I spend much of my time pointing out where things went wrong with this person’s approach, or that person’s relationship, etc. I thought it might be time to look at what makes a relationship “right”. That is, how do you know you’re in a relationship that can last? Here’s my top 10:
You feel good about yourself and your world.
A good relationship makes you feel great. It should fill in your “gaps” and make you feel whole. It should give you emotional strength and help you to feel that everything is ok and will continue to be. Another good sign is that you’re better able to survive disasters at work, at home, etc. not because you know someone will be there to solve them, but because you know that YOU can.
You look forward to spending time together.
Far too many couples stay together out of habit. They don’t really look forward to being together and try to find ways to avoid it. For example, they always try to include other friends, go to an event so that they’ll have something to do, etc. [Read: Facts to Consider Before Moving in With Boyfriend or Girlfriend]. Another sign is fear of the “conversation lag” where nobody has anything to say. If your relationship is “right”, you’ll enjoy spending quality time together – even when it’s quiet.
You respect your partner, and “talk him or her up”.
Is there anyone that agrees with everything someone else says or thinks? (I can tell you – nobody agrees with everything I say!) There’s no reason you have to agree with everything your partner says or thinks either. However, you should RESPECT them for it – right or wrong.
Further, when you respect someone – really respect them – you find yourself “talking them up” to people. You say things like, “You know, my girlfriend said something that I don’t agree with, but it really made me think” or “My husband really knows about wood working – you should ask him about it.”
What this really shows is your focus – if you find you’re always talking about yourself, you’re not focused on your partner – or the relationship.
You are really interested in what he or she thinks.
Along with respect, you’ll find that you are interested in your partner’s thoughts on different things – and you ask. You might have heard the President of your company say something and you ask your wife to get her take on it. Or, you may have come up with an idea that you want your boyfriend to think about – and you’re not afraid of getting shot down.
You are aware of, but ignore their quirks.
Everyone (even YOU bunky!) has his or her little quirks. Your partner’s quirks might even appear cute to you, or at least harmless. If they’re getting to you, you should look more closely at your relationship in general.
Problems don’t make you think about breaking up.
All relationships have problems. It’s natural and healthy. However, if every time you fight you feel ready to break up, you should re-think your relationship. People that have good, solid relationships see disagreements as a chance to learn more about their lover, and to get closer. Thus, they don’t fear them, but they don’t create them either!
You aren’t scared about losing him or her.
Once you start investing your feelings in a relationship you risk being hurt. This isn’t my rule – it’s just the way it is. However, if you dwell on the possibility of being hurt, you can’t really enjoy the relationship. Further, you shouldn’t be concerned that your lover isn’t happy. If the relationship is secure – you’ll know it.
You’re together “just because”.
Many people start dating and then coordinate their lives such that they have to be together – either for finances, kids, family, work, the dog, etc. Is there something keeping your relationship together? If you’re together just because you both want to be, you’ve got a good reason to stay together! If you’re together because you have to be, you’ll likely to start having problems.
You appreciate other attractive people, but aren’t interested in them
There is someone more attractive than your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife. I don’t care whom you’re with! If your relationship is good, you still like the way other people look, but don’t find it necessary to compare them to your partner. After all …
You are in love.
If you don’t know that you’re in love, you’re not. Love is very difficult to explain, but one of the best explanation I’ve seen is this:
“Love is when you are more concerned with the well being, safety and happiness of someone else than your own.”