3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Enter A Relationship

Kissing Couple

“Love does not obey our expectations; it obeys our intentions.” ~Lloyd Strom

Recently, I did something radical; I entered into a relationship with the intention of extending love. I consciously set the goal of peace.

It’s with the intention to experience more peace than ever before that the relationship began, and it’s with that same intention that we decided to end the relationship. In between it all, I felt deeply connected, heard, and loved.

What did I do differently this time that allowed me to experience a new level of peace and love? What about this relationship created the space for us to peacefully “break up”?

Unlike other relationships I had that seemed to pull me deeper into fear, this relationship accomplished the complete opposite—helped to release me from it.

Whatever I did differently with this one, I wanted to bottle it up! As I took some time to reflect, I realized that what I did differently comes in the form of three simple miracle-minded questions that I asked myself before I even entered the relationship.

The three questions below helped me step away from fearful relationships based on getting and filling my perceived voids and instead, helped me step into a loved-based relationship built on extending the love and completeness I found within myself first.

And what a difference this shift made in my experience!

The next time you find yourself getting ready to join with someone in a relationship (or even a friendship) ask yourself these questions first:

1. What is this relationship for?

In the past, I would just jump into relationships without any real intention set at the beginning. I wanted the attention and for someone to prove I was lovable. I wanted to get more than I wanted to extend. I was motivated by ego fears and desires to fill my perceived voids.

The way we move beyond these ego fears is by stopping and asking ourselves, “What is this relationship for?”

Without a clear goal set at the beginning, it’s easy to get lost and stuck in a fearful place. So with my last relationship, we decided that our goal would be peace, and that we wanted to help each other remember the truth about ourselves instead of getting lost in the illusions about ourselves. What is this relationship for? To extend peace.

And this makes all the difference. When you do find yourself in a disagreement, you can remember that your goal is peace and then act accordingly.

The value of setting a goal in advance is that it will pull you through the tough times. Without the goal, it’s easy to get caught up in the ego’s drive to be right or justified. Having a common goal in mind allows you to move forward together instead of working against each other. In my last relationship I found that a shared goal connected us and gave us something to focus on.

2. What limiting beliefs are blocking me from authentically connecting?

A lot of times when we don’t experience something we say we want, it’s because we have some underlying fear associated with getting it.

For example, if you say you want to experience a deeply loving relationship and it hasn’t shown up yet, it might be because deep down you’re scared of it. I know for me, I said I wanted to have a loving relationship, but when I got honest with myself, I realized I was actually scared of falling in love.

Somewhere along the line I decided that being in love would make me weak and vulnerable. When I went even deeper, I noticed that I had the belief that I wasn’t good enough yet to be loved. I didn’t think I was skinny enough, successful enough, or funny enough, and deep down I was scared that other people might find that out, too.

So what do you do when you realize you’re scared of what you want? What do you do with the belief that you’re not good enough? You simply become willing to move beyond the fears. Often times the awareness of our fearful patterns is enough for them to be released.

Sometimes I will even say to myself “I hear you fear, but I’m not going to let you determine my actions right now.” Instant personal power.

This opens the way for you to step beyond the limiting beliefs you carry about yourself. The truth is, you’re good enough right now in this very moment. There is nothing to prove. Become curious about your beliefs and behaviors. Invite them in, question them, and watch as they melt away.

3. Am I focusing on the content or the frame?

Fear-based relationships often start with a strong attraction to a body. I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely been sucked into relationships because the frame was lookin’ good. I paid no attention to the content, aka the mind.

But at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that you’re always getting in a relationship with a mind. If the content is not engaging and exciting, circle back to the first question: What is this for?

When we put all our focus on the content and not the frame, we simultaneously release our expectations and allow ourselves to experience peace and love in ways that we might not have thought possible. The frame will shift and change, but lasting fulfilling connection starts and ends with the content, not the labels and clothes we place around it.

Ultimately, within others you can either lose yourself or remember yourself, because from a spiritual perspective, everyone is a reflection of you. And with that idea, relationships become a miraculous teaching device.

