7 Signs Your Relationship Is Better Than You May Realize
Relationships are never "perfect." Yet, it's still common to want your relationship to be as great as it can be. So how do you know if your relationship is as good as it's going to get?
When you're in a relationship that is "as good as it's going to get," there are a few different things it could mean. For one, Kelsey M. Latimer, PhD, founder of Hello Goodlife, tells Bustle it could mean deciding that you don't deserve any better than what you're getting in your current relationship. "Instead of moving on, you'll believe your relationship is as good as it gets so you'll tolerate bad behaviors like cheating," she says.
But being in a relationship that's as good as it gets doesn't always have to be a bad thing. As Shar Fuller, relationship expert and founder of events and matchmaking company Mai Tai, tells Bustle, "As good as it gets is synonymous with contentment. In a modern relationship, this translates to fulfilling a higher level of your needs."
According to her, love can be challenging today because we often tell ourselves that there might be someone "better" for us out there. "It's possible to be in a great romantic relationship right now," she says. "The only way you'll realize this is by ticking off the checklist below and getting rid of any unhelpful assumptions about relationships." So here are some signs that your relationship is as good as it's going to get, according to experts.
1. You Feel Safe
When you feel safe in your relationship, it means you're comfortable enough to relax and be yourself. As Fuller says, "This allows both of you to be the best version of yourselves." It's not easy to be completely vulnerable with just anyone. Some people will be in a relationship for a long time and still feel the need to hide aspects of themselves for fear of judgement. But if you've managed to let your partner see you for who you truly are, you're in a relationship that's as good as it's going to get.
2. You Like Their Personality From The Beginning
"Your partner's personality will affect many parts of their lives and all of their relationships," Fuller says. Their personality ,and yours for that matter, isn't likely to change drastically as time goes on. So if you know your partner lashes out during conflicts or you get embarrassed by the way they treat servers, think about whether or not this is something you can live with for many years to come. If not, your partner may not be the right one for you. Being in a relationship that's as good as it gets means being with someone you genuinely like. So if you're with someone who you enjoy being around, who's kind, sympathetic, and affectionate, Fuller says, you're doing very well.
3. You're Not Afraid To Tackle The Uncomfortable Conversations Together
"Having conversations about any concerns or problems means that you're very high on the Richter scale of healthy relationships," Fuller says. Your relationship may not be "perfect," and you and your partner may argue from time to time. Being in a good relationship doesn't mean that you never fight. It does mean that you can bring up your concerns as they come so you never have to deal with potentially relationship-ending fights.
4. The Small Things Make You Really Happy
If you're grateful for all the little everyday moments that you and your partner share together, your relationship may be as good as it's going to get. "This can be something as small as making a nice smoothie in the morning or something bigger like getting a promotion at work," Fuller says. "Sharing, celebrating, and enjoying all of the little things in life by being responsive will allow for the bigger things to take care of themselves."
5. You Still Think About Your Partner Like You Did In The Beginning
"Healthy couples always have their [partner] on their mind," licensed clinical professional counselor, Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, tells Bustle. This doesn't necessarily mean that you're obsessing over them 24/7. But it does mean being thoughtful like going grocery shopping and picking up a snack you know they love. It can also mean checking in with them during the day to see how things are going. "It's this element of consideration and giving that helps each other feel cared for and connected," Slatkin says. So if you and your partner are still doing thoughtful things for each other years into your relationship, you're in a good one.
6. You Have The Space You Need To Grow As An Individual
"A 'good' relationship can be difficult to quantify because it can look very different for each couple," Lia Holmgren, NYC-based intimacy expert and relationship coach, tells Bustle. "But in general, you’re going to see both partners putting work not only into the relationship, but also into themselves." When your relationship is as good as it's going to get, the relationship should be "growing in tangent" with your individual growth. When you and your partner have the space to be the very best versions of yourselves as you can be, your relationship will follow suit.
7. You And Your Partner Are Genuinely Loving And Kind To Each Other
Being responsive and kind are two things that tend to get overlooked in a relationship. It's easy to take your partner's kindness for granted until they stop showing it to you. According to Fuller, it's important to know that when your partner responds to you with genuine love and kindness, they're invested in your success and well-being. "Enjoy every moment of it," she says.
Good healthy relationships should keep growing and moving forward. But when you're trying to find ways to keep things fun and interesting, it's easy to overlook all the great things your relationship already has. If you know your partner is great and you feel truly loved and happy in your relationship, don't take that for granted. Your relationship may be better than you believe.