Lots of relationships are good, but no relationship is perfect, so how are you supposed to tell when the one you're in is a keeper? As humans, we often tend to overthink what makes us happy, especially when it comes to our romantic lives. But there are plenty of little ways to know you're in a happy relationship, and they all add up.
The components of knowing you're in a strong, healthy relationship are pretty straightforward. Basically, you need to have some knowledge of yourself, some knowledge of your partner, a reasonably clear assessment of how things usually are between you, and a reasonably clear assessment of what your relationship alternatives look like. Of course, this is probably easier said than done. You get much of that knowledge of your partner, and even of yourself, through some love life trial and error. But there's no need to put yourself through the wringer any more than is necessary — you don’t need to be on the receiving end of some dramatic grand romantic gesture to know that your relationship is one for the record books. So before you throw away a perfectly good relationship, or miss out on one because you're stuck in a bad one, start paying attention to some of the smaller signals that your happy relationship is the real deal.
1. You can't stop saying "we"
Have you started finding yourself saying "we" this, and "we" that, basically non-stop? Congrats! It sounds like you might be in a happy relationship — because couples who approach the world as a team are better at solving conflicts.
2. You want everyone to know about your relationship
It may come off as a little uncool to gush constantly about your relationship, but when it's a happy one, you really can't help it. Whether you're sharing your good relationship news on Facebook, or people you talk to can just easily tell, a happy relationship isn't something you can — or should — keep under wraps. Your partner can't, either.
3. The big questions aren't really such a big deal
It seems scary in advance to have to ask a new partner if they want to marry or have kids. But in a happy relationship, the big question talks aren't so hard, and these issues come up in conversation naturally. More importantly, because talk is so cheap, your partner actually takes steps towards the relationship goals they divulge to you in romantic and mundane moments alike.
4. You've stopped imagining your other romantic possibilities
Sure, everyone lets their mind wander now and then. But when you're in a happy relationship, you've largely stopped considering the romantic possibilities. Even if your love life could have gone in other directions, it didn't, and you're happy where it is. You know nothing good ever came of dwelling on the might-have-beens, and you aren't willing to risk what you have for a little daydreaming.
5. You've given up your rom-coms
Once you've experienced true love, you know it's not like a movie. People may think they're learning about romance from the movies, but instead they're unfortunately giving themselves unrealistic romantic standards with every rom-com watched. Very few depictions of relationships in pop culture and even more serious art will capture the real nature of a happy relationship.
6. Commitment starts to seem appealing
Not everyone is cut out for long-term monogamy, nor need they be. But finding the right person has a way of turning even the most committed commitment-phobe into a one-trick pony — in a good way. That's because while committing to the wrong person seems rightfully terrifying, not committing to the right one is downright devastating. Sure, marriage is harder than it used to be, but a happy relationship makes you start to see commitment in a new light.
7. You've been sexting
This now-mainstream behavior seems to really boost people's love lives — sexters are more likely to report high relationship and sexual satisfaction. Get on it.
8. You realize you're above your baseline happiness level
Some people just aren't the happiest in general. Your baseline happiness level is largely genetic, so it's more important that a relationship keep you at or above that amount of happiness than to make you totally, uncharacteristically ecstatic. Make sure your standards for a happy relationship are reasonable in this way, or no one will ever have a prayer of meeting them.
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