Answer These 15 Yes-or-No Questions to Help Evaluate the State of Your Relationship – Lifehacker

Gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==

Photo: Pachai Leknettip (Shutterstock)

It’s really easy to judge other people’s relationships. In fact, we may not even realize when we’re doing it. But when you spend time with a couple, their dynamic usually becomes apparent relatively quickly, to the point where you may think you can identify their specific problems.

Advertisement

But doing that in our own relationships? Not so much. It’s hard to gauge the state of a relationship when you’re part of it for many reasons, including the fact that you don’t have the distance necessary to notice both its good and bad aspects. So, building on existing research, psychologist Dr. Gary W. Lewandowski Jr. put together a set of 15 questions to help people evaluate and gain insight into their relationships, which he published as part of an article for Psychology Today. Here’s what to know.

The research behind the questions

In addition to his own findings on the science behind romantic relationships, Lewandowski based his set of 15 yes-or-no questions on the Keltner List, developed by baseball statistician Bill James as a way to assess which baseball players are the most viable Hall of Fame candidates.

That may not seem like the most likely source material for a tool to evaluate romantic relationships, but here’s how Lewandowski explains it in an article in Psychology Today:

While James is a statistician, his Keltner List is intentionally nonscientific. It’s a collection of 15 questions anyone can quickly answer to help guide an overall assessment of a player’s worthiness for the Hall. (Example: “Was he the best player on his team?”) The answers are not meant to provide a definitive conclusion, but rather to force a careful consideration of the most important information.

Similarly, Lewandowski’s list of 15 questions—each of which is grounded in existing research on romantic relationships—was designed to highlight what matters the most for serious, long-term, sustainable love.

The Keltner List for relationships

To take advantage of Lewandowski’s tool, he says it’s important to answer the yes-or-no questions truthfully—questions like “Does your partner make you a better person, and do you do the same for them?” and “Are you and your partner both comfortable with sharing feelings, relying on each other, being close, and able to avoid worrying about the other person leaving?” Some are easier, like whether you and your partner are best friends, while others might make you pause for a minute, like whether you and your partner really accept each other without trying to change the other person. You can find the full list of questions in his article here.

Advertisement

Assessing the answers to the relationship questions

This isn’t a case where you’ll get definitive results by counting up the number of “yes” and “no” responses. Instead, Lewandowski says that the purpose of the exercise is to gain insight into not only what’s not working in your relationship, but what is working as well. In his article for Psychology Today, he explains:

These questions are meant to be a self-guided tour through what relationship science knows is important in relationships—the relationship “green flags.” In other words, the best answer for every question is a quick, certain, and unqualified “yes.” If any question gave you pause or leads to a clear “no,” that’s an area that warrants attention and improvement.

Advertisement

Of course, it’s never possible to predict the future of a relationship—there are far too many other potential variables, some of which are unexpected. But the aim here is to come away with a better understanding of how and why your relationship works (or doesn’t work). 

This story was originally published on July 18, 2021 and was updated on July 19, 2021 to summarize the list of questions.

Advertisement