There is no relationship barometer. The only two people who can measure how strong a relationship is are the people in it — and we all know that sometimes you can't trust your own judgment. It's a common but very silly trap to assume that just because your partner looked at you the wrong way/was in a bad mood last Tuesday/didn't text you back in a timely manner/fell asleep without saying goodnight/got a haircut, your relationship is doomed. Many of us can err on the side of apocalyptic. But there are signs your relationship is stronger than you think it is. And they're not all so incredibly obvious as an invitation to join your partner on all expenses-paid trip to spending the rest of your life together or whatever.
I think the strongest relationships are the ones that value things like honesty, gratitude and humor over anything else; that involve more long discussions and less long fights; that are based in mutual understanding and a sense of real connectedness. In other words, the relationships that truly complement our lives — not complete us, or "make us happier," or do anything unhealthy or unreasonable. These are the relationships that invite us to be our best selves, and inspire us to show up and be kind, just because we want to, and because our partner is doing so too — it's a very sweet give and take. Here are nine indications that your relationship is more durable than you imagine it might be, and reasons why these are so.
1. You Feel Comfortable Together
At the end of a long day, if you can wash your face and don comfy clothing with your partner, that's a sign of comfortability. Not every night, mind you: I think it's important to dress up and go out sometimes. But you have to be able to feel cozy with your partner, and if you do, that means you're strong on your relationship game.
2. You Can Tell Each Other The Truth
Even if it's uncomfortable. Even if you're worried it'll hurt their feelings. A partnership that values honesty and trust over platitudes and keeping the peace will stand the test of time way longer something built on a shoddier foundation.
3. You Think Of Your Partner During The Course Of The Day
And they think of you. How do you know? They send you a text. Or an email. Or — gasp — they call sometimes, which is level-five on the strong-relationship spectrum. (I jest, but not entirely.) The text might not be literal; it might not say, "Thinking of you." It might be a link to a piece in the Times . Or a link to a cute dog video. Or a selfie. But it's a tiny electronic bolt of "thinking of you," and it's a benchmark of a robust relationship.
4. You Like Doing The Same Things
Whether it's going for long bike rides, listening to the same kinds of music or just reading in bed late at night, if you're on the same page with activities, you're bonding with your partner in a way that you can't if they only likes hip-hop and you only like country music.
5. You Miss Your Partner When You Travel Without Them (And They Miss You)
It's healthy to miss your partner sometimes. If you leave for a work trip for a week, you feel a real pang of missing your partner as soon as your plane takes off. It's not an unhealthy missing — you know you'll see each other again, and you're excited about it, but you're not, like, dying inside every hour of every day. If they communicate that they feel the same way too, all the more reason to assume your relationship is doing better than you think. It's good to feel that way sometimes, and you're probably pretty into your boo (and vice versa).
6. Arguments Are Kept To A Minimum
You fight, but you don't fight a lot. No fighting at all can be a symptom of a problem too — generally the problem of both parties tamping down frustration instead of talking it out — but lots of fighting in a relationship is a straight-up nightmare. If you and your boo keep conflicts to a get in, get out kind of situation, you're doing well. Bravo!
7. You Survived The Honeymoon Period
Not everyone gets that far. If you did, congratulations: You're in a committed relationship. If you're happy with your partner, this is the part where you get to relax and enjoy.
8. You Can't Hold Back A Smile When You See Them
This is a dead giveaway. If you're giddy around your partner — especially if you've been dating long enough that the honeymoon has come to a close — you're with someone about whom you're totally bananas. Strong.
9. You Think About A Future With Your Partner
And it doesn't seem insane. If you're dating someone who is obviously a jerk or a commitment-phobe and has been clear with you about that, and you're dreaming about a white picket fence or some such, you're in trouble. But if you can see a future with your partner — not necessarily all the way to 10 years from now, but maybe you can see yourself spending next summer backpacking through Europe with them, or bringing them as your plus-one to a wedding, or even just introducing them to your parents — and they seem on board, your relationship is stronger than you think.
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