Relationships are a journey that can get very tricky and even hard to navigate. We give our all and expect to be paid in the same amount but what is it that shows that we are getting the real deal? How can one know that they are in the kind of relationship that could lead to permanent commitment?
Signs that you are in a good relationship
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.
Good relationships can also turn into ugly relationships. When you start it is all glitters but as you get to know each other more, things start becoming clear. Bad relationships also have signs. Do not get sucked in till you become numb to the obvious.
Signs of a bad relationship
1. You feel the need to change who you are to make your partner happy.
We all change a bit when we’re exposed to a new partner and their individual tastes — you binge-watch an entire season of “House of Cards” because your boyfriend loves it or attempt to go vegetarian for a few months because your girlfriend has been one for years (keyword: attempt). It only becomes a real issue when you feel the need to change who you are at your core to satisfy your partner, says licensed marriage and family therapist Virginia Gilbert.
2. You have to defend your significant other to family and friends.
Not everyone is going to like your boyfriend or girlfriend as much as you do. But it should worry you if there’s a general consensus among family and friends that your new love is entirely wrong for you, says M. Gary Neuman, a licensed psychotherapist and author of The Truth About Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do to Prevent It.
3. Nitpicking and criticism — even if said in jest — are constants in the relationship.
He finds your hourly texts really overbearing — and tells you so repeatedly. She jokingly compares her Ivy League education to the one you received at a state school, but always in a dismissive tone. If your partner’s overly critical eye is starting to affect your self-esteem, it’s time to speak up or jump ship, says relationship expert Tina Swithin.
Now there are those relationships that go through the good, the bad and the ugly and the two people still emerge stronger than ever before. This is the kind of stuff marriage is made of. So are the two of you headed for aisle and how do you tell?
You talk about a specific future that involves each other.
Sure, you two have mentioned that you both want kids, one of the things you must know about each other before you get engaged, but have you gone into more detail? When your boyfriend says to you, “I’d like to have kids a few years after you finish your master’s,” he’s talking about a future with you, and not just some great beyond where he has a theoretical wife with whom he can make babies.
You speak in “when”s, not “if”s.
If your guy starts sentences with, “When we get married,” he’s made up his mind: He wants you to be his wife. You may not get engaged the next day, or even the next year, but if your relationship stays on its current trajectory after a statement like that, your marriage will have that man in it.
It’s not weird to talk about your one-day wedding.
Similarly, when marriage is a foregone conclusion, you don’t feel funny letting him know that you read Save the Date every day or that you must have peonies at your wedding. It’s a very good sign if he’s talking about your wedding, too, but don’t worry if he’s not–as long as he’s happy to hear you chat about it, you’re in good shape.