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That moment in a long-term relationship, when you look at your partner and realize you have just been telling them that one story about your aunt's crazy dog for the seventeenth time.
We’ve all been there. Don’t lie.
Their eyes are glazed over, but they listen to you patiently. You see it and you acknowledge it, but you press on, knowing they are going to follow up with the story about that one time when they saw a bear while jogging. It doesn’t matter that you can quote it, verbatim, right down to the hand motions that accompany it…it's part of the cycle. Predictable and comfortable.
This is the “Long Term Relationship Conversation Loop.” A phenomenon that occurs when we forget how to talk to each other and just reuse the same conversations, same stories over and over again. Maybe it’s because you’ve been busy putting the big questions into action. Maybe you are raising kids, or buying a house, or just trying to make life work. That part doesn’t matter. The point is, you are stuck in a rut and you feel helpless to change it. A key part of any relationship is connection and one of the best ways you can build connection and maintain connection is through conversation. Talk to each other. Flirt with each other. Express interest in the life you are building together.
I invite you to break free from the Conversation Recycling Loop and try out a few of these conversation starters! Some are sweet, some are serious, some are straight up silly and bizarre—all will (likely) lead you to a fascinating and original conversation with your sweetie.
17 Conversation Starters for Long Term Relationship Life!
1. Tell me about your earliest memory. How old do you think you were? What emotions are associated with it, if any? Why do you think that one stuck when others didn’t?
I like this question because you get to delve into personal history. No matter how long you have been dating/married/involved with someone, their personal history will always have more places to explore. Get on in there and explore away!
2. What are the top 3 songs that describe your high school experience? Why?
Oh, high school. Whether it was heaven or perhaps hell, it probably had a soundtrack. Music speaks to our soul and asking someone to identify that soundtrack to their experience shows a unique side of their personality.
3. What are the 3 things you are most proud of, thus far in your life?
I like asking people this no matter what our relationship is. This is an opportunity for someone to really share their accomplishments in a way that is supportive. Plus? Often people surprise you. I asked a friend this question, thinking they would mention their career success or outstanding educational achievements. Nope. They mentioned their ability to complete the Couch to 5k program and kick start their health journey. It was rad.
4. What are some additional ways that I can show you how much I appreciate you in our relationship?
Another important and great question to ask your partner periodically. Everyone wants to feel appreciated and we all feel appreciated in different ways. You know what the best way to find out what those ways are? ASK.
5. Zombie Apocalypse Time. What’s your strategy for survival for the first 24 hours?
My partner and I have literally discussed this for over an hour once. It was an awesome conversation and it brought up some really interesting points of both of our personalities. A follow up to this would be to make a Zombie Contingency Plan with your partner... for fun or for real. It can help lead into other important conversations like, "Are we prepared for a Zombie Plague... or perhaps the more likely earthquake scenario?"
6. What date from our early dating life stands out to you the most? What made it so memorable?
Don't you love those early dating life memories? I look back on them fondly. Back when there were still lots of nerves and getting ready took forever because you had to impress your date. Reminisce about the time when date night meant makeup and make outs on the way to the restaurant instead of sweat pants and Netflix, and maybe you might end up recreating that favorite memory...with the comfortability of long term connection . <3 #TBT
7. What do you think life will be like in 100 years?
I genuinely am fascinated by and terrified by the potential answers to this question. I really do want to know what life will be like. I think.
8. Do you think Sasquatch is real? If yes, why? If no, how do you think that mythology came to be?
True story, I did not know how VEHEMENTLY people will argue with you about Sasquatch until I moved to the Pacific Northwest. It is crazy intense. Discuss.
9. What’s something I do in everyday life that you find to be attractive/sexy/enthralling? Or, if you are brave: What’s something I do in everyday life that irritates TF out of you?
Do you think your partner dancing around while washing the dishes is adorable? Are you majorly turned on by the way she sorts the recycling? Does the way he crunches chips make you want to scream because you are so irritated? Opt for some open communication and honesty and talk about the quirks you love and the quirks you tolerate.
10. How many foreign accents can you imitate? Show me your best one!
This can also be a very entertaining drinking game if, say, the WiFi is out and you have a bottle of wine and are in the mood to laugh until you cry... :-D
11. Who was the best Bond?
Bond. James Bond. Everyone has an opinion on this. Express it carefully!
12. You just won a sweepstakes prize of a vacation, but you have to pick the destination now and you can’t consult me. Where did you pick for us to go? Why?
This isn't a trick question, I swear. But it does bring up a really cool conversation about where you might want to travel to and what destination has your partner in a tizzy!
13. What’s a dream you had when you were a kid that you gave up as an adult? Do you ever have regrets about giving up on it?
Do you remember the last time someone asked you about your childhood dreams? I don't. We should change that.
14. You get to relive one 24 hour period of your life. What do you choose?
I have asked approximately 12 people this. This very scientific statistical analysis thus says that 80% of the people polled would use that time to go back and spend more time with a loved one no longer with us. The other 20% wanted to relive milestones. What would you do?
15. What book/tv show/movie would you live in, if given the opportunity? What character would you be? Tell me about it.
Do you dream of staring in the world of Game of Thrones? Do you watch Scandal like some people watch competitive sports? Have you mastered all the manners necessary to live in Austen's England? Talk about it! Geek out!
16. Tell me something you are curious about that is outside of your comfort zone a little bit. How can I support you in trying it?
Humans are a curious bunch. I love finding out what people are curious about. Whether it is naughty or nice or somewhere in between, ask your partner what they are curious about and why they haven't explored it. Give them the space and opportunity to feel safe in expressing these curious desires!
17. Who is someone you look up to, when you are trying to figure out life?
Everyone has a role model. Maybe it's a family member, a mentor, a fictional character or a donut—whatever it is, find out!
Happy Conversing, Friends!