1. When you’re together, you and your partner automatically transform into the nicest, most thoughtful and compassionate versions of yourselves. You don’t even have to try to be better people in each other’s presence. It just happens organically.
2. The sentiments you once considered annoyingly sappy seep from your pores. You can’t help feeling supremely good about life at your core, like the unshakably idealistic character in a romantic comedy that once seemed impossible to relate to.
3. Your good energy as a couple doesn’t go unnoticed. Waiters and cashiers and strangers all seem to appreciate the positive vibes you exude. Your love doesn’t just make you both happy—it brings smiles to other people’s faces, too.
4. Prioritizing your significant other’s needs above yours comes naturally. You can’t help it. Because making them happy actually makes you happy.
5. In the context of your relationship, vicarious distress seems worse than the real thing. When you’re caught in the rain with a small umbrella, for example, you’d rather get wet than witness your partner experience discomfort.
6. As a result, you’re both given to well intentioned fibbing—to telling tiny white lies in the name of serving the other person’s interests. You’ll swear you’re not cold and sacrifice your jacket or scarf when you think they’re chilly, or claim that you want Chinese food when you definitely don’t because you sense they’re craving it.
7. Your first thought when planning a night out is whether your partner will enjoy a certain party, event, or activity. You don’t think this way out of some nagging sense of obligation, but because you genuinely enjoy taking their preferences into consideration.
8. You’re constantly assessing whether your boyfriend or girlfriend is as comfortable and happy as humanly possible. You glance at them during a funny movie to make sure they’re smiling frequently enough, and peer at them from across the room every so often to see if they’re enjoying a social event.
9. You have a mental checklist of their likes and dislikes, which you add to, subtract from, and amend as necessary. Keeping track of your significant other’s personal tastes helps you cater to their needs more effectively.
10. You factor your partner into pretty much every decision you make, often without even realizing it. You can’t shop without wondering what they’d think of a certain outfit, browse concert tickets without gravitating towards their favorite type of music, or daydream about vacationing without considering the destinations you know they’re aching to visit.
11. You find yourself forgoing certain purchases because you’d rather save up and splurge on something you can both enjoy. Anything to enhance your togetherness, and you’re shared experience of the world.
12. Your internal narrative is no longer first-person centric. You think in terms of us and them more than I or me.
13. You honestly don’t mind doing the things that once irked you—like packing, unpacking, or cleaning the house—as long as they’re around. In your partner’s company, no activity is undesirable.
14. You inspire each other to visit new places, sample new things, and pursue new hobbies. Any adventure, tackled jointly, seems less daunting and more potentially rewarding. So you finally start learning that foreign language, plan the trip you’ve been meaning to take, or start exercising regularly.
15. You have a sixth sense when it comes to your boyfriend or girlfriend’s personal boundaries. You understand innately when to stop teasing them, and when to act especially gentle, kind, and nurturing. This heightened human awareness extends beyond your coupledom, subtly impacting your approach to relationships with family, friends, and coworkers.
16. When their feelings are hurt, yours are too. So on the occasions you cause them pain—by accident, or because you take things too far during a fight—it’s intensely emotional. Later, you apologize like crazy, sincerely wishing you could take on whatever pain you’ve caused.
17. You never knew fury until the moment your significant other was wronged, dismissed, or insulted by someone else and you felt overwhelmed by the desire to protect and avenge.
18. Your partner’s enemies, big and small, automatically become yours.
19. More than anything, reflecting on your relationship makes you feel insanely grateful. You feel lucky to have met someone so special, lucky to exist in the world, lucky to be breathing.
20. You want to spread the joy you feel proactively, so you do. You’re more tolerant of life’s little frustrations, more responsible in general, more accommodating in your relationships with family and friends. You might even start volunteering because not volunteering suddenly seems silly.
21. You start to love yourself more because your partner continues to bring out the best in you. And for that, you love them more too.