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Relationship Test: 3 Relationship Questions You Must Ask Yourself

Updated on December 29, 2011

I may not have ever been in a formal more-than-friends relationship, but I sure do find them to be fascinating. After all, they appear to be the focus of countless books, plays, shows, songs, movies, poems, paintings, plays. Besides that, relationships are dreadfully fun to analyze, discuss, and fret over.

One thing I often find myself wondering is: what are the essential elements of a relationship?

After considering this for quite some time and doing a hefty amount of people watching, I think I have come to a pretty sound conclusion. All functioning relationships must be built on mutual physical attraction, logistical feasibility, and mutual or complimentary emotional needs.

I am therefore of the humble opinion that, before getting into or leaving a romantic relationship, one must ask oneself:

  1. Am I attracted to this person? Is he/she attracted to me?
  2. Can we actually interact enough to have a real relationship?
  3. Does he/she satisfy some deep emotional need of mine? And do I offer something he/she needs?

I see it as the ultimate simple relationship test! Let's go into greater detail with these things.


What about you?

Are you attracted to your partner?

See results

Mutual Physical Attraction

This much is obvious, right? It would be rather silly to get into a more-than-friends relationship if you were not attracted to someone. Granted, some arranged marriages and more transactional marriages of the past did not really give much precedence to this element, but these days, most people get to choose who they're with, and I cannot imagine an instance in which one chose to willfully enter into a (good) relationship with someone one does not find attractive.

Just as I have trouble finding people who enter into functional, happy relationships without mutual attraction, I have trouble finding existing functional relationships in which both partners are not attracted to each other. In fact, it appears to be that once one partner stops feeling attracted to his or her mate, things can crumble quickly.

Are you in a relationship now? Are you attracted to your partner, and is he or she attracted to you? Do you think this is a mandatory element of any happy more-than-friends relationship?


Weigh in!

Are you able to spend quality time with your partner?

See results

Logistical Feasibility

Logistical feasibility also strikes me as one of those utterly obvious requirements for any happy relationship. What is the point of being in a relationship if you are not able to spend quality time together?

While I believe that physical proximity is ideal, I do know that sometimes long-term relationships can be enough... at least for a limited amount of time. Though they're typically strained during these periods, I know of many, many long-distance relationships that have survived physical separation.

That said, even functional long-term relationships still satisfy the 'logistical feasibility' requirement in my mind in that they get by via careful maintenance- via:

  • Letters
  • Skype calls
  • Phone calls
  • Playing games together online
  • Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels
  • Occasional visits, etc...

Without these things, long distance relationships quickly crumble. And even with these things, long-distance relationships don't have very long life spans. It seems to help a lot if there is a concrete endpoint. If there isn't one... well, then it's sionara, sucker!

Mutual or Complimentary Needs

Though I used to think the previously mentioned criteria were all it took to have a good relationship with someone, I realized this could not be the case, as I would still see seemingly perfect couples break it off- despite obvious physical attraction and logistical feasibility.

This is why I think that, in addition to these important factors, those in a relationship must satisfy deep-set emotional needs of their partners. These needs can be superficial, deep, philosophical, sustainable, or fleeting. They can also be mutual or complimentary. Here are some examples:

Looks like they've got a mutual need... TO BE AWESOME!
Looks like they've got a mutual need... TO BE AWESOME! | Source
  • A shared need to start and raise a family
  • A need to marry a rich lawyer complimented by a need to have a sexy trophy wife
  • A share desire for a summer fling
  • A shared need to be deeply cared for
  • A need to reach complimented by a need to be taught
  • A need to be protected complimented by a need to protect
  • A mutual desire to explore the world
  • A shared desire to take over the world
  • A desire to listen paired with a need to be heard

As you can see, some of these needs and wants would pass after some time, or after conditions change. For example, let's say that a gorgeous, sexy woman wants a rich lawyer husband and a rich lawyer wants a sexy trophy wife (cliche example, but go with it). Their relationship can be BRILLIANT- so long as those conditions hold. Should the wife get ugly, or should the husband lose his job and money, those needs may no longer be met, and the relationship will fall apart.

