Building a Future Together: Early Conversations About Goals and Dreams

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Talking about the future with a romantic partner is equal parts exciting and scary. While we are in the honeymoon stage or a new relationship, we’re usually too busy enjoying the moment—which is okay—to look forward. But, as romantic relationships get more serious, you should have the “what are your goals and dreams talk.” 

The subject of this chat? If you and your significant other’s futures align. It’s kind of an important thing to figure out, even if it is in the early days! Let’s talk about why it’s so important to discuss your goals and dreams early on and how to go about having these convos—without making it weird.


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Why Goals and Dreams Matters

Talking about your goals and dreams in the early days of a romantic relationship does a lot more than simply give you a look into each other’s ambitions for the future—it helps you figure out if you’re on the same page or at least reading from the same book or genre, in regards to your respective futures. 

This doesn’t mean you need to have everything figured out from the jump or that your plans can’t change—they most likely will! This is just about knowing whether you’re heading in the same general direction.

For instance, if one half of a couple wants to travel the world while the other wants to settle down and have a family, all signs point to challenges ahead.

Knowing these differences from the start means you can talk about and maybe find common ground—like travel around for a year and then settle down—or come to terms with the fact that your visions for the future aren’t in alignment.


Getting the Conversation Going

Talking about the future with someone you’re newly dating is straight-up awkward—how can it not be? Who hasn’t worried about scaring someone off when you bring it up? And even if they don’t run away screaming at the prospect of “the talk,” what if you find out that your dreams are startlingly different? 

But this convo will show you two important things: one, that you were dating a commitment phobe, or two, that you are dodging a heartbreak bullet because your future plans are in such opposition that it wouldn’t work out. But you need to talk about it either way, so here are some tips on how to bring it up:

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Be Open and Honest

Honesty is super important here, so you should share your thoughts and feelings openly with your partner. Talk about your dreams and goals and urge them to do the same with you! This creates a feeling of safety, trust, and respect for one another’s future plans.

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Timing is Everything

The vibe has to be right for this kind of convo—don’t just spring it on them when you’re watching a movie or rock climbing at the gym! There will be a right moment to talk about your futures, and it definitely doesn’t need to be a formal sit-down kind of deal—sometimes these convos come up organically. You’ll feel it when the time is right.

Listening

Listen Actively

When your partner is sharing, listen. Like, really listen. This shows that you care about their dreams and consider them important. It’s not just about waiting for your turn to talk—active listening is appreciating their perspective on things.

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Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions if things aren’t clear to you—don’t just nod your head and act like you understand if something is unclear to you! Ask them to clarify so there aren’t any misunderstandings.

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Keep an Open Mind

It’s not a bad thing or a spooky omen if you and your romantic partner have totally different dreams and goals. The key is to tackle any stark differences with an open mind and see if there’s any room for compromise!


Handling Differences

So, what happens if your future plans don’t exactly line up? First off, do not hit the panic button. It’s pretty much unheard of for two people to have the exact same visions for their futures. The important part is how you handle these differences. Here are a few things you can do if you find yourself in this situation:

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Talk About Compromises

Is there a middle ground that meets both of your fundamental wants and needs? Sometimes, a little flexibility and compromise can make a big difference in lining up your future together.

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Support Each Other’s Goals

Even if your dreams aren’t identical, you can still find ways to support each other. How? Well, it may involve making a few sacrifices or adjustments in your own plans to help each other get to your own goals—this is a personal decision that you’ll have to grapple with, depending on the sacrifices you’d have to make.

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Revisit the Conversation

Goals and dreams change—remember what you wanted to be when you were little? That’s probably not the career you’re in now, at least for most people. What you want now could change in a few years, and that’s normal. Make it a point to circle back to these convos every once in a while to stay in the loop on each other’s thoughts on the future.

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Think About Long-Term Compatibility

Sometimes, despite all of your best efforts, your futures might just not line up. Yes, this is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s much better to know it early on. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to break up this very minute, but it’s something to consider seriously as your relationship goes on.


Takeaways: Why It’s Worth It

Talking about your goals and dreams early on is so much more than just planning; it’s about establishing a relationship where both people feel understood, valued, and supported. It can boost your bond and verify that both of you are heading in the right direction—one that will make you happy.

And you don’t have to have all of the answers immediately! It’s just opening up a dialogue and being open to wherever it might lead. Whether you find that your futures align perfectly, need a bit of modification, or are totally opposite, these conversations are pretty important in the grand scheme. They mean that you’re not just obliviously walking into the future—you are building on a pathway that will work for both of you.

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