There is no secret that we all want to get our own happily ever after. We dream of the perfect wedding, the perfect proposal and the perfect partner. Someone to walk down the aisle with, go to sleep next to every night, and someone to share all of your hopes, dreams and fears. But in the quest for love, we may find ourselves at a crossroads of what we want our relationship to be and what it actually is. Every couple has their challenges so how do you know if your problems are normal? I’m certainly not an expert, but I’ve observed a pattern of what works well in relationships and what can be a red flag.
1. It’s easy
No one is promising that it will be easy all the time, but being in a relationship shouldn’t feel like a chore. You should look forward to spending time together and go out of your way to make that happen. If you find yourself ignoring calls & messages, making plans without your partner or feeling relived when things get cancelled- it’s probably a flag that something isn’t right here. (On a related note: totally okay to answer the phone and say “hey I’m watching TV, folding laundry, or just having ME time. Catch ya later” – more on that next week)
2. You still get giddy
One common problem in long term relationships is that you find yourself a victim of sheer boredom. I used to think that this was normal but I can say confidently that after 12 years with Sahir– this isn’t the case. You can feel bored with your work, your routine, or your responsibilities but your partner should continue to challenge, excite, and entertain you.
3. You entertain each other’s interests
Before we met, Sahir wouldn’t have been caught dead at a musical and I would have sold my first born before being dragged to a wrestling match. But after some doe-eyed convincing and multiple chocolate chip cookies, we have been able to experience so many amazing things together. Currently we are on a crazy wait list for Hamilton tickets and are attending a Lucha Libre wresting match when we are in Mexico City this week. Even if it’s awful, at least we did it together (pound fists here).
4. You make sacrifices
In my circle of friends, we’ve been playing around with the question “If you and your partner were traveling on a flight and you got upgraded to first class, would you take the seat if it meant being separated?” – I’ll let you think about it for a second. If your immediate answer is “hell yes!” then my follow up question is what if you were with you best friend- is the answer the same? If it isn’t, it might be a red flag.
Of course there are a million ways to break this question up (I encourage you to bring it up with your friends or coworkers- the answers are hilarious). Common follow up questions include: “Domestic or International?” or “How long is the flight?” It’s great to start a conversation and make people put down their phones at dinner.
Related Post: What Are The 5 Love Languages? Why Is Everyone Obsessed With Them?
5. You want the same things
I’m a big fan of being transparent at the forefront with what you want to get out of a relationship. Are you looking for something casual? Are you looking to get married soon? For relationships to succeed you have to know what you are getting into and if the lines are fuzzy or one person isn’t getting what they thought they signed up for, it can cause major stress and turmoil. It’s totally okay to date casually or even non-exclusively but make sure your partner isn’t picking out china patterns for your registry.
6. You value each other’s input
I hear so often that the notion of asking for permission is what makes people hate being “tied down”. Having to ask before making a large purchase, booking a flight or even going out with friends can cause someone to feel trapped and like they aren’t independent anymore. Sahir and I certainly check in with each other before doing any of these things- not because we necessarily have to, but because we feel like no one knows me better than my partner and they will be able to give helpful insight. Before I make a large purchase maybe Sahir will be completely behind it and encourage me to do so therefore removing the potential of buyer’s remorse or he might suggest that I wait it out and see if I still want it a week from now and put a price alert on to see if it goes on sale. The key is to feel supported with whatever you end up deciding, but to value the input of your partner because you want to- not because you have to.
7. You trust each other
Fidelity aside, there are so many other situations where you need to feel like you trust your partner. Although if you don’t trust them to not cheat on you- get out… NOW. You should trust that your partner will put you first. If you are in a new relationship, long term couple, headed to the alter, or even married for a while there are so many times in life where people will challenge each of you either individually or as a pair. You have to feel confident that you and your partner will put each other first and get through things as a team.
8. You hear each other
We’ve all dozed off on the phone with our partners, unless you were born after 1994 which in that case- I guess you feel asleep whilst texting? When I talk about listening to each other it’s less about that and more about listening to each other to build an intuition. I can honestly say Sahir knows me better than myself and he is aware of my verbal and nonverbal cues that indicate what excites me, angers me, or worries me. There is a difference between listening and actually hearing to what your partner needs.
There are so many beautiful things about being in a happy relationship. I hope this post either made you smile and pull out your phone to text your bae OR made you take a step back and think about what you really want. Either way, a healthy relationship means that you are happy, confident and are putting forth the best version of yourself. Always choose someone who makes you better – whether it’s your friends or your partner.