You decide if you want fear or love based on the intention you set at the beginning. I’ve both lost myself and remembered myself in relationships, but I prefer the latter.

The three questions above are how you open the doorway for a love-based relationship to enter your life.

By setting the goal of peace, becoming willing to move past our beliefs of not being good enough, and focusing on the content, not the frame, we can experience a deep connection and trust, which is perhaps one of the most miraculous things you can share with another human being.

About Amanda Christian

Amanda is a registered yoga teacher with a passion for wandering in the forest, teaching outdoor yoga, mountain biking and drawing mandalas. She lives for campfire conversations and dark starry skies. Over on her website, she has free yoga classes, travel ideas, and guides to getting creative! Follow her adventures on Instagram @amandaoutside and YouTube @amandaoutside.

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  • Willow Lucas

    Thanks for the reminder.

  • Deanna Lang

    Amanda, this was an amazing read – thank you! Would you mind terribly if I shared it on my blog at, with full credit to you as the author and link to its source? I think it’s an important read for everyone!

  • Pingping

    You have written this article with so much maturity and yet it sheds light on the usual mistakes we do when entering a relationship. I can really relate to your last point. Content or Frame. So true, the frame is the projection of the individual on the outermost layer of his personality. Content remains the most important, his innermost self. Thank you for these wonderful pieces of advice. Stay blessed =)

  • anon-y-mouse

    Whew–this is powerful! I need to read this a few times and embrace this point of view as I consider my next relationship. Brilliant!

  • scalderon

    this is beautiful and touching amanda. and it couldn’t have had better timing than today. it all seems so simple & common sense but its the true deeper meaning of our fears we need to overcome in all aspects of life. thank you!

  • lv2terp

    Wonderful post! I love this…. “Ultimately, within others you can either lose yourself or remember
    yourself, because from a spiritual perspective, everyone is a reflection
    of you. And with that idea, relationships become a miraculous teaching
    device.” Beautiful!!! 🙂

  • Amanda

    That would be fine with me Deanna!

  • Deanna Lang

    Thank you so much! I’ve even printed it for myself! <3

  • Amanda

    Would you mind putting the link back to TinyBuddha instead of my site? Only because it’s published here first. Thanks so much 🙂

  • Deanna Lang


  • Octarin

    I loved your post, so well-balanced and centered and yet… I just got out of a relationship with a narcissist. I can tell you that no matter what you do and how much openness and soul connectedness you have, if you make that mistake, you won’t find love and acceptance… My weakness was exactly that I was willing to commit, and I wanted a deep relationship, so I gave my all in earnest. And then I learned my lesson the hardest way. I wish it were as simple as you make it out to be. I’m afraid it’s not. Maybe I tripped at the “what is this for” step, I don’t know. But I know that what I got for tripping up a step … I didn’t deserve. Be well. Good post.

  • Mariana R.

    Number 2 is something I’ve recently been thinking about. I too find myself limiting the love I can accept but as they say “The first step is admittance”. So I can only move forward from that.

  • Naomi Maisey

    For sure

  • Arashi

    Thank you so much for this insight and wisdom!

  • One of the best articles on the topic, I’ve ever red! Thanks for sharing, Amanda! Love and peace on your way! 🙂

  • Tim

    Ditto. There are people out there who just want to take away and harm others. Then they go about their lives perfectly happy. It’s like wolves and sheep when it comes to affairs of the heart.

  • Tim

    I have to be the dissenter here. I stopped reading your post as soon as you said, “What is the relationship for?” This doesn’t seem like love in any way to me. It sounds like you are trying to get something out of another person. It just sounds like you are making contracts with men and then breaking up after you’ve grown old of them. There has to be wonder in love just like there should be awe and wonder in life. I say the opposite of you. I say go in to it with reckless abandon and see what happens. It’s supposed to hurt like hell when you break up. your philosophy of love and relationships is good if you want to control people and not get hurt yourself, but I think that you are wading in the kiddie pool of love. Sorry if I offended you. I’m not trying to be mean, I just don’t agree.