And you...?

Does your partner meet some deep need of yours?

See results

Let's look at another example, such as the shared desire for a summer fling. After summer is over, the relationship ends. Perhaps some other mutual or complimentary needs will be discovered in the meantime that keep the relationship going... but perhaps things just fade away, and that's fine!

Or say that a couple got together because they wanted to take over the world- and they succeeded. What happens then? Perhaps each person will have to establish an entirely new mission in life... and perhaps those missions will give rise to new needs that are no longer met by the other party.

While conditions change, needs also change- at least sometimes. And if one partner's needs change and are no longer met by the other partner, dissatisfaction with the relationship will arise. I've seen this happen a bunch of times.

So What?

What I've taken from this point is that, when contemplating whether a relationship has long-term potential, one must really consider what sorts of needs hold the couple together. Are they likely to change? Are they based on fleeting conditions? Or are they eternal, enduring, and strong?

It's just something to ponder, I suppose.

What do you think?

Is this theory sound?

See results

Is there something more?

Mutual physical attraction, logistical fesaibility, and complimentary or shared needs are what I see as the three essential elements of a relaitonship, but I've never really been in one, and I am by no means an expert, so perhaps I am missing something.

What do you think- can a romantic relationship be functional and good without one of these things? Or am I missing an important aspects of all functional relationships that makes them possible and good? Tell me about it! Click away at the poll to the right, and leave a comment below!

I would be most interested to read your opinion.


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    • profile image

      Afshin Nejat 4 years ago

      That was funny there, at the beginning. You are intelligent enough to be funny without trying to be. As to content, good. You start of with truth: No mutual physical attraction, forget it. Mutual basis of need, yep (beyond the physical, hopefully). The second one, logistical feasibility, seems could be broadened out to dynamics of practicality generally. Social changes or structures that need to be rearranged/upset, psychological logistic of communication style, etc. These things are conceivably transformable, but not always. The "need" part (number three) is probably most important, once we get out the gate with the physical part... Otherwise, just friends... Yes.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks, bizandculture! And interesting point about commitment. I hadn't thought of it as the glue that might hold couples together as needs transition, but it totally can be!

    • bizandculture profile image

      bizandculture 6 years ago from Rapid City, SD

      Geez! Great article (and video), Simone! How can it only have a hub score of 84?!?! I loved your article... I think there's a #4 point missing for long-term relationships: Commitment. I've been married to the same great lady for 30+ years (is that possible?). Even though it's old-fashioned and sounds very boring, COMMITMENT is really effective and very cool. My wife meets a need of mine (and I meet a need of hers), but Commitment carries us along during times when the need changes. Without commitment, I think you're right, we would drift apart. But Commitment holds us together while we change, then in time... wham! A morphed need comes along and she's twice the satisfaction she was before. That's what I think, anyway. Fantastic article... not bad for someone reading a woman's magazine and wearing a very trendy striped bathrobe!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Good points, LiamBean! And it's nice for first loves to not always work out, methinks! Lost loves and failed relationships make for great stories- not to mention character building!

      Ah, so perhaps one of your needs/wants in another person is a sense of humor! I think that the opposites attract conventional wisdom could also be grouped under my theory about mutual or complimentary wants. So often, one party has what the other party lacks (but secretly or otherwise wants or needs).

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Glenn Stok! And it's cool to hear that my theory might hold true for those who have been able to test it against their own personal experience.

      Thank you for stopping by, mathira!

