1. They Take Care of You When You’re Sick
This sounds obvious, and it might be. But I don’t mean they’ll sit at home with you when they get off work and watch reruns of Friends on TBS with you while you sip tea, although that is nice. I mean they’re willing to miss an opportunity to see their favorite band or musician at a once-in-a-lifetime performance because your health and wellbeing matters more to them. That is something that you really cannot be disingenuous about. And it’s incredible. It really takes you a different echelon in a relationship when someone would rather hear the sounds of coughing and dry heaving than Jack Johnson live.
2. Far Off Plans Don’t Scare You
Remember when you were nervous about asking someone on a Sunday if you could get together next Saturday and it was a big deal? It gets so much more amazing when you’re making plans for New Year’s. And it’s only June. There’s something exceedingly reassuring about two people having confidence in something so tenuous as the future; it’s as comforting as a warm blanket on a winter’s night. I recently received a save-the-date from a good fried of mine from college. I told my girlfriend about it and there was never a discussion of whether or not we would still be together. I know How I met Your Mother established the date-time-continuum which states, “You never make plans with a girl further in the future longer than the time you’ve been going out,” but when you’re with someone you expect to be with for a while then those types of things are no longer a factor; less significant than the Mets in the playoffs.
3. They’re Willing to Learn More About What You’re Interested In (And Vice Versa)
My girlfriend watched the entire original Star Wars trilogy with me when we started dating. I didn’t need to make her watch the Harry Potter series because, to be quite honest, she knows more about those books and movies than I do, which is impressive in its own right. Yes, we’re both huge nerds. On the flip side, I read the entirety of my girlfriend’s master’s thesis. In undergrad, I majored in English while she majored in math. I don’t think our degrees could be further apart on the academic spectrum than that, but she wanted me opinion and she was going to get it. Unfortunately my opinion happened to be, “where are all the numbers in this math? It’s all Greek letters, this makes no sense.” I never said it was a helpful or useful opinion.
4. You Look Forward to what can be Considered “Uncomfortable” Talks
Remember Chandler or Joey in Friends? Or Ted or Barney in How I Met Your Mother? Whenever things would get moderately serious with a girl they were seeing invariably one of their friends, typically a girl, would bring up the question, “So where do you see this going?” It’s a terrifying question, isn’t it? You want to answer positively but you’re not sure entirely of how you feel and maybe your confidence in the relationship was shaken but at the same time you don’t want to give false hope to the other person, so what do you do? You make up something about keeping things “casual” or you say “we’ll see,” or “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” But the truth is, when you’ve found someone you truly want to be with then those types of conversations aren’t even the least bit frightening. In fact, they’re kind of great. You get to advance the relationship by talking about taking vacations together, or living together, or where you see your lives going, both independently in your careers and together as a couple or partnership.
5. Your Family and Friends Become Genuinely Interested in Them
I know parents are usually inclined to probe into their children’s lives (at least mine are), and when their kids enter into a relationship (made official by changing one’s status on Facebook) then they need to know more about this person. But not just the parents; friends, coworkers, siblings, and anyone else important in your life with any concern for your wellbeing will undoubtedly be curious about this new person with whom you’ve entwined yourself, and not just in a “who are they and what do they do” capacity, but a genuine interest in your lives together.