Are You The Reacher Or The Settler In Your Relationship?

The dynamics within monogamous relationships, are a complicated thing. There are a thousand more failed relationships than there are successful ones, but the failed ones are often exactly the spark that propels people into the more successful ones. Either way, when a relationship fails, it's important to discuss why it happened, in order to learn from past mistakes and hopefully build better relationships in the future.

The TV series How I Met Your Mother was a big hit for many years, for a lot of reasons, but one particular set of buzzwords that it introduced into the relationship lexicon of popular culture was the notion that many fraught relationships have a "reacher" or a "settler." Basically, this is based on the idea that in many monogamous relationships -- not all -- one person "reaches" for someone who they see as above their league, while another person "settles" for someone they actually see as beneath them.

Now, this certainly doesn't apply to every monogamous relationship: a strong, happy couple will see each other as equals, not better or less. But sometimes, in order to improve a flawed relationship, it can help to see if you view it through this reacher/settler dynamic: if you believe that your partner is better than you, or that you're better than your partner, what can you do in order to make things feel more equal? That's the true challenge worth struggling through. But before figuring that out, let's determine, Are You the Reacher or the Settler? 

Question 1

Who is more attractive?

Let's start with the basic, easy stuff. Be honest, between you and the partner you've decided to share all of your time with, which one is the more attractive? Attractiveness is subjective, of course: attractiveness might be about looks, but it also could be about personality, intelligence, charisma, and so on. So really, this basically comes down to your opinion, not the opinion of others.

Question 2

Who wins arguments?

Every couple argues. There's no way around it. When you spend that much time around a single person, who has grown up in a very different way than you have, you're going to have conflicts no matter what, and sometimes those differences aren't easy to resolve. But when you do get into a fight with your partner, who tends to win?

Question 3

Who runs the ship?

Being in a couple means that you have to make a lot of big decisions together, especially as your lives begin to become more and more intertwined. When this process begins, many relationships tend to develop a "leader," a person who takes charge of a lot of the big decisions. Who is this, in your relationship?

Question 4

Do you guys go out together?

Sometimes staying at home is good, especially for a romantic movie, but everyone has to go out from time to time, right? When you do, what does such an excursion look like, exactly? Let us know how it happens, according to whichever answer most closely matches your experiences within your relationship.

Question 5

Who is smarter?

strong brain

Other people might dispute this, but in your humble opinion, are you more intelligent than your partner is? Or perhaps, do you think that your partner is a lot smarter than you are? Intelligence is a hard thing to measure -- and maybe it shouldn't be measured -- but let us know your thoughts on this.

Question 6

If you broke up, what would happen?

Okay, let's face the question that no one ever wants to face, for obvious reasons. Let's say that, worse case scenario, you and your partner have a huge falling out. You're both forced to call it quits and walk away. If this terrible event were to occur, then what do you think would happen afterward?

Question 7

Who would break up with who?

Following from the previous question, here's an additional query: if you were to break up with your partner, who do you think would be the one to call it quits? Would you break it off, or would your partner be the one? Try to imagine the scenario, painful as it might be, and see what seems most likely.

Question 8

Who causes all the problems?

As we all know, and as we've covered previously, arguments are a major part of any relationship. But when it comes to problems, who is usually the guilty party? Are you -- or your partner -- too confrontational, or perhaps too emotionally repressed? Is one person noticeably more problematic than the other?

Question 9

Who is luckier?

Do you think you deserve your better, or are you just really, really lucky to have them? Do you often worry that maybe you've pulled the wool over their eyes -- or maybe, you're always thinking that you could do better? What sounds the most like your relationship?

Question 10

Do you agree with your partner's views?

So maybe you've been with your partner a long time, and when you first started dating, you both held some very different views on things. However, as time has gone on, that's changed. Have your views largely changed to align with those of your partner... or have their views changed to align with yours?

Question 11

Whose family do you see more?

Now, let's leave aside geographic difference which might slant this question. Assuming, if only for a minute, that both of you live within a short driving distance from your respective families, who do you think the two of you would both go to see more often -- as a couple?

Question 12

Who has cheated?

Cheating is a very, very serious matter that can completely obliterate any relationship, or leave a toxic rift in it that never heals. Hopefully, your relationship has never involved any form of cheating. However, if someone has cheated, which one of you has it been? Or who do you think would be more likely to cheat?

Question 13

Do you think your partner "owes" you something?

The general purpose of this quiz is to determine if there is a fundamental imbalance in your relationship, wherein one partner believes that they are better than the other. However, do you think your partner "owes" you something, for whatever reason? That they are in your debt? Or maybe it's the other way around?

Question 14

Do you ever look at others?

Maybe you have never cheated... but do you ever consider it? Is it something you've thought about, something you think you might get away with, perhaps? Or are you far too loyal for such a stray thought to enter your mind? Let us know the truth of the matter, whatever it might be.

Question 15

Who supports whom?

The type of support might vary. Maybe it's financial support, or emotional support, or what have you. But the question here, which of you does the extra work to support the other person? Is there any kind of unequal balance here, regarding who supports whom more? Tell us what you think.

Question 16

Who pays the bills?

