We’re so programmed to think “the end” is just around the corner, we may not appreciate what we’ve really got. How ’bout some signs your relationship rules?
There is nothing more confusing, more taxing, and trickier in this world than love. Yet, we still chase after it, day after day. Why do we do this? Because when we’re in that perfect relationship, everything suddenly becomes a little bit brighter. Even the most boring things, like cleaning the house or going to the supermarket, become just another day in paradise with the right person.
The Internet is chock full of articles that tell you your relationship is all wrong. Where are the ones that tell you what makes up a happy relationship? If you’ve been in a relationship for a few months, maybe even years, and you’re still waiting for that moment when it all goes kaput, maybe it’s time to rethink your situation. Maybe, just maybe, you’ve found the one.
So how can you tell if it’s the real thing? Here are five telltale signs:
You Can Spend Time Apart Comfortably
It might seem like some couples are held together with super glue—they never seem to leave each other’s side. Believe it or not, everyone needs some “me” time. The right partner for you will recognize this fact, and know when it’s time to give you your space.
Maybe you love video games, and they love reading. Maybe you like being outside, and they like surfing the web.
“When individuals have their own friends, their own set of interests, when they are able to define themselves not by their spouse or relationship, that makes them happier and less bored,” says Dr. Terri Orbuch, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. Her study found that space is more important for a couple’s relationship than their sex life.
You Maintain Self-Identity
It’s hard to resist the urge to merge with your partner’s personality when you first enter a relationship; but as time goes on, you might start to realize you’ve become out of touch with yourself. As a couple, you might have sacrificed too many of your personal needs to make each other happy.
In order for your relationship to be at its best, you should celebrate yourself and encourage your partner to do the same. It might be a cliché, but the saying holds true: you need to love yourself before you love anyone else.
You Fight… Productively
If you’re not fighting, you’re doing it wrong. Seriously! Fighting is a natural part of every relationship. It’s going to happen eventually, because let’s face it, you won’t always agree on everything with your partner.
Fighting is a large part of strong relationships, according to Dr. John M. Gottman of the Gottman Institute. But that doesn’t mean you have permission to lash out whenever you want. Fighting productively is the key to healthy relationships
According to Gottman, there are three different ways of fighting:
1. Getting it all out and going back to being comfortable. This involves sitting down and talking it out with compromise as the ultimate goal.
2. One or both partners want their side to be heard immediately and demand that the other agree with them
3. One or both partners have no interest in dealing with their problems
As you can tell, the first option is always the best path to take. Productive fighting may not be as peaceful as sitting down and having a quiet talk—it can involve tantrums and yelling. But what makes it different from the other options is both partners want to end in a compromise. When partners fight like this, there’s a near-guarantee it will end with both sides feeling stronger and more intense love, rather than bitterness or hatred.
It’s the basic building block of any amazing relationship. When two people trust each other, they’re able to let go of so many feelings that undermine relationships, such as jealousy and anxiety.
Forbes lists three core domains that build trust: competence, sincerity, and reliability. Does your partner possess the knowledge and resources to do certain things? Will your partner do what’s right, even if there’s nothing in it for them? Can you count on your partner to keep promises and plans?
All three of these areas must remain fortified if a relationship has a solid trust foundation.
You Better Each Other
There are just some things your partner does that are awesome. Maybe it’s writing, running, eating healthy, pursuing academic interests, or something else that can inspire you. This inspiration is the source for bettering your relationship. Each partner is impressed by the others’ talents and goals, and they use this as a basis for bettering their own individual lives.
Knowing someone else believes in you is an empowering feeling. It’s that extra boost to make you believe in yourself a little bit more. Get on out there and prove yourself to your partner!