When it comes to relationships, people often act as if they know what's right for everyone, but most times the only people who understand the relationship are the ones who are in it themselves. Despite what negative things others may say about who you're dating, there are certain signs your relationship is strong, even if your friends and family think it is bound to fail. Sometimes what seems like a good match on paper doesn't hold a candle to an unlikely pairing that inexplicably works.
"No one really knows what goes on between a couple except the two people involved in the relationship," says psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish over email. "Anyone on the outside looking in sees their own perception and then projects their imagined judgment, opinion, or fantasy on top of that."
Whether people criticize your age difference, point out that you're too different, comment on your physical appearance, or even judge how you show affection, sometimes it's best to just ignore what others have to say, especially if it's not rooted in any real concern. If you think the haters might be wrong, here are 11 signs your relationship is strong, even if everyone else claims it's doomed.
1. You Communicate Well
Whether it's verbal or you can understand each other's physical cues without speaking, communication is key for a relationship that will last. "Can you go talk to each other about important aspects of life and actually listen? One of the biggest struggles in relationships is communication," says professional counselor Carl J. Sheperis PhD over email. "If you have this element down, then your relationship has a good chance at success."
2. You Trust Each Other
Even if others are wary, what's important is the trust between the two of you. "Having good boundaries and being able to trust each other in day to day life goes a long way toward growing a healthy relationship," says Sheperis. "Too often relationships are filled with emotional games and manipulations. If you can be honest, open, and free of hidden agendas, then your relationship is probably stronger than most."
3. You Avoid Checking Out Others
Of course you're both going to run into someone you find attractive at some point, but couples in successful relationships don't spend their time ogling over other hotties. A study from the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that people in successful committed relationships pay less attention to attractive alternatives.
4. You Can Solve Problems
"If you work together as a couple to resolve issues, then you have one of the biggest elements of success tackled," says Sheperis. "For example, if an argument pops up about finances, are you able to sit down with your partner and both work to come up with a healthy solution, even if you disagree? Do you turn toward each other to solve problems or do you become distant?"
5. You Have Fun
A good relationship should be enjoyable, and if you and your partner have fun together, that's an important indicator of whether or not you have a future. "Others may think you’re too silly or frivolous, but while you can get serious and work things out when necessary, you also know how to let loose and have a good time together," says marriage and family therapist Tina B. Tessina, PhD over email.
6. You Push Each Other To Grow
Successful couples encourage each other to learn and grow, whether it's learning a new language, building their career, or even working on the relationship. Research shows that people are more satisfied in their relationships when their partners actively support their efforts to expand their own horizons, according to Psychology Today.
7. You Are Affectionate
Couples who engage in frequent physical affection tend to be happier and more satisfied with their relationship, according to research from the American Journal of Family Therapy. "Others may see your serious sides, or know you don’t have a lot of time together, but you two can express your loving feelings when you are together, and that’s what counts," says Tessina.
8. You're Still An Individual
"Healthy relationships operate at multiple levels, with the couple being one and the individual being an important other level," says Sheperis. "You have to feel comfortable being yourself, have your own interests, and develop yourself as an individual in order for the couple level to function appropriately. If you feel safe being yourself and your partner does too, then the relationship has a good foundation."
9. You Have Shared Values
Even if you are different as night and day, if you and your partner both believe in similar ethics and ways of living, that's a positive. "Relationships that have shared meaning are more likely to succeed," says Sheperis. "If you have taken an honest inventory of goals and values and find that you both share the majority of them, then the chances are your relationship has a good foundation."
10. You Pick Up Each Other's Habits
If your partner motivates you to work out more and you encourage them to read your favorite books, that's a good sign. Integrating your partner's interests into your life helps create an interdependence that predicts closeness, love, and relationship maintenance behaviors, according to research published in the journal Social Cognitions.
11. You Both Enjoy Commitment
It doesn't matter how others view your relationship — what matters is how you view your own. Research from the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that individuals who view commitment in a relationship as a positive are more satisfied in their relationship overall.
"If someone is telling you that your relationship is doomed, you might want to take a look at the experiences they have had," says Sheperis. "Have they been good? What has influenced their perception?"
Images: Pixabay (12); Bustle