Unfortunately, you can't look into a crystal ball and predict
how your relationship will turn out in the future. But there are a few clues that may help shed light on how successful it will be — and this includes how you might feel about your partner years down the line. Will you still be in love? Will you want to stick together? To get the answers, let's take a peek at your current habits and dynamics.
But first, it's important to be open to the idea that your relationship will change, as will your ideas about it. And that's OK. "Chances are you won’t feel exactly the same way you do now about
anything in life," psychotherapist Dr. Jennifer Howard, tells Bustle. "That doesn’t mean you’ll have to change partners but instead be willing to grow and keep learning from each other as time goes by."
As long as your
relationship is healthy overall, you can still find yourselves happy, especially if you're willing to roll with whatever life throws your way. Things will be even easier, though, if you share the same core values, want a lot of the same things, and communicate in a healthy way. Read on below for more things that can help predict how you'll feel about your partner in the future, and whether things are heading in the right direction, according to experts.
You Share A Lot Of The Same Values
If you two see eye-to-eye when it comes to
certain core values — such as how you feel about marriage, kids, etc. — there's a good chance you'll still be happy years down the line.
"Feeling that you and your partner see life in harmonious ways supports a strong bond around how to live life," Dr. Howard says. Agreeing on the big stuff is what will keep your lives heading in the same direction.
Relationships can be tough. But if you start off as good friends, and maintain that friendship as you get further into your relationship, there's a good chance you'll be going strong for years to come.
"The secret sauce for any successful long-term relationship is laughter and friendship," Amica Graber, a relationship expert for the background checking site
TruthFinder, tells Bustle. "Life will always present a couple with challenges, but being able to enjoy life together as friends and partners will keep the spark in your relationship alive for years to come."
You're Still Happy A Year In
To get a better idea of how you might feel about the relationship in five or ten years, give it the "four seasons test," Dr. Howard says. Go through a year's worth birthdays, holidays, ups, and downs — and pay attention to how you weather it as a couple. If you're both happy and content at the
one year mark, Dr. Howard says it's a good sign for the future.
You Know Yourselves Well
process of finding yourself never has to stop, if you know yourself well when you meet your partner, there's a good chance you won't feel too differently about them in the future, The Love Guru Blaire, tells Bustle. You'll be less likely to have conflict, for example, or to grow apart.
It is possible, however, to support each other through rocky moments in life and still be in love years down the line, even if you've both grown and changed.
You Look On The Bright Side
If you choose to focus on the ways your partner adds to your life,
couples consultant and coach Lesli Doares, tells Bustle, instead of zeroing in on their shortcomings, it can make your lives so much easier.
Of course, you'll want to be honest with yourself about the overall
health of your relationship. But if you give each other the benefit of the doubt when things go awry, Doares says it can be easier to stick together. And remain happy.
You're Open With One Another
"Your hopes, your fears, your dreams, your desires for your life and the life you have together must be an ongoing dialog with your partner," Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of
The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle.
Basically, the more you talk, the better — from here on out. As Dr. Klapow says, "If these conversations are not ongoing, it’ll be easy to overlook the changes you're both going through, and lose sight of each other."
You Argue In A Healthy Way
Another great predictor of future happiness is your ability to
argue in a healthy way. "You argue with the focus of solving problems versus winning or being right," Dr. Klapow says. "And having a fundamental belief that you both are on the same team, even when you disagree, is critical."
If, for some reason, the dynamic shifts and becomes more about being right, Dr. Klapow says your feelings towards each other can start to sour over time.
Nothing can make a couple feel closer than weathering a problem together. So if you currently let your partner in, and let them help out when you're down, there's a good chance you'll still be in love years down the line.
"If our partners are not a part of our life decisions, we can grow apart," Dr. Klapow says. You don't have to tell each other
everything, or be there 24/7, but supporting each other through the toughest parts is a major key to success.
You Have Some Common Interests
"Every couple should have different interests, but if you find that you don’t share any interests then it can become a problem," Graber says. You might, for example, find that the things your extroverted partner wants to do don't sit well with your introverted tastes. Or vice versa.
While it's always
possible to compromise, being on the same page when it comes to how you'll spend your downtime as a couple can make your lives easier. And keep you heading in the same direction going forward.
You Have Different Strengths
Sharing the same core values is important. But having different strengths as a couple can also be a predictor of future happiness.
"For example, when one partner is very detail-oriented and the other more visionary, but they share a deep sense of what is important in life, they can expand and think big but not miss important but small steps toward making their dreams reality,"
psychotherapist Jude Treder-Wolff, LCSW, CGP, CPAI, tells Bustle.
By having different strengths, you'll be a duo who can take on anything life throws your way.
You're Both Willing To Grow
By being open to change, the relationship will be able to survive ups and downs, and evolve into something new — as it very well should as the years go on.
Expecting your partner to stay the same forever is a recipe for disaster. "You have to be willing and able to grow and change and adapt to the growth," Dr. Klapow says. So ask yourself, is that something you're both able to do?
You may not be able to predict how you'll feel in five or ten years. But by offering support, staying on the same page, and communicating as you go, you'll be much more likely to have a
lasting and happy relationship.