Once the courting phase of your relationship is long over, you've already covered the basics of where you're from, what you do for work, and what you like to do for fun. But just because you've touched on the surface-level convos with your S.O., it doesn't mean you know everything about them.
While communication should never run completely dry in a happy and healthy partnership, passion can naturally wane as your 'ship becomes less new (read: it's normal to sit in silence sometimes). FWIW, it's up to you to get creative and refuel the excitement with some thought-provoking questions. This is the only way you'll get to know each other on a deeper, more intimate level.
Here are 20 expert-approved topics to bring up with your significant other—and be prepared to bring your thoughts to the table on these, too.
Your passions in life
If you feel like your talks have grown stale, what could spark the passion more than a convo about passion? "You'll get the most interesting answers," says behavior expert Patrick Wanis, PhD. "You'd be surprised how many people are in relationships who don't know the passions of their partners."
What your dream vacation home looks like
When one of you makes it big, it'll be helpful to know where each of you envision your perpetual staycation together: A beachside cottage in Boracay, a chic apartment in Paris, or a slope-side cabin somewhere cold.
What makes you both feel confident
Discussing the things that fill you with pride is good because it's "positive and allows the person to speak freely and share," explains dating and relationship expert Lisa Concepcion.
Influential people in your lives
The best convo topics are open-ended. "They are rooted in genuine curiosity and the desire to understand," explains Concepcion. So whether it’s a family member they look up to, a famous musician, or their best friend, this is a great way to learn more about who the person you love loves, and how they helped shape them into who they are today.
The cringe-worthy first kiss story, which involves braces and a bloody lip, will give you two a good laugh together. It's tit-for-tat, however, so be prepared to dish out your most cringe-worthy tale once bae shares theirs.
What you would do if you both couldn't fail
"It's about the high concepts," says Wanis. Here, you can both dream big and share your dreams with each other. It's a bonding opportunity and a total conversation win.
What you'd do if money didn't matter
Free money? Talk about a fun concept! (Personally, I would fill a room with kittens, a chocolate fountain, and unlimited rosé, but this isn't about me…)
Your love languages
Real talk: Your boyfriend probably doesn't have a clue which of the five love languages he embodies. However, Wanis says starting a conversation about the ways you best like to give and receive love (words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and/or physical touch) can be a communication game-changer. Try taking the couple's quiz together.
Talking about the people who raised you and who you grew up with is a deep and relatable topic. It's also a good learning opportunity if you both open up about how your upbringing may impact the kind of family you may or may not want to have down the line. "We all have the best and worst family memories. This allows you both to speak freely, and a lot can be learned about your partner by asking this kind of question," says Concepcion. If you're clear with yourself about the direction you want your life to go (e.g., you do or def don't want marriage and kids), you'll know exactly what to listen for.
Your guilty pleasures
We all have them, and they make us more charming and three-dimensional. Maybe you both love watching The Bachelor on Monday nights, which is just one more thing you have in common.
A Harry Potter-inspired hypothetical
Even if bae's not a Harry Potter fan, here's some fun convo fuel: "Which Deathly Hallow would you choose: the elder wand, invisibility cloak, or resurrection stone?" Hash out the pros and cons of each magical object: The ability to be omnipotent, invisible, or bring back the dead. Your partner's personal life experiences will sway their choice and reveal a lot about them and their priorities.
Which decade you'd choose to live in forever
Perhaps your naturally crimped hair and affinity for spandex means you would thrive in the '90s. Invite your partner to also get creative and imagine themselves as a founding father from the 1700s or peace-chasing hippie from the '70s. Hey, why not? It's not like you have anywhere else to be tonight.
Your bucket lists
Whether they're dying to go skydiving or to take a cooking class, this is the perfect opportunity to learn new things about your partner, then solidify plans to check life goals off your lists together.
Your sexual fantasies
Maybe they want to rip your clothes off on a big city rooftop at night; maybe you want to bring sex toys into the bedroom. Ask, and maybe, you shall receive.
Times you've both been brave
"What's the bravest thing you've ever done?" A question like this will open the mic for you both to reveal moments in your lives when a bold choice you made changed you for the better. These are great stories that have likely never come up in convo, but ones you'd both love to share.
It's going to come up at some point, so you might as well broach the subject on your own terms. Find out what your partner liked most and least about their former flames (acknowledging both the positives and negatives of their last relationship makes your inquiry seem less laced with jealousy and more of just a way to learn about what they find attractive in a partner). Though TBH, you totally want to know if they loathed how their ex chewed with their mouth open, but they don't have to know you're digging.
Hidden talents you want to master
Give them the floor to openly imagine what it would be like to be the world-renowned drummer or sports star they wish they were. Then, it's your turn to admit you still wish you were an astronaut. We can all dream!
Your hypothetical "last suppers"
Imagine tomorrow you were going off to prison to serve a life sentence, what would be your last meal in the real world? Hopefully, neither of you will have to decide this because of a real-life Piper Chapman-esque crime you've committed, but who doesn't love talking about their all-time favorite foods? Wanis actually believes it to be the sixth love language, since food is connected to emotion, pleasure, and meaningful experiences.
Your next vacation
Will it be hiking Machu Picchu? Taking a long weekend in Portland, Maine? Plant the seed of planning something to look forward to together.
New Year Resolutions
Now is a great time to be aspirational and share three big things you want to accomplish in 2020; Inspire each other to set goals and keep one another accountable in the year to come.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.