1. Pet Names Aren’t Cheesy
…to you at least. When you and your partner are in a quality relationship that is bound to last, the ridiculous pet names that you call each other won’t seem the least bit embarrassing. Calling each other “bae” or “boo” can sound horrifying until it’s actually happening with the the right person. At that point, those names can take over and calling each other by your standard nicknames or *gasp your full names will seem awkward.
If you’re single hearing couples talk in public can be mildly uncomfortable, and listening to your friends talking about their significant other might make you feel like you need a drink. When you’re on the other side of the relationship however, it’s hard to see what makes any discussion about the two of you repulsive. They’re your better half, plain and simple.
2. You’re Trying New Things Together
Most of us have brought dates to do something we’ve always loved to do. That could be watching planes land at the airport, or maybe you’re daring enough to ask about going for a hike. What really shows a strong relationship is when the two of you start doing things that you haven’t explored too deeply before. This can be intimidating, especially when creative dates can entail a never-ending list of expenses. But I’m not really talking about dates, which are definitely an important part of relationships (see below), but about ongoing activities. If you can handle it, reading the same book at the same time can actually be a lot of fun. Books may not be for you, so watching a seriously terrible Netflix comedy together may be your style (we like Trailer Park Boys a lot).
3. Your Sex Life Is Evolving
Before I get into this I want to say that I’m not attempting to tell anyone what to do, you can wait until marriage or beyond if you want to.
The first time with someone new can be the best sex you’ve ever had in your life. The way their skin feels against yours, that little thing they do…you were surprised at first but it really brought you some place you’ve never been. This is fairly common – most people get a thrill from doing new things. Your first time with someone should only be a starting point (we know you were in missionary the whole time).
Getting kinky is great option, provided that you’re being safe and consensual as you should always be. I was amazed the first time I visited a sex shop and found how relaxed the atmosphere was, with one woman even commenting to herself, “What do you get for a girl who already has everything?” She was standing near the whips/ miscellaneous leather goods section, just for context. Don’t be ashamed of trying something, because nobody outside your relationship has any right to know anything. Also, please PLEASE communicate! Have some pillow talk afterwards and ask each other what you liked, were indifferent about, or were made uncomfortable by. If something really is uncomfortable though, you should be speaking up while it’s happening.
4. Knowing That Time Apart Can Be Important
Instead of being sad when that special person is away, you are looking forward to what it will be like when they return. The reunion can be a magical time when your feelings become overwhelming, as in “Why are you crying?” Followed by, “I didn’t know that I was crying.” Time apart gives each of you time to think about what you appreciate in the other person and time to let dissipate anything that gets under your skin. When you’re falling asleep in bed alone and you’re longing for their scent, you know what’s truly important.
This isn’t to say that you don’t miss them terribly, but it’s more of an appreciative sort of ache.¬ If you’re paralyzed with depression when you’re apart then there will be a harsh reality check coming up. Relying on someone else to survive is no way to live you life. Enjoying survival because of another person, however, can be what life is all about.
5. You Start To Become More Like Each Other
This is mostly self-explanatory, but psychology backs it up. When you like someone you want to be more like them. This may be in speech (I’ve become decent with a New York accent), music tastes, friends, weekend ventures, or even your attitude. When you’re with someone, you shouldn’t be trying to change each other but you may ultimately change yourselves. This is one of my favorite things to observe in other couples, because it says that their relationship is going to last.
6. …But you maintain your own identities
Couples that don’t have any contrasting characteristics are scary and cult-like. There’s no way you both have the same favorite movie, song, and favorite color. Don’t lie to me. MAUVE? Everything you own is fifty shades of gray, so don’t try to pull the wool over my eyes. But seriously, that creeps people out.
7. Saying “I Love You” Means Something
Ever since our first boyfriends and girlfriends, we’ve wanted to say, “I love you” just like the people in movies. But let be honest here – love is something that takes time. While love takes many different forms, it has never been my experience that it is instantaneous. Love-at-first-sight is an infatuation; an appreciation for another person. Love is about trust and a mutual understanding of values. Love is a complex object that, one built, can withstand a lot of damage and a long time. But it’s not forever unless it’s maintained and cared for.
The sign to look for is that when “I love you” is said, there is some obvious feeling behind it even if it is only a text message. Saying those words out of habit and not out of feeling is a bad thing to start doing and can be the single most damaging factor to the actual feelings behind the words. Starting to say those three words before it is time can also be a bad thing, so why not wait until you’re sure? “I love you” is one of those things that you think you know about until you do know, and then you’re sure. But you already know this; you’re in a good relationship.
8. You’re Not Worried About Breaking Up or Cheating
So many people in relationships are worried about upsetting their significant other and being broken up with. The same goes for cheating, i.e. “What if he cheats on me while he’s at that bachelor party?” If you’re actually that worried about it, what makes you think it hasn’t happened already? A good relationship will have no evidence that a there will be an upcoming breakup or a potential opportunity for cheating. If your partner were in a room full of naked, consenting models, would they lose control? If you answered yes to the above, you either have trust issues or a partner that is definitely going to cheat on you. Would your partner break up with you if you shaved your hair off or did some other ridiculous thing to your appearance? That’s not a good sign.
9. You Make Sacrifices To Maintain Their Happiness
Your happiness is just as valid as theirs, and you recognize that. Sure, you’d really like to go to that football game you’ve been waiting for three months to go to but their mother’s 60th birthday is today and you’re going to leave at halftime because it’s the right thing to do. The best part is, you’re not even upset about it.
This applies in the bedroom too. Yeah, you’ve never considered putting that in there but it’s not going to cause damage, you’re not morally opposed to it, and it doesn’t frighten you so why not? Pleasing your partner makes you just as happy as it makes them.