  • Lannetta Leigh Miller

  • Triton

    How can you validly disagree when you didn’t read past the intro? There is wonder in the way this person treats the relationship as well in my opinion. Going with reckless abandon will most likely hurt the other person too when there’s a break up. Just because both people are in pain doesn’t mean it’s necessarily okay. Also, I believe this jumping into relationships is almost a cultural thing in itself so saying that it’s supposed to be a certain way is just not true.

    I do believe however that instead of asking “what is this relationship for?”, one should be asking “what is my motivation?” But it’s probably just wording.

  • Luke Nelson

    I completely disagree with your 3rd point. Focusing entirely on content and not the frame is the same as denying nature. Imo, “half” the reason we are together is to fill the need of physical intamacy(nature’s procreation). Focusing on the content is the other half. Since when is it one or the other. Absolutes, almost never exist. You can be completely connected with the content, and if you can’t “get it up” or “get wet”, then your in a relationship that’s headed downhill. For most of us at least, unless your the one in a zillion Dali Lama and you meet your other, Lady Lama, then I suppose you both could go without sex for years and be hunky dory. The lasting, happy relationships,IMO, are the folks who used their content well and had PATIENCE to find their match of both the content AND the frame.

  • Christina Woelz

    Thank you so much for this. Very, very timely for me! <3

  • Angela May

    This is a very logical approach to an emotional experience. Love is art – a process of falling deeper into the abyss and letting it carry you. Distrust anyone who believes there’s time to “stop and ask questions” before falling in love. That’s simply a protective mechanism of the wounded and unaware. And as for the “content and not the frame” you’ve got to be kidding me. We choose, care for, and maintain our bodies as our reflection to the world. The body is a huge piece in love (not the only piece) but for anyone to say “choose the mind not the body” hasn’t ventured too much into the experience of lasting relationships. You simply can’t create a lasting intimacy with someone whose body is repulsive to you, no matter how much you connect on a mind level. As an avid follower of tinybuddha, I’m actually surprised such a dualistic article was published here.

  • Jai

    Amanda, what if it’s hard for you to answer the question, “what is this for?”

  • Elita Van Buuren

    Its because you havnt yet learned what true love is, its not uncontrolable feeling, its a completly intentional action

  • arrow&whsiper

    these are great points for folks who get alot of attention and have many relationship opportunities, and are ready to bring some authenticiy into their experience. That said, many folks aren’t missing relationships and opportunities because of some unadressed fear. Many of us are just not fitting into the image of desirability. Even folks who seek authentic connection and living are often, I’d say mostly, still bound by societal expectations around body image, gender roles, and material reward/commodfication of self in relationship. That’s normal, that’s ok. My point is this: you have some good advice in here, but your frame reads for the beautiful and the privileged. Keep that in mind when you are working with people who don’t, or haven’t had heaps of opportunities in relationships, love, and even just sex. Many folks go years of trying without ever finding a partner. Some of said folks suddenly arrive in success and find they are getting lots of attention, and all the social expectation about who to connect with and what shape that should take flood in, suffocating their heart connection just as they begin to experience some reciprocity. What relationship advice would you give to someone who has reached out again and again, who has been working these points in one form or another for years, who has a personal practice and takes care of themselves, but still finds themselves alone after two or three or ten years? More and more people are living in that condition.

  • Fleeb McFurby

    I completely agree with Elita Van Buuren (and sadly disgaree with Tim). That question, “What is the relationship for?” is a very important question we tend to ignore until we feel bad (and by then we jump to “it’s for nothing” and then we break-up). Relationships are not just feelings, emotions or blushes, they are also two people working together. They are the intentions and actions that follow. Of course said intentions and actions need to be fueled by feelings, but that’s the difference between an adolescent view of love (i.e. “I love you so much I could DIIIIE for you”) and an adult one (i.e. “life is a path, so is a relationship, so where do you want us to go?”).

