I’ve had some of the best relationships, but I’ve also had a few where the best thing I could say is that they were learning experiences.
Here’s what I’ve learned. I’ve identified twenty healthy behaviors that show you are doing what it takes to give yourself the best chance of having a long-lasting, loving relationship with your person.
If the following describes you, you’re doing your part to make a thing go right. It takes two, however, to make it out of sight. Not only should you let these suggestions lead your approach to your relationship, but your s.o. should, too.
1. You bring to the table everything you want in a partner.
Whether it’s education, healthy living, or ambition, if there’s a trait you feel is important in your partner, be sure you’re your own great example. What are you doing to work on being the ideal partner for someone like you?
2. You argue about which one of you is the luckiest.
I am! No, I am! It’s more than just playing the humble lover. There’s some truth to that every relationship is made up of one settler and one reacher, but if you disagree and each honestly think you’re the reacher and the other is the settler, you are able to see the best in each other.
3. You always love the idea of sex.
That isn’t to say you are always in the mood to be physically intimate or that you will do what your partner wants at any time, but you always look forward to the next chance you have to hook up. And when you do, it’s a-ma-zing.
4. You talk excitedly about your goals and listen to your partner’s goals.
You have your own wishes and dreams, and you have desires together as a couple. You may not have identical goals, but they are compatible. You even give your partner the chance to change goals and paths. When you pay attention, you can support your partner as they move towards their goal and travel forward together.
5. You can handle time apart.
When you’re comfortable not being attached at the hip, when you know your partner can be away from you without making you nervous or jealous, you show that you are self-confident. Time apart is an essential piece of a healthy relationship, and if you can allow this to happen without the need to check up every five minutes, you’re in good shape.
6. Your friends and family like you together.
The people outside of your relationship who know you the best have great insight into what kind of partner you need. As long as they’re not clouded by their own issues like jealousy, you can trust your friends and family, especially if their opinions ring true. But haters gonna hate, sometimes, so you always do what’s best for you.
7. You show patience and kindness with your s.o.
You can’t control your partner’s behavior or emotions, so when a situation doesn’t go the way you’d like, you react with understanding and love. Mistakes happen, so patience and kindness allows your partner to be comfortable when communicating, and you don’t force them to be defensive.
8. You have matching sets of baggage.
It’s too much to expect that your partner doesn’t have a past. We all have baggage, issues that we have to deal with. Your partner’s baggage should go with yours, but that doesn’t mean you have to have identical history.
9. You’re not waiting for something that would improve the relationship.
The struggle is real. If you’re waiting until your partner gets a job with the hope that will fix all your problems, you could be putting too much faith in the future. If you’re making it work regardless of money, addiction, or bad behavior today, you’ll be that much stronger when things get better, but if you’re having difficulty now, things might not improve if the situation itself ever improves.
10. You don’t keep score or count relationship points.
You know your relationship isn’t a game you’re trying to win. Your partner doesn’t owe you favors when you do what you feel is a favor for them. You’re not trying to prove you love your partner more than they love you.
11. You don’t make your partner feel they’re not good enough.
Emotional manipulation is the quickest way to a toxic relationship. You don’t make yourself feel better by knocking your partner down.
12. You don’t try to change your partner.
You may feel you’d like your significant other to be just a little bit more understanding, more attentive, more ambitious. And you support your partner when they try, but you don’t try to force them into being something that you feel is the ideal lover.
13. You don’t get jealous when other people flirt with your partner.
You are self-confident, so you don’t need to compete for your lover’s attention when it’s important, and you don’t have to feel threatened. Be thankful others recognize your partner’s attractive qualities, but be satisfied they are choosing you every day.
14. You put away distractions when you’re with your partner.
Not every minute you’re with your partner needs to be fully engaging. You can both sit on the bed reading independently; you can be in separate rooms working. But when you are engaged with each other, you give your partner 100 percent of your attention. Put down the smartphone.
15. You ask about your partner’s day and listen before talking about yours.
You can’t wait to tell your partner about your day. Sometimes you have something you need to share. It’s hard to conceal that excitement, and you don’t have to. But you should balance your enthusiasm for telling your own story with being excited about what your partner has to share.
16. You communicate at a higher level.
When you’re totally in sync, you communicate in ways others can’t even detect. Just a look indicates it’s time to leave the party and move to a more intimate setting. Mind reading is an illusion, but this is how it works.
17. You take your happiness into your own hands.
You’re not waiting for your partner to “make” you happy. Happiness in a relationship is a choice that you make. And if you’re not happy, you know you’re the only one to blame. No one else is responsible for your decision to be happy.
18. You treat your partner like your best friend.
You are supportive, reliable, and you look past your partner’s flaws. You forgive, because you know the relationship is worth maintaining.
19. You imagine life from your partner’s perspective.
Putting yourself in their shoes is the first path towards showing empathy for the person you love. You better understand your partner’s actions and feelings because you practice empathy, and because of this, you can better predict their future behavior. Empathy is a mind-reading superpower.
20. You don’t need to prove to others just how good your relationship is.
When you’re proud of your partner, it’s natural to want to brag and show off. I’m surprised that we don’t see more “my boyfriend is smart, hot, and successful” bumper stickers than we see “my kid is an honor student” stickers. But you don’t seek the approvals of “friends” on social media because you’re self-confident and couple-confident.
Don’t see many things on this list to apply to you? Start to think of this article as a road map — your GPS to a relationship that’s on point, or a daily reminder to bring a new relationship into your life, if it is that you seek.