I was watching an old dating show today that was almost like “The Dating Game,” where someone would choose a contestant based on their credentials (for lack of a better term), and then narrow down one person of the three to go on a date with.
More than once, the people decided to not even go on a date because the contestants were so different from each other on paper.
While some personality differences are beneficial to relationships, I sometimes wonder to myself how many unhappy relationships wouldn’t have began in the first place if people were a little more discerning about who they end up with.
But rather than taking a negative approach to the discussion, I wanted to lay out five points that show you’re headed in the right direction:
1. You fully support each other.
Whether or not you share each others’ passions or life ambitions, when you truly care about someone, you want to see them succeed and be happy in whatever they love. This means standing beside them, not in their way, when they dedicate effort towards pursuing a goal.
2. You deeply respect each other.
This one needs no explanation: mutual respect between partners in a relationship is paramount to its success. Honesty, trust, friendship, and intimacy all grow from this foundation. Without respect, there’s nothing else.
3. You’re willing to compromise for each other.
While you should obviously be compatible with your teammate, that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically love every single thing they love, and vice versa. If you truly care for someone and their happiness, you’ll be willing to watch, do, see, and experience things they enjoy, as they would do for you in return.
Without compromise, we can easily find our relationships resembling a see-saw with a huge boulder on one side — the distribution never shifts. In this case, the boulder represents the wants and needs of one partner. There should be an equal amount of balance in order to keep you both happy and satisfied.
4. You’re similarly ambitious.
We can’t expect our significant other to have an identical plan for their future as we do (see: compromise and mutual support), but it’s reasonable to desire similarities when building a life with someone.
Like any team, as a relationship is, the results are best when the members are working towards a common goal together. This goal could even be something so simple as self-improvement. If one teammate is dedicating their life to personal growth, and the other is content with how things are and never displays a desire for change, this can easily create resentment and tension over time.
5. You trust each other with anything.
I’m not sure why this one is so difficult to grasp, but if your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to go out with their friends they haven’t seen in awhile, what’s the harm?
A solid relationship won’t be shaken by this simple act, and you’ll know they’ll be back in your arms at the end of the night or the next day. Nothing to see here, kids — move along.
If your partner doesn’t trust you and you’ve given them no reason to feel this way, it’s possible they’re projecting their own infidelities or insecurities onto you. In the “ultimate” relationship, both partners have earned each others’ trust and would never do anything to betray it.
6. You never judge each other.
Happiness in a relationship comes from two teammates who are able to be open and honest with each other. That honesty comes from being comfortable to open up and know you won’t be judged.
When you’re sharing your life with someone, there’s no room for discomfort, secrets, or lies. Especially secrets or lies that are forced by the inability to be genuine with your teammate.
The right person for you will support and encourage you on your journey to becoming the person you want to be, but they’ll also love you as the person you already are.
7. You communicate effectively.
It’s natural to face conflicts when you spend a lot of time with any person, but people in a healthy relationship will resolve any issues by discussing opinions and stances in order to understand each other better, and reach a solution they both agree on. Frequent nasty, vindictive fights are a sign to re-evaluate your “relationship.”
8. You never lose sight of the little things.
The small things you do for someone are what count the most. These are the actions that show your partner you’re willing to put in effort for them, just because. No special occasion or holiday required; you don’t need a schedule to show someone you love them.
A happy, healthy relationship will consist of two partners willing to put in equal effort, consistently. Great relationships aren’t about give and take; they’re about give and give.
When these little things start to fade is when the strength of the relationship will start to become more questionable. Do they really appreciate you? Do they still care as much as they once did? Is our relationship becoming stronger over time, or weaker?
Once you start asking yourself these questions, it’s time to address them and find real answers.
Every person who reads this will have a different image of their “ultimate” relationship in their mind. The key thing is to understand that it’s possible to achieve, as long as both teammates are willing to put in the effort to uphold the integrity of the wants and desires.
Does it sound like work? That’s because relationships can be. But that’s what makes the great ones so rewarding.