There are other things that should be discussed, such as monogamy and where you both see yourself in the future (i.e. business oriented or still partying the way you used to when in your college/teen years). A seriously motivated individual will not be satisfied with a partner that is a slacker, even if they have other overly-appealing attributes.
Regardless, the future should be discussed at some point in your relationship. Until it is discussed, you should still discuss yourselves and your own personal interests. If you believe you have a lot in common, or even if you don't have that much in common at all (but still seem to work well together), then you should definitely move on to discussing your future goals.
For some, discussing the future might be a top priority. If things are going okay then you can discuss the future in a more casual 'me' manner, such as "what I want for the future" as opposed to "where I see myself with you in the future". (However, the 'we two' aspect should definitely be discussed after you've been dating for some time.) If you two don't mesh on future idealisms the date may sour, but at least you aren't wasting your time with someone that doesn't have the same future goals as you do.
Depending on how fast the dating progresses you may want to talk to your 'potential' partner about future plans 'together' - anywhere from two months to six months into the relationship. Some relationships move more rapidly, but you shouldn't try to push it too fast or find yourself at the 'love-and-devotion' part within just one month - even if you do feel they are perfect in nearly every way.
Discussing the future in a 'general' way should prepare you for discussing the future in a 'serious-together-forever' way. You should expect to already know whether he or she wants kids, or not, or whether they're looking to eventually settle down with one person. If nothing else, you should be able to work out a compromise. However, do not kid yourself... if it is meant to work it will, if not it won't. There is nothing you can do to make it work if it isn't meant to be! You shouldn't feel like you have to lie to them (or to yourself) just to 'settle down' and 'be in a relationship' if you aren't going to be happy overall.
Within the first three dates you should mention the future in a generic kind of way. You should discuss how you want to live your life, and what your hopes and dreams are for your future. These are important things they need to know about you. It can take a second to fall in love, but forever to fall out of love. Staying in love takes hard work and you need to really 'click' to make it work. or find yourself forever heartbroken over the loss of this love. So, if you think you could love them, and they're definitely your image of your ideal partner, don't be shy about learning each other's future goals and dreams - and hopes!
So, go out on a limb here and bring up the future! They may be wondering what your interests are, too, and will probably want to discuss their future 'ideas' with you, as well. It can be awkward to approach the future - especially if you've just met - but with the right method you can make the entire experience go smoothly and in a non-threatening way for the both of you.
Try using these methods:
- Mention you love spending time with your nieces & nephews. You love children and want to have some of your own one day
- Talk about your job. Discuss your goals based on where you are. If you aren't happy with your job then discuss where you wish you could be
- If you're in college discuss your career plans. Show your enthusiasm for your chosen profession. If they seem interested maybe throw in your credentials casually so they can see how motivated you are
- If you like to party and want a partner that parties all the time bring up some of your best clubbing stories. If they are into the scene, too, then they'll most likely laugh and throw in some of their own stories
- Talk about travel. Would you ever want to live in another area? If so bring it up - and, better yet, what do they think of this area?
- Depending on whether he or she is monogamous, or polygamous, talk about your "friend" who was crushed when they found out their partner wanted a polygamous relationship. Express your views on the subject in relation to your friend's situation as opposed to asking your partner his or her views specifically