Relationships are tricky things. Sometimes they are difficult to navigate. Sometimes you’ve been in one too long to realize it’s not right. Sometimes you get so comfortable with unhappiness that you forget what happiness looks like, or don’t feel like you can do better.
But when you’re in the right relationship, everything is different. The sun shines brighter, your smiles are bigger, and even doing mundane chores becomes more enjoyable. It’s good to have clear signs that you’re in the right relationship, and it’s also good to have tasks that you can work on to improve your relationship. Either way, read on for 15 telltale signs it’s the real deal.
1. You spend time together doing things you both enjoy.
It’s great to do what he likes. It’s great to do what she likes. But what’s even better is to find things you both like, and to do them together. It took us nearly four years of marriage to really find things that we both like, but we’re starting to hit a great stride with things like working out together, mountain biking, playing paintball (yep, she loved it!), and even writing together.
2. You spend time apart, doing things you enjoy.
When you’re in the right relationship, your partner understands that there are things you want to do alone. Maybe he’s a gamer, maybe she loves Pinterest. We all need time to do our own things, and the right relationship is one in which both partners understand and appreciate that about each other.
3. You fight productively.
When you’re in the right relationship, fighting is never about winning. It’s not even about getting your point across (though sometimes it takes that ugly turn). A productive fight is about understanding the other person, finding common ground, compromising, and respecting each other throughout the process. If you end a fight feeling like you’ve won, you’re doing it wrong.
4. You each have your own friends and share friends too.
Some of my friends are in relationships where they only have couple friends. Others only have their own sets of friends. When you’re in the right relationship, you find balance between your social circle, your partner’s, and your shared circle. Missing any of those three elements may be a sign of concern.
5. You maintain self-identity.
You celebrate being you. Your partner does the same. And you appreciate each other more for maintaining your self-identity. In the right relationship both partners are nurtured to continuously improve and develop their “self.”
6. Your friends and family like you together.
One of the easiest ways to know if you’re in the right relationship is to pay attention to the feedback you get from friends and family. Assuming your friends and family want what is best for you, a lot of negative feedback is a bad sign. That doesn’t mean everyone will be enthusiastic about your relationship, but the overall sense you get should be positive.