As women, I’m convinced that we overanalyze and overthink our relationships so much that we inevitably convince ourselves that our partners don’t love us to the extent that they truly do. I came to this conclusion fairly recently, but the makings of this topic came to mind about a year ago when my partner and I visited his parents in Chicago for the holidays.
In short, it ended terribly, and I discovered that his mother loathes me. In all honesty, I’ve never experienced the kind of hate that she showed me during our time there; she even went so low as to call me temporary.
I immediately packed my things and called an uber, despite my boyfriend’s pleas to stay. Our plane was leaving the following morning, but I had to get out of there; I was not going to stay another moment in a household that was so cruel and insulting.
I cried in the Uber ride to the airport and spilled my guts to my driver, an incredibly kind woman who experienced a similar situation. My boyfriend stayed at his parents’ house for over an hour, trying to ‘resolve’ things and figure out why his mother acted the way she did. I was convinced I wouldn’t see him again — if his mother felt that way towards me, surely he did too, no?
To my disbelief, he showed up at the airport with his luggage and tears streaming down his face. He told me he had never been that scared before to lose someone, and we spent the night at the cold airport drifting in and out of sleep until it was time to board.
This was one moment amongst many others where I truly saw how serious my partner was about me. And with that being said, here are a few more.
1. They prioritize you and your relationship above all else
I’m not saying your partner should constantly bend backward for you and forget about themselves or friends in the process, but when you enter a relationship, your relationship tends to go up on the list of priorities.
Prior to us dating, my partner was a major workaholic and went out with his friends only on the weekends. He didn’t work 24/7 because he had to; he did it because he enjoys his work. There’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, I love this quality about him. However, working crazy hours all the time can definitely take a toll on your relationship.
If you’re constantly neglecting your partner and putting other things above them, they’re going to notice. Feeling unimportant can cause feelings of resentment, which will inevitably lead to arguing and other issues.
Try putting yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if your partner never made time for you? If they made you feel like their work is significantly higher on their list of priorities while spending quality time with you always falls on the bottom of the list?
When you enter a relationship, it should ultimately feel like a partnership. You’re both investing yourselves into it; you’re both giving and making an equal effort. When things start to get off balance or uneven, problems are going to trickle in.
2. They constantly encourage you and support you
Your family should support you, your friends should support you, and above all else, your partner should support you.
I’m not talking financially; I’m talking mentally and emotionally. You’re spending the biggest bulk of your time with this one individual, and if they’re not willing to be there for you, encourage your endeavors and make you feel supported, is it even worth it?
I didn’t have that many relationships before my current partner. Still, I can confidently say that I’ve never felt or experienced the level of support that he gives me within any type of relationship I’ve had. He makes me feel like I could become an astronaut if I wanted to, or a rockstar despite my lack of ability to sing.
That is how your partner should make you feel. They should make you feel like you’re capable of anything in life, and even if you fall flat on your face, they’re still going to be rooting for you.
3. They communicate their intentions
Have you been dating someone for months (or years) and have no idea where you’re headed?
Your relationship isn’t bad; it’s not exactly phenomenal either. You feel like things are simply average. No highs, no lows. You’re kind of frustrated, if we’re being honest, and you don’t know how to approach the situation.
I’ve been there. I’ve never really been the type to date just for fun, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, and I did my fair share when I was younger, but when I entered my 20s, I realized I wanted something different.
I wanted to date someone and get married. I craved stability and security, and I wanted to know that the person I was investing in had the same goal as I did. This is why my partner and I had ‘the talk’ early on in our relationship, and even after two years of dating, my partner always makes his intentions clear.
I believe that’s what helps keep our relationship strong and healthy, we’re always on the same page, and we always keep each other up-to-date on our feelings and intentions. We know what our goals are as individuals, and we know what our goals are as a couple, and as we come together, we’re able to achieve those things together as one.
4. They don’t ever bypass you or your opinion
Psychologist Carl Nassar says, “When we feel understood, we show others our true selves — flaws and all. In turn, they are more likely to be vulnerable and honest with us. This helps us connect on a deeper level, improving the quality of our relationships.”
Being understood is highly undervalued; there’s no better feeling than sitting with someone and spilling your deepest secrets and darkest thoughts and having them look you in the eye and tell you they understand how you feel with zero judgment.
You’re not always going to be understood by everyone. People won’t always value or listen to your opinion, but when you find someone who does — when you find someone who relishes in listening to your thoughts or someone who you feel like you could sit and talk with for hours on end on any topic — that’s really powerful.
When your partner shows you that they’re fully invested in what you say, and they don’t ever bypass your opinions, it shows that they value your thoughts. In our current society, that’s not an easy thing to come by because the majority of people only care about their own thoughts and opinions.
Stephen R. Covey says, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
5. You become a part of their everyday life
There are relationships that you have in which you feel fairly independent — like when you had that boyfriend when you were 16, and you felt like you guys did everything together, like eating lunch every day and hanging out at Starbucks on weekends, but at the end of the day, you were doing your own thing.
Then you’re 20, and your partner texts you saying he’s hanging out with his buddies if you want to swing by — “feel free”. You’re not obligated—you don’t even feel the need to see them or vise versa.
Then there are relationships that run a whole lot deeper than that. You’ve surpassed the honeymoon phase; you’re through with the silly little arguments, you don’t wait hours for them to respond, you’re now best friends. Partners. They come to you when things are rough, and they’re your go-to person when you feel sad or frustrated.
You go grocery shopping together, you buy toilet paper and toothpaste and complain about how prices have gone up, you talk about life and the future and what you see the two of you doing in the grand scheme of things.
You’ve now become part of their everyday life, and the foundation that you’ve built is powerful. You’re doing life together, you’re growing and evolving and learning, and more importantly, loving and choosing one another daily.
From personal experience, it took me a bit of time to truly believe the depth of my partners’ love. It can be difficult, especially if you’ve been hurt in the past, but it’s high time you stop overanalyzing every little detail and constantly wondering if your partner truly feels the same way about you.
Look out for these signs, and maybe identify a few of your own. Everybody shows love in a different way.