Long-term relationships can be hard to get right. Even people who are in them can find it difficult to put their finger on exactly what makes them and their partner work. But if you're looking for a relationship that lasts, you have to make sure your relationship is strong enough to make it.
There are some basics. For example, in any good relationship you need to know how to fight. "The one thing you should look for in a relationship is good conflict resolution skills," Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills child, parenting, and relationship psychotherapist tells Bustle. "People are generally great at communicating the warm and fuzzy stuff. But when it comes to working out the kinks and differences of opinion that lead to unpleasant fighting, most folks gets stuck."
But just because it's a good relationship doesn't mean you're going to work in the long run. Some good relationships just work for a while, but then reach their natural conclusion — and that's totally fine. If you're looking for a long term relationship that's really going to stand the test of time (and everything life throws at you) you have to look for something more.
So here are seven ways to tell if your relationship is going to last, because it's not easy, but kindness helps:
1. You're Both Kind
Contempt can kill a relationship, but kindness can save it. "You need to look for the random acts of consideration and kindness," psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. "These are the things that will last you. For example, my toilet paper and paper towels have been magically refilled since a month into dating my husband." The small things mean more than you think.
2. You're Aware Of Each Other
"You should also look for someone who cares about you at least as much as they care about themselves. That your happiness is their happiness, and that they love you, and will take care of your needs as they arise and never complain about it," Martinez says. "They just do it out of love. Kindness, surprise, selflessness, are all good qualities." So more than just being kind, you need to make sure that you're in sync and paying attention to each other. It keeps you connected and grounded.
3. You Both Know It's What You Want
Not everyone wants to be in a relationship forever, and that's OK. Some people don't like to plan, prefer short-term relationships, or are really independent. You both need to want it to make it work, but there's no shame in not wanting it either if it's not the right time. Whatever works for you.
4. They Respect You
Not so fun fact — not all men respect women. "If you are thinking about getting a serious relationship with someone else, take a look at how they treat other women first," life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. There are things you can keep an eye out for. "If they constantly use derogatory or patriarchal language, utilize cat-calling to get attention, or send unsolicited pics," they're all signs that they don't have enough respect for women — or for you.
5. You Are At Ease With Each Other
You need to be able to be comfortable together, comfortable being separate, and just comfortable enough to be. "How well do you and your partner do silence?" clinical hypnotherapist, author and educator Rachel Astarte, who offers transformational coaching for individuals and couples at Healing Arts New York, asks Bustle. "In other words, can you both comfortably share downtime without words, without a task to perform … without the need to interact and relate? Even mutual meditation counts as a task. If you and your partner can experience silence together without feeling freaked and worried that something is wrong or — an even bigger red flag — feeling bored, then that's a good sign you can stand side by side on life's unpredictable journey."
6. You Can Compromise
Long-term means you're going to have to compromise and work together. "The ability to compromise is a crucial component of any relationship," dating expert Noah Van Hochman tells Bustle. "It may seem as though in a great relationship everything is always perfect, but how many of those relationships do you know of? And more importantly, if everything always went along seamlessly in a relationship, then where would the attraction and growth come from?"
Just be sure you know how to get through a disagreement without fighting and you're both willing to meet in the middle.
7. Your Goals Are Compatible
I don't mean you want to do all the same things — you definitely need your own life and independence— but what you want out of life should fit together. If one of you wants to run your own ranch and the other wants to be a Silicon Valley techie, it's going to be hard to meet in the middle. But if one of you wants to teach in a city and do pilates twice a week and the other one wants to work in media and go to live music every weekend, the pieces may fit together easily.
It can be hard to know if your relationship will work long-term, because there's no secret recipe and life is pretty unpredictable. But there are some good indications that you'll make it for the long-haul, so if that's what you're looking for, make sure you're setting yourself up for a win.
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