    • mathira profile image

      mathira 6 years ago from chennai

      Good hub about relationship and you were impressive in bringing forth questions that we usually have.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 6 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Wonderful! Those three questions are right on! They are definitely the three most important to answer 'yes' to. I have found when I had a feeling that something was missing, it was because of one of those questions not being affirmative. I think the order you put them in was also just as important. I read the Hub for review after watching your video, but I just wanted to say I liked how you did your video. You're very expressive.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, I totally agree with you above points, but I always think that for me, the one thing that has to be there is a sense of humor in both parties, laugh your way to love, thats what I say! one thing though, that old saying, Opposites Attract, is great to start with but its a no no when it comes to marriage! it may sound all yin and yang, you go out, he stays in, you party, he loves sitting in front of the tv and so on is great in an early relationship, but what happens when your friends move away, you are older, and you are left with a boring old man/woman who likes cosying up on the couch? Nah! you feel trapped, you want to go out and socialise and he/she gets you so mad that you just go out and find a 'mate' to play with! I know, done it, got the book and the T shirt! lol!

    • LiamBean profile image

      LiamBean 6 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

      I think your triangle of requirements is right on the mark. If any of the three go missing, the relationship is doomed. This does not mean that some enter into a relationship missing one of these key elements, expecting things to change or hoping the missing element "turns up."

      I myself had a relationship over ten years ago that was missing the Logical Feasibility element. Seeing my love interest required travel which was often not possible, mainly due to our conflicting work schedules.

      Of course this element did not change over time, though I hoped it would, and it doomed our relationship. It was quite a blow, because the other two elements were there.

      Eventually you will find yourself in a physical/emotional relationship. Chances are that the first one will not work out. This is based on the law of averages. Most first-loves do not last.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Hahaa, melbel, I am TOTALLY going to start cheering "Go local sports team! Score a goal point unit!" I love that.

      I totally share your sentiments about physical attraction. I'm also pretty picky and definitely have a type, though I am less likely to need to have much in common with someone... perhaps because my own personal interests basically involve being interested in everything else. Perhaps we're touching on the "mutual or complimentary needs" thing here- one of your needs is perhaps to be able to discuss and enjoy your interests with someone who appreciates them equally?

      Thanks a bunch, Princesswithapen. If you think my advice is sound, perhaps I'm not *too* off base :D

      What flattering words, Cocoa Fly Fishes! How kind of you to say that, and thank you so much for the vote of confidence. This sure is a fun subject to poke around!

    • Cocoa Fly Fishes profile image

      Cocoa Fly Fishes 6 years ago from Wherever the fish are!

      Dear Simone...

      I really enjoyed your hub! The topic is near & dear to my heart, your writing is sleek, concise, entertaining, & engaging, & your approach is very modern & reasonable. Altogether, I felt quite enriched by your hub on many levels, & you have my gratitude for this enjoyment. *hugs*

      May you continue to have joy & success both personally & professionally, my dear!

      I voted "up", "useful", "funny", & "interesting". *wink*

      Merry Jingle...Cocoa Fly Fishes

    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 6 years ago

      Physical attraction, interaction and satisfying emotional needs are indeed among the top drivers of a relationship. There is nothing better than grounded and down to earth advice - which is exactly what this hub is all about. Nicely done!


    • melbel profile image

      Melanie Shebel 6 years ago from New Buffalo, Michigan

      I think they're all mandatory. I often wonder how relationship where needs change last and how a couple can get through times when their needs change and learn ways to kind of hmmm meet their own changing needs as well as their partners.

      The first one, mutual attraction... is thin ice in my experience. When I meet a guy and there is no chemistry for me, I tend to make up a reason to break it off... usually something like, "we don't have a lot in common" so I don't hurt the guy's feelings. That said, guys have seen through this and thus I've been called "shallow." I hate to say it, but look are kind of important to me. The guy definitely doesn't have to be a super model, but I do have a 'type' of guy I'm into. I like a guy who is kind of nerdy and whose own education and health is important to him. If I can't converse with a guy about history or programming or something that's remotely interesting to me, it's going to fall apart.

      On the other side of the coin, I think it's unfair to a guy if he likes cars or sports or something... those things don't interest me, so if a guy were to talk to me about that, it would go in one ear and out the other. As a friend of mine used to say, "Go local sports team! Score a goal point unit!"

      Maybe it's shallow, but I'd rather be alone than be with someone that I'm not attracted to or someone whose interests are so different that conversation is limited to, "Cool! I like the color green too!"