You win some and you lose some, but each relationship teaches you something. Some relationships are meant to be short, just to be enjoyed and maybe teach you something about yourself, while some are meant to stick with you and shape your life in some way. Here’s how to tell which way it’s going to go.
You Don’t Avoid Arguing
It’s actually healthy to argue. Arguments lead to growth and can bring people closer together. An argument is an opportunity to shed light on an issue, to be heard, and to listen.
Avoiding arguments can lead to bottling up your feelings and to passive-agressive behavior as more and more issues never get solved.
You Practice Forgiveness
A successful relationship is one where you both know how to move on and let go. If you can’t truly forgive each other, and you take ages to reunite after a disagreement, you’ll never truly get past your issues, and they will simply pile up instead. This is what leads to trust issues and resentment.
You Share Differences Of Opinions
It’s great to have lots in common with your partner, but a relationship where you’re constantly in agreement about everything is a boring stagnant one.
You need to be able to teach each other, bring different perspectives, talents, and strengths to the relationship. You need to be able to appreciate what the other person has to offer.
What’s The Force That’s Holding You Together?
You need to know the reasons for even being in that relationship. Are you in it simply because you’re afraid to be alone and attempting to fill a void? Or are you in it for that specific person, because can see them complementing your future?
You Create Healthy Boundaries
There tends to be an expectation to have to spend a lot of time together with a partner and tell them everything. However, each party is entitled to a certain amount of privacy and time alone.
In fact, it’s necessary to have space if you want to maintain a level of independence and autonomy rather than build a toxic codependent or possessive relationship.
Your Goals And Ambitions Align
You can’t enter a relationship hoping that someone will eventually make the changes that align them with your goals, that one day they’ll save up or get a passport.
This will only deter and postpone your own goals until you find yourself running out of time and resenting them for it.
You Can Be Your Worst Self Around Them
If you can be yourself and feel comfortable letting your guard down, no makeup, greasy hair, and crying while watching Titanic with them, the relationship is in good shape. This shows that you don’t feel like you have to put a front for them to stay attracted to you and that you trust them.
Plus, it means that you feel like you can speak up when something’s bugging you, and not just say what you think your partner wants to hear.
They’re The First Person You Want To Share News With
The best way to tell here is if you don’t just want to share your good news with them, but also your bad news.
They should be the first person you want comfort from, and not the person you dread telling the most and might have to hide the news from until you find the best way to share it.
You Never Get Bored Of Them
There’s a difference between being bored together and being bored with each other.
If you look forward to waking up next to them and look forward to seeing them at the end of the day—and you don’t even mind spending the time in between with them doing nothing such as during lockdown—the odds are in favor of the health and longevity of your relationship.
You Fill The Relationship With Adventures
We’re not saying you should be jumping out of a plane every other day in The Bachelor–style dates, but some studies have shown that new experiences have been found to activate the brain’s reward system.
This can as simple as trying new food together. The novelty floods the brain with dopamine and norepinephrine. Those are the hormones you experienced in the early butterfly-filled days and can bring back that excitement at any point in the relationship.
You Control Your Needs, Not The Outcome
Let’s break that down. You can’t control others and their reactions. All you can control is yourself. That means you have to be honest with yourself about what it is that you want and need, and ask for it.
How that is received is out of your control, but what you do about it, whether you accept it, compromise, stay or leave, is once again up to you. Just settling won’t get you very far.
Your Relationship Doesn’t Rule Over Other Aspects In Your Life
You should be able to have a life outside of your relationship. If you’re struggling at work or isolating yourself from friends or giving up hobbies, then it might be time to weigh out why one aspect of your life is impacting the others so much, and if it’s taking more energy than it’s worth.
You Keep The Physical Intimacy Alive
Physical intimacy doesn’t stop at actually sleeping together. Little goodbye kisses, touching hands when watching a movie, and occasional hugs keep you bonded.
It builds the necessary tension and it releases hormones such as oxytocin that make you feel connected.
You Actually “Show Up” For One Another
If you watched Clare’s season of The Bachelorette, you understand the importance of having a partner “show up.” That means they actually hold to their word, they’re reliable. They call when they say they will, they commit to plans, they do what you ask of them.
Not only does it reflect on the relationship, but it also reflects on them. It shows that they’re in the right frame of mind for a healthy relationship.
You Celebrate Each Other’s Accomplishments
Many unsuccessful relationships are a result of a couple getting too competitive with each other or having to one-up one another all the time—either to prove something to their partner or to themselves.
A healthy relationship is one where both partners are genuinely happy when one succeeds. Plus, their accomplishments benefit the both of you in advancing your futures together, so there’s no need for excess competitiveness.
You Laugh Together Often
We include some teasing in good fun in this, but the key is to be laughing together not at each other’s expense.
Life is hard enough, and relationships are serious enough. You need to be able to laugh at the little things together if you’re going to withstand the hardships and keep your bond strong.
You Don’t Overlook The Red Flags
The root of every toxic relationship can often be linked to having gotten a glimpse of what could go wrong early and having ignored it or justified it in hopes that things would change.
Red flags don’t necessarily mean that person is bad, just that they won’t be the right match. The earlier you make that realization, the more heartache you save down the line.
You See A Future Together
The difference is knowing how a person will fit into your future and not just hoping they will. You don’t have to have every milestone planned, and it’s okay to want to just be in something for satisfaction at the moment.
However, for a lasting relationship, you need to be in agreement over key issues from the beginning, such as whether you’ll have kids, where you’ll live, which side you’ll spend Christmas with, etc., so that you can work peacefully towards that future.
You Both Share Vulnerability
The fear of vulnerability is a self-sabotaging trait. It prevents you from being completely engaged in a relationship and creates an unbalanced power dynamic, where one person feels more hold over the other because of how much they’ve opened up to them.
Yet, vulnerability is the secret to a strong connection.
You Still Like Them When You’re Angry
It’s hard to think straight when you’re angry. Your blood boils, and you feel overwhelmed with emotion rather than logic. However, the strength of your relationship is in whether you can still look at your partner at that moment and feel drawn and loving towards them.
This is what will drive you to want to get past the argument together and bring you back down before it escalates.