need to think about how your life goals match up. Do you both want to travel the world? Or are you both super focused on climbing the career ladder? Does one of you want to start a big family while the other isn't sure if they even want children?

While you both should have your own personal goals, if you want to build a strong foundation in your relationship, you'll need to have some shared goals, too. Working towards something together can be a great bonding experience. The more your individual goals align with each other and your goals as a couple, the less stress you'll have long term.

Another thing to consider is how goal-oriented you both are in general. If you are always focused on a goal, but your partner seems to have none, this could be another source of conflict. The six-month mark can be a good time to not just make sure you know what each of your individual goals are but how motivated each of you is to reach them.

What their family dynamics are like

When your relationship gets more serious, you may realize that you aren't just bringing one new person into your life but their family, too. If you and your partner plan to be together long-term, their family is part of the package. By six months, you may not be intimately familiar with your partner's family and their history, but you should have at least met them and have a general sense of what the family dynamics are like.

Is there someone in the family that everyone avoids? Who is your partner closest to in their family, and why? Knowing these things can also help you navigate relationships with their family members as time goes on. Getting to know your partner's family matters in other ways, too. Your partner's upbringing and family environment can have a lot to do with their attitudes and beliefs, especially regarding relationships. Knowing what your partner's parent's relationship is or was like can reflect a lot on how they may behave with you.

How your partner communicates is likely similar to how their family communicates, so observing them together may clue you into how your partner is used to expressing feelings. Things like religion, opinions about gender roles, and commitment, in general, can all be shaped and defined by family, so getting to know your partner's family can give you a deeper understanding of your partner.

Whether you're financially compatible

Finances are a huge source of tension for many modern couples. Whether it's trouble agreeing on a budget or simply not liking the other person's spending style, money can become a problem. It can also impact power dynamics in the relationship, which introduces a whole new set of issues, especially if there is a dramatic imbalance.

While six months may be too soon to have a shared bank account or to know every detail of your partner's finances, you should still have a general idea of what their financial situation is. More importantly, you should know what their attitudes towards money and spending are like. Do they like to pinch pennies or spend most of their paycheck the second they get it? Do their money habits line up with yours? If your partner likes to save money over going out and you do, too, you'll likely have less conflict than if one of you would rather spend.

If you don't know much about their finances, this may be a good time to bring it up, especially if you're ready to move in with your partner. Ultimately, it may not be a big deal if you have opposite attitudes toward how you should spend money or if there's a gap in credit scores. What matters the most is your ability to openly discuss finances and communicate so you're on the same page.

What their religious and political views are

Maybe you fell in love with your partner because you saw eye to eye on so many things, or maybe you fell in love with someone who disagrees with you completely about who to vote for or whether or not religion is even important. While disagreeing on things like religion and politics may seem like a big issue, it doesn't always have to be. In fact, being in a relationship with someone who has different political beliefs than you can be difficult but not impossible.

Spirituality and religion are deeply personal and can shape how you look at the world. The same goes for politics. Many have strong views on politics because the causes they care about impact their lives in a direct way. By six months, you should have a clear idea of your partner's political and religious views or lack thereof. Depending on your culture, dating someone with different views may be no big deal, but for others, it could mean lots of clashes and tension with their family. 

This is a good time to assess how those things might impact your relationship. Ultimately, for many couples, having different opinions is not an issue as long as you're both able to have calm and respectful discussions about your differences. This way, you can lay the groundwork for a strong relationship and navigate any differences that pop up.

How they function in a crisis

Around the six-month mark, you may still be stuck in a love bubble. Or, maybe you've already had a few bad fights. Either way, it is important for you to take note of how your partner functions in a crisis. Whether it's a death in the family, the loss of a job, or something else, difficult circumstances will affect every relationship. Knowing how they respond can give you big clues about who they are. Do they totally lose it when stressed? Or do they keep a cool head and communicate with you about what is going on? What if they totally shut down and refuse to discuss anything at all?

Whether your partner has strong reactions or turns inward may not always matter as long as they can communicate with you about what's going on. Also, how do they treat you when you're going through a tough time? Are they supportive, or are they distant and unhelpful? A crisis can really test people and show new aspects of their character.

Chances are, not everyone will be perfect when they are going through something tough. That said, it's not an excuse for them to become abusive or to treat others poorly. For people who are putting a lot of effort into masking their true selves, a time of crisis is often when the mask comes off. These tough times will provide insight to who your partner really is and not just who they would like you to think they are.

How they react to and set boundaries

Boundary setting is important. Not only does it protect you from dealing with things you are uncomfortable with, but it also supports healthier relationships. If you're going to be in a long-term relationship, you need to know how they react to your boundaries and how they set boundaries for themselves.

If you set a clear boundary with your partner, are they receptive and supportive? Or do they freak out and get angry or guilt trip you? Do they make a point of respecting your boundaries, or do they completely ignore them and continue to break them? If a partner crosses a small boundary, there's a greater likelihood that they will cross bigger boundaries later on.

Look also at how they set boundaries for themselves. Are they clear and willing to discuss them? Can they be flexible when it makes sense? Or are they very rigid, even about small things? If you accidentally cross a boundary you weren't aware of, do they freak out or calmly explain why it bothered them? Even if you are both good at setting and respecting boundaries, there may be times when you cross them; or changing circumstances mean that boundaries need to change. One or both of you may need to do some negotiating. Knowing you can have open conversations about boundaries is important for building a lasting relationship.

