1. You have tough conversations. You talk about your baggage. You talk about your exes. You talk about religion and politics and everything else you were warned to keep to yourself. In a healthy relationship, there are no secrets between the two of you. You are open books. You spill your hearts out.
2. You admit your faults. You do not let arguments get out of hand. When you are angry with each other, you have calm adult conversations about what is bothering you — and you do not blame the other person for everything that went wrong. You admit to your mistakes. You give genuine apologies. And you promise to do better in the future.
3. You see each other at your worst. Even though it’s scary, you give your person access to every single side of you. You let them see you cry. You let them see you when you are sick and sniffly and vomiting. You do not hold anything back from them.
4. You discuss your fears for the future. In a mature relationship, you can talk about anything — including what you are worried is going to happen to your love down the line. You discuss your commitment issues, your abandonment issues, your trust issues. Then you figure out the best way to move forward together to make your love last for as long as possible.
5. You have bad sex. Sometimes, you experiment. Sometimes, you say something embarrassing when you dirty talk. Sometimes, you try to look sexy and end up looking awkward instead. You feel comfortable trying new things together, even if they don’t always work out as planned.
6. You trust them completely. After everything you have been through in the past, trusting someone might make you uncomfortable, but you do it anyway. You let them go out with their friends. You let them have fun without you. And you trust that they are not hurting you in the process.
7. You merge families. Even though you come from different upbringings, you make sure your parents meet each other. You make sure two families become one. There will be awkward moments, but at least you will all be together.
8. You spend time apart. You do not have to be by their side constantly. You have your own friends and careers and lives. Even though you are teammates, you have both kept your independence. You know it’s healthier to spend some time apart than to spend every waking moment together.
9. You give them your entire heart. It’s scary, but you give them every little piece of yourself. You let them see the real you. With all the information they have about you, they would easily be able to hurt you — but you have faith they would never do such a thing.
10. You grow older together. You are going to get wrinkles. You are going to gain weight. You are going to stop looking the way you used to when you first met. You are going to grow old together, which is an uncomfortable feeling, but you will still love each other more than anything.