All right, so who funds this whole relationship operation? When you go out to dinner, who picks up the tab? Who is that is putting more money into the rent? Is there an imbalance -- and if so, is it one that you're both happy with, or is the source of a lot of arguments?

Question 17

Does your partner respect you?

Respect is a key element in any successful relationship. How do you think, deep in your heart, your partner really feels about who you are, what you do, and what motivates you? Do you think that your significant other has a healthy amount of respect for you... or should they?

Question 18

Who initiates sex?

Sexual relations are a big part of any relationship, and it's the one place where equality might be the most important. Sex needs to be enjoyed by both people for any happy relationship. When you and your partner initiate action between the sheets, who is it that always gets the ball rolling?

Question 19

Who is wearing a mask?

Do you ever get the sense that your partner is pretending to be something they're not? That they're puffing themselves up in some way, trying to look better or different than they are, out of some sort of severe self-consciousness? Or do you feel like you're portraying yourself in a deceptive manner, fooling your partner into thinking that you're better?

Question 20

Who do your mutual friends like better?

When you get together with a group of your mutual friends... do you ever get the weird, uncanny, uncomfortable sense that all of them like one of you better than the other? That maybe, as much as you hate to admit it, your friends are only putting up with one of you, because they like the other person?

Question 21

Does your partner think other things are more important than you?

Be honest, do you get the sense that your partner has much higher priorities in their life than dealing with your crap? Or maybe you're the other partner, and you're tired of your significant other trying to be such a big deal in your life. What is it like for you?

Question 22

Is your partner a good person?

You'd like to believe that your partner is worthy of your time, but maybe not. The big question here, though, is are they a good, decent, moral person? Are they someone who does the right thing? Or are they a morally bankrupt sort of person? Let us know what you think.

Question 23

Are you attracted to your partner?

We asked earlier which of you was more attractive, in your mind, but that's not quite what we're asking now. At this point, we want to know the sincere truth: are you still attracted to your partner, if you ever were? Do they attract you in a real, major way, or are you straining?

Question 24

Do you trust your partner?

Relationships are founded on trust. There's no two ways about it. When you're going to share your entire life with someone in such a major way, you really have to trust them with everything inside you. So, do you trust your partner? And do they trust you? Tell us the truth.

Question 25

Which of these ways do your arguments tend to end?

Coming back to everyone's favorite subject: arguments. Once again, arguments are a normal part of every relationship out there, but the way arguments happen varies from couple to couple. When you get in an argument with your significant other, which of these situations would you say is the closest to how it usually ends?

Question 26

Where do you see your future?

Gandalf wizard Ian McKellen Lord of the Rings

Let's imagine that you could look into a crystal ball, and see the future of your relationship spelled out ahead of time for you. If you were to make the best guess that you can about where things are likely to go, which of these situations sounds the most credible to you?

Question 27

Are you willing to compromise?

Let's say that your partner wants something to happen that you aren't so hot on, or that they prefer things a certain way that they don't like. They're not going to budge on this situation, at least all the way, but they might be willing to give a little bit if you can work something out. How do you deal with this situation?

Question 28

Does your relationship challenge you?

It's really important in any relationship that the person you're with challenges you to push through extremes, to uncover new sides of yourself, and to be a better person than you were before. This is what makes relationships exciting, and what makes growth happen. Does your relationship challenge you?

Question 29

What do other people think of your relationship?

It'd be nice if no one cared what anyone else ever thought, but c'mon, that's not the reality. Everyone cares what people think, and if you're in a couple, you definitely wonder what, exactly, other people think of your relationship. What is your feelings on this matter, if you're being honest with yourself?

Question 30

Does your partner need to change?

Do you think your partner is a person worthy of your time and attention... or do you think that really, when it comes down to it, they have a lot of work to do? Are they being all that they can be, or do they need to work harder on being a better person? What are your thoughts on this matter?

Question 31

Are you jealous?

Are you a jealous person? Do you always think that other people are trying to snatch your partner away from you... or if not, are you always worried that they'll try, and that one day your partner will just go up to the bedroom with them? Be honest with yourself and tell the truth here, even if you never say it aloud.

Question 32

Why has your relationship lasted?

Obviously, if you are taking this quiz, your relationship has lasted, for one reason or another. Sometimes this is because you guys are meant to be, and sometimes it's not so great, but either way, you've been plugging away at this relationship for sometime. Tell us, what do you think is the secret to why your relationship has lasted as long as it has?

Question 33

What are you afraid of?

Any of the situations below would be genuinely frightening to many people, but which of them seems the most real to you? Which possibility seems the most likely, and thus, which one would probably terrify you the most? Let us know, so we can get ready to give you your answer in a few more brief questions.

Question 34

Which fictional couple do you relate to?

Pick one of the popular fictional couples below, and tell us which one of them you relate the most to. To do this, we're going to isolate one person in each couple, who will represent you. If you relate to this person, and the way that they function within their respective relationship, select that one.

Question 35

Do you try to work out issues together?

All right, we have reached the final question: now, let's discuss the process of working out the kinks, as we reach our conclusion. When you and/or your partner find that you've encountered a relationship problem, do you tend to work together to fix the problem? Don't tell us what you'd WANT to have happen -- but what actually DOES happen. If your desires are the same as reality, that's great!

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