  • Eri Cad

    i believe thats what Amanda meant when she said what is this relationship for? I like how you posed the underlying question of what’s my motivation though. I agree I think going into relationships reckless is just a recipe for disaster. I’m taking things alot slower than I ever have before and I’m relishing it because I have reached a place in my life where I have gained the insight, experience and wisdom to be more careful about who I let in my life period. I think people need to do what’s right for them but I think what Amanda is doing is so beautiful because she came in and came out of a relationship able to honor who she was and the other person. I believe when we have reached a place where we can no longer be in a relationship and we can breakup with the other person giving a sense of integrity and respect its incredibly healing. It hurts but it hurts differently. I ended a friendship with someone this summer and while we weren’t close she said the most amazing thing to me she said, “take flight.” I loved that comment because it wasn’t about abandonment or rejection or taking something personally it was about letting go. Thats where I hope I evolve to one day.

  • Eri Cad

    I would suggest therapy. Speaking as a late bloomer it has done wonders for me I would also recommend Tony Robbins Awaken the Giant within. I tell my friends when I’m telling about one date or another I’m no Tyra Banks nor do I need to be I just keep getting back on the horse because its important to me. Im learning so much of what we experience in dating from others has nothing to do with us and has alot more to do with them and where they are in their life.

  • Eri Cad

    I don’t think she was saying ignore the frame I think she was saying don’t get so caught up in the frame that you miss the content. Alot of folks are with people that look good or are great in the bedroom but lack the emotional tools when it comes to the actual relationship. I myself have to stop and ask questions because when I realized I was attracting a bunch of emotionally unavailable men or dudes who feared intimacy I had to start asking myself some serious questions. When I saw prevailing a sense of negativity in those I was dating instead of light and positive energy that I strived to have I had to ask some questions. Me being with those types of people has made it impossible for my subconscious to allow me to fall in love because those people weren’t not “safe.” They lacked the capacity to receive love or to love themselves.

  • Angela May

    Please write again with your real name and photo on your posts.

  • Eri Cad

    Erin and I can’t put my picture in from this computer but I have nothing to hide we are merely discussing the points outlined in the article

  • Angela May

    Not really, you’re a faceless avatar with a pretend name. No serious discussions are possible, unless you’re willing to take off the mask. That’s likely a metaphor for how you live your life. No response neccessary.

  • Eri Cad

    That is so absurd. I could see your point if I was being rude and mean but since my only intention was to share opinions in a constructive and ultimately thought provoking way I kinda don’t get all the dismissive shade. I don’t care where a point of view comes from if its not meant in a combative way. I certainly didn’t intend to come off that way but I guess that doesnt matter. Oo well. Love and Light. Erin

  • Angela May

    If that’s the case, try starting your reply with what you agree with. It’s hard to be understanding and human, when a random internet avatar comments on an age-old post with an immediate offensive stance. Your reply also goes on about things that I never said, and that only furthers the inability to trust that you actually have something to contribute. All the best.

  • Eri Cad

    Ugh!! I see I can’t have a dialogue on tiny buddha either without meanness. All you had to say was I don’t agree with you or nothing at all. Avatars UNITE

  • Angela May

    You realize you just literally described your behaviour exactly. There was no need for all this drama. If you had read my comment, and added to the dialogue, we would be in a respectful conversation right now. The “avatars unite” comment sums my initial hesitation to interact with you quite perfectly. This is the exact reason I avoid those who come online behind a facade.

  • Eri Cad

    I don’t see how my comment was disrespectful. I just interpreted the article different from you again it wasn’t meant to be derogatory. I merely hoped to have a discourse maybe elaborate on your point of view and I could have said Oo I hadn’t considered that or still disagree but damn just nasty.

  • Snowflake of the Month

    I kind of think men do not need to complain here about making contracts then breaking them. If you read all the comments on Tiny Buddha’s breakup articles, you may find that in 99 percent of them, it was men breaking contracts with women and walking out with them, not the other way around. If you’d like this behavior to police, please look to your own gender. There is plenty to discuss and fix with members of it before deciding to narcissistically shout across the aisle with your microphone, lecturing women on what you perceive as our shortcomings.

    You don’t offend us, you’re just blind to your own gender’s crimes against ours such as slicing off our entire arm with selfish stupidity, and instead lashing out at those bleeding women for the paper cut on your finger. People come here for healing; not to be hectored and bullied by those who share the gender who injured them. N’est-ce pas? Make sense?

