Originally posted on Bustle
Even if you’re in a long-term relationship, it’s totally normal to occasionally worry about the future. Especially as friends and family around you starts to get married and settle down, you may start to wonder if you’re in it for the long haul.
Because dating with someone for a long time can be a BFD — it can change who you are as a person. “Long-term relationships will change you — either for better or for worse,” Jianny Adamo, Counselor and Certified Relationship Coach at Fearless Love, tells Bustle. “Love has the power to transform us, so hopefully we have chosen well and picked a partner that can grow with us. [Their] friends and family become our friends and family and vice versa. Their debts or assets will either take or give to our relationship. Their ability to support, listen [to], and cherish us will be wind in our sail, but if they tend to criticize, invalidate and can’t hear you, this will take from you.” It’s huge. And there’s a big difference between being with someone for a few years or for, well, forever.
But how can you know if your built for the long haul? Well, it’s time to be really honest about your relationship. Life is unpredictable, but here are the signs that you’ve got a strong relationship foundation for the future.
1. Your Partnership Is Equal
It’s so important you feel like you’re an equal part of the relationship. “You should also look for someone who cares about you at least as much as they care about themselves,” psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. “That your happiness is their happiness, and that they love you, and will take care of your needs as they arise and never complain about it.”They just do it out of love. Kindness, surprise, selflessness, are all good qualities.” If it’s a one-sided relationship it won’t last — and it shouldn’t.
3. You Factor Each Other Into Your Futures
A good sign that you’re in it for the long haul is that you’re thinking about a future together. Even if you’re not planning it out year by year, somewhere they’re in your head. “If you’re intentionally — or even subconsciously — not wanting your partner to participate in your plans, it may be time for you both to move on,” Hershenson says.
4. There Are Small Signs That They’re Thinking Of You
It’s not all about big romantic gestures. “You need to look for the random acts of consideration and kindness,” Martinez says. “These are the things that will last you. For example, my toilet paper and paper towels have been magically refilled since a month into dating my husband.” It’s the day-to-day things that matter in the long run.
5. You’ve Fought
… and made it out the other side. “The one thing you should look for in a relationship is good conflict resolution skills,” Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills child, parenting, and relationship psychotherapist tells Bustle. “People are generally great at communicating the warm and fuzzy stuff. But when it comes to working out the kinks and differences of opinion that lead to unpleasant fighting, most folks gets stuck.”
If you ‘never’ fight, it’s time to assess whether you’re really being honest with each other. Learn how to disagree honestly and constructively and move past it.
6. You Can Talk About ANYTHING
If you’re going to be together a long time, you need to get it all out in the open. Talking about difficult topics — sex, money, and politics — is tough but it’s so important to be comfortable talking about uncomfortable things. “Compassion and an open mind is important,” Janna Koretz, Psy.D., licensed psychologist and Azimuth Psychological founder, tells Bustle.
7. You Have Your Own Life
As long as you have your core values in sync, you should have a strong life outside of your partner. “Compatibility is one of those things that you need on some level to make it through the long haul,” Matchmaker and dating coach Karenna Alexander tells Bustle. “Having compatibility when it comes to inner qualities — like one’s values — is the most important thing. Hobbies and surface characteristics — like vacation preferences or decor preferences — are less important.” And in fact, they’re a great opportunity to main some independence because a co-dependent relationship just doesn’t have the longevity to last. Separate interests and having time alone are necessary.
8. You Can Be Quiet Together
Over the years, there’s going to be some down time, so it’s important to be OK with silence. “How well do you and your partner do silence?”clinical hypnotherapist, author and educator Rachel Astarte, who offers transformational coaching for individuals and couples at Healing Arts New York, asks Bustle. “In other words, can you both comfortably share downtime without words, without a task to perform… without the need to interact and relate? Even mutual meditation counts as a task. If you and your partner can experience silence together without feeling freaked and worried that something is wrong or — an even bigger red flag — feeling bored, then that’s a good sign you can stand side by side on life’s unpredictable journey.”
9. You Can Compromise
You can’t both get what you want all the time — and compromise is key to success. “The ability to compromise is a crucial component of any relationship,” dating expert Noah Van Hochman tells Bustle. “It may seem as though in a great relationship everything is always perfect, but how many of those relationships do you know of? And more importantly, if everything always went along seamlessly in a relationship, then where would the attraction and growth come from?” If you know how to meet in the middle, it’s a very good sign for your relationship.
Committing to someone for the long haul is difficult, but it can help to know if your relationship has what it takes to go the distance. Be honest with yourself because staying together means having a strong relationship in the first place.