9 Things You'll Bond Over Before Your First Anniversary If Your Partner Is Your Ride Or Die

by Kristine Fellizar
BDG Media, Inc.

Out of all the relationship goals you can strive for, finding yourself a ride or die partner is a pretty good one. Although a ride or die partner isn't something you can easily spot immediately, you should know by the one-year mark. According to experts, there are a few specific things couples who are ride or die will bond over before the first year of their relationship.

First, let's be clear on what a ride or die relationship actually looks like