Whether you're sexually compatible

Sex isn't the only thing that matters in a relationship, but it is important. You may not know all of each other's intimate likes and dislikes immediately, but that's okay as long as you're open to trying new things. Checking in with how you feel about your partner in the bedroom is also a good idea. Do you both feel comfortable enough to communicate what you want? Some differences may be totally negotiable, while there are others that just can't be fixed.

Something that likely won't change is their attitudes toward sex. Even if you have a great time with your partner in bed, how they view sex can impact your relationship. Is sex a shameful act to them? Do they think they're owed sex if you're monogamous? How comfortable each of you is with your own sexuality also matters. Are you both settled with who you are, or is one of you still figuring some things out? Beyond that, is the other person okay with that?

Sex drives are another thing to think about. Is one of yours super high, while the other's is pretty low? This may spell trouble down the road. Do you like everything about your partner but just find them physically unappealing? Even if it may seem shallow, the reality is that physical attraction does matter. If you don't find your partner attractive, that's okay, but you may need to consider how much of a future you will have together.

What their deepest values are

At six months, there's still a lot to learn about your partner. That said, by now, you should know what some of their deepest values are. Your partner's core values can impact nearly every aspect of their life, which includes your relationship. For example, is having strong family bonds essential to your partner? If so, you'll need to ensure you can get along with their family. Is self-improvement what drives them? You'll need to be okay with their journeys to improve themselves.

Some may value financial freedom over all else, while others' primary focus in life may be religion. Adventure might be important to your partner, or maybe they're a homebody who cares more about pursuing hobbies. Whatever it is that truly drives your partner, the more you understand it, the better. Knowing your partner's core values allows you to be closer to them and helps define your compatibility level. The more similar your core values are, the more likely you are to be compatible.

However, you don't have to share all the same values. Having some different values can actually be complementary and can help you learn more about yourself. For example, your adventurous partner may show you that you like exploring more than you thought. Sometimes, though, values can conflict in a way that may mean you're not well-matched, like if you or your partner has strict religious beliefs that go against the other's lifestyle.

What their hobbies are and what makes them happy

Hobbies are meaningful for a lot of reasons. They can be great stress relievers and can help boost confidence because you're developing a skillset. While you don't necessarily need to like all of your partner's hobbies (because, believe it or not, things like trout fishing and sock knitting are not for everyone), you do need to know at least what they are.

If you can find ways to support their hobbies, even better. The more that you can support each other's hobbies, the more content you are both likely to be and the stronger your relationship will be overall.

Knowing the little things that make them happy matters, too. If they're having a bad day, will inviting them out to eat cheer them up, or do they just need to cuddle on the couch? By six months, knowing how to put a smile on your partner's face is essential and can help you feel more connected.

What their pet peeves and major deal breakers are

Of course, knowing your partner well isn't all about the fun things. Once you're approaching the six-month mark, you should also know some of their pet peeves, and you should definitely know what their big deal breakers are.

Pet peeves can be easier to deal with. It's not hard to make sure that the toilet paper is going in the right direction when you replace it or that you don't crank Taylor Swift up to the highest volume every time you get in the car. Deal breakers are another matter, though.

There are some things that are (or should be) deal breakers for everyone, like abuse or major breaches of trust. However, your partner may have some deal breakers that are specific to them based on experiences they've had in the past. Something like snooping, for example, might just be annoying to one person, while another sees it as a relationship ender. If you haven't discussed deal breakers with your partner by now, it could be a good time to start talking about them.

What they value most in a relationship

While there are some components that are present in pretty much any strong relationship, like an ability to be emotionally open with each other or being able to trust one another, everybody is different. Some things may be really meaningful to your partner that never occurred to you, and vice versa. This is where the five love languages come in.

Knowing what makes your partner feel the most loved is essential for creating a bond and showing them that you care about them deeply. Does your partner value physical touch the most? Or do they like having someone to run errands with more? Does your partner really appreciate a thoughtful gift, or would they like it better if you hand-wrote a note about how special they are to you?

Communicating what means the most to you matters, too. If you aren't clear with your partner about what makes you feel loved, they might spend a lot of time trying to show love by doing things for you that they actually appreciate themselves. A little communication can go a long way toward ensuring that you're both expressing love in ways that will truly reach the other.

What their major mental health struggles are and what they're doing about them

Chances are, you won't find someone with zero mental health struggles. You probably have some you're working on yourself. Whether you battle with slight feelings of depression or anxiety on occasion or you've been diagnosed with mental health disorders, your mental health doesn't just impact you but others around you, too. That's why, at some point, it's important to talk to your partner about any mental health conditions and discuss theirs as well. 

When you're really struggling with your mental health, it can affect how you communicate and relate to your partner. You may need extra support, emotional or otherwise. The same goes for your partner. It's totally normal to expect to give and receive support within a relationship. That said, you and your partner may both have limits regarding what you can handle. If your partner has complex mental health issues, they may not be able to give you the support you need with yours.

Even if you love your partner, they may need more help and support than you can give. This doesn't have to be a deal breaker unless they refuse to work on themselves. While mental health problems aren't avoidable, they should still be addressed. Knowing your partner's stance on things like getting therapy or taking medication can help clarify how they tackle difficulties in their life and how willing they are to take responsibility for their mental health in the relationship.