  • Moose

    Dude, did you even read the article???? Love yourself first, and if you do that you will be moving toward a vison/purpose of peace, or something fairly synonymous. Once you reach this point, a relationship doesn’t make sense unless it aligns with your lifes vision, otherwise it will result in conflict on some level, detracting from your goal of peace, etc etc. No, this isn’t self seeking or controlling, in fact it is the opposite, it is controlling yourself first before you can give to another.

    You should be able to answer the question of what’s the purpose to essentially anything you do of value, and line that up to higher level life purpose.

  • RCCola115

    I would never seek a relationship based in peace. I would seek happiness, serenity, comfort and tranquility.

    Peace is an unattainable myth that countless hordes have fought tooth and nail to achieve yet only resulted in soldiers dying in droves. No such peace was ever found. It would just be a simple return to what was, before wars left a path of destruction so tumultuous that what would soon seem a better future was naught but an end to the conflict.

    Peace is a lie.

    As John Lennon once stated, his goal in life was to be happy. I share this philosophy. A life of laughter and affection and love is what makes life worth living.

    Only too soon my tombstone will conclude my forgettable legacy with an apropos epithet. Though I may “rest in peace” beneath the old adage, I do not have to rush to curb my emotional joys to make myself be inhibited or bored into a mentally unstimulating complacency.

    A peaceful life may appeal to those who rarely talk and arent artistically inclined, the more simple minded and etc. But the only time I feel peaceful is sitting on a dock fishing, Though I enjoy the random serenity and tranquility that provides, I would die of boredom basing my life around peace.

  • RCCola115

    “Fear based relationships” are not based in sexual chemistry or attraction.

    They are rooted in attachment prone individuals lacking stability and disrupting the confidence that can be found in a healthy relationship’s strong and firm foundation that is allowed to take its natural course when serious feeling is possible.

    Peace is a lack there of, aka absolving, of passion, infatuation, butterflies in your stomach, the roller coaster of emotional turmoil of intrigue and chemistry and insecurity and hope and indulgence and terror and elation and shyness and joyfulness and excitement and thrill and caution and acceptance and inclusiveness and exclusiveness and betterment and sacrifice and love and a neverending happiness of interest made more beautiful by experiencing it with your love and his or her all encompassing reason for the extra strength behind each heart beat in your chest.

    Peace is rocking chairs on the front porch when youre 75 years old and the arthritis has kicked in and you cant do what you ised to but you know your fulfilling lives together will travel on in your peaceful happy afterlife above. Its preparing dmfor the end.

    Peace from the beginning is a denial of beautiful affection and inhibit growth in both self and set.

    Stoke the fires, they may never go out. Douse the flames and they may never again catch flame.

    Life is art. Love is art. Drink in the essence of life’s gift to you that is soly your own. Living art. Love’s colors painting the world around you what your subconscious desires. Happier yellows. Passionate pinks. Bluer skies.

    Dont ever let anyone convince you monotony or removal of any emotion is a necessity to happiness and love.

    Acceptance isnt acceptance when its a resignation. Fight for anything you feel resigned to as that is not peace. Its a called truce to opposing ideologies. Stay true to yourself.

    Keeping the peace is not the tranquility and comfort one finds in a well loved life at peace with one’s self.

    Never forget that.

  • RCCola115

    I agree with the poster. Its seems so devoid of passion and so seeped in catatonic wonder.

    not to offend, I jist believe her terminology is wrong with her wording as peace is not how happiness and love grows.

    Being at peace with one’s self has a darker connotation than all the beautifully shared aspects of a new relationship.

    I believe she confuses self esteem with insecurity and passion and emotional bond with financial stability and noncombative personality disorder alleviating any potential conflict with an absence of all healthy emotional attachment.

    Emotionally devoidant personalities have lower self esteem when it comes to body image and faith in the genuinity of a partner and will come into constant conflict due to dissatisfaction from a negatively based foundation casting shade on various bondings that couples need to stay close. Especially when one or both partners are emotionally detrimental to life long happiness.