Being in love is perhaps the most amazing feeling you can experience. Those butterflies in the stomach every time he calls, the electricity that shoots through you when you see her smile, that amazing chemistry in bed – all these things fill you up with elation. While there may be a lot of reasons why you might fear taking your relationship to the next level, there are also ways you can tell that you are on the right track.
Besides the basic tenets of a balanced relationship, such as mutual acceptance, trust, and comfort, here are some telltale signs of a healthy relationship:
1. You accept each other’s differences
Both of you understand you are in love and share a lot of similarities, and that there are also times when you are as dissimilar as chalk and cheese. For instance, you may love swimming, but your partner finds it boring and prefers golf, which you loathe. You love spending time with your buddies over drinks, while your partner is a person of few words who would not socialize much even if their life depended on it. However, you are not only aware of these differences, but can actually focus on making the most out of them. So while your partner is out for a game of golf, you make the most of it by making a trip to the pool.
2. You respect each other’s personal space
Another important aspect in any healthy relationship is personal space, which is often not given the importance it is due. Even if the two of you go together like bread and butter, everyone needs some time to themselves. Respecting your partner’s personal space encompasses not reading their private correspondence, even if you know their password, unless they expressly invite you to do so; understanding your partner’s need to be left alone at times, even if your every instinct is screaming for you to keep them company; and not infringing on their personal items, like a study or a drawer, or even a private journal. The presence of implicit trust in a healthy relationship would make the respect of personal space a no-brainer.
3. You have necessary arguments
Every healthy relationship has its fair share of fights, arguments, and disagreements. While many consider them to be classic signs of a healthy relationship, the reality is anything but. They are only expressions of personal opinions and independence, which are important traits in any self-respecting individual. More often than not, fights between couples are often not about “winning,” but are stemmed from the need to get a simple point across and be understood. If you understand this simple rule, you are able to respect your partner’s preferences, even if you don’t necessarily feel the same way. If you observe that you argue aggressively but are able to find some common ground and compromise at the same time, this relationship is likely to last!
4. You are approved by family and friends
This is perhaps the easiest way to know if you are in a healthy relationship. Call it the litmus test, if you will. If your friends and family like your prospective partner, it does mean a lot. These are the people who have known you the longest and will always want the best for you. Moreover, while you may be blind to your sweetheart’s shortcomings, your family and friends are the ones who can view your partner objectively from an outsider’s perspective. However, do not assume that everyone will be highly enthusiastic about the new person in your life. Also, keep in mind that if too many people are pointing out the negatives in your relationship, then it may be time for you to think it over too.
5. You have your own friends
Cultivating friendships and keeping in touch with your friends are always important, whether you are in a relationship or not. This is all the more vital when you have to juggle three sets of friends – yours, your partner’s, and your common set of couple friends. Maintaining space between these groups not only helps maintain a much-needed balance in your personal social lives, but also allows you to spend time doing things with other people. At the same time, your couple friends are important to keep for you to enjoy doing couple things together, which again is necessary for a healthy relationship!
6. You are each other’s “better” halves
A relationship is a bubbling cauldron where two individuals come together from different backgrounds and environments to build something new and beautiful. And the thing is, nobody is perfect. So if being in a relationship helps you become better as a person, then there’s nothing better than that. You just have to be open to change and have the will to change – for the better.
7. Your future looks promising
When you’re in a healthy relationship, you actually look forward to the future with your partner. You even dream about it and make long-term plans to accommodate for both sets of hopes and aspirations. Depending on the age group, there are plenty of people who are just not ready to commit. But if you are thinking long term, the last thing you would want is to spend time and emotional energy on someone who is commitment-phobic. On the other hand, those who are in it for the long run will make sure that their partners are comfortable. In fact, you will naturally be discussing your future together with an underlined passion – settling down, getting that dream job, the wedding, the honeymoon, and even kids! Partners who regularly discuss their future together are sure to share a very healthy relationship than those who shirk away every time the topic comes up.
8. You have common financial goals
Finances are difficult to handle, and have far-reaching consequences. Deal with them well, and they will prove to provide a steady bedrock and sense of security for life. But handled badly and they are known to ruin relationships beyond repair, even leaving scars that take years to heal. If you create your budgets together, work together on long- and short-term financial goals, and basically keep your money matters in order, it looks like you are both in it for keeps!
9. You are secret keepers and sounding boards for each other
One very important aspect of a relationship is trust. There are a lot of intimate and private details that you may only share with your significant other, which in itself forms a very crucial foundation for your bond. Are you able to trust them with that deep, dark secret of your earlier life? Are they diligently taking the effort to protect your privacy about past incidents that you are not proud of? While this may seem to be trivial right now, it certainly plays a major role in a healthy relationship as time passes.
10. You make an amazing team
Have you ever gone kayaking or scuba diving with your partner? Ever tried your hand at painting together? Or have you ever gone on a grocery shopping trip and then made dinner together? Are you both ready to take the plunge together at both exciting and mundane activities? Partner sports, for example, require a good amount of teamwork. If you make a good team, you are sure to enjoy each other’s company. Even menial tasks like grocery shopping, cleaning the attic, or preparing dinner can become exciting and interesting when you are in loving company.
11. You remain VERY attracted to your partner – mind, body, and soul
Lust usually emerges as the first sign of attraction in most relationships, but it is when things start moving beyond physical attraction when you arrive at the real deal. Are you able to have long, interesting conversations about almost anything under the sun? Do you admire their spirit? Can you see that going on even when you have both grown old? Would you love to be with this person even in the last, greying years of life? If the answer to all these questions is a big thumping ‘yes,’ then it is time for the wedding bells!
While these are crucial signs of a healthy relationship, what matters most is the feeling and bond that you share with each other. If your relationship lacks some of these strong pillars, there is no need to despair – you can work on building them up with time. After all, there are many things that only you two as individuals can think about and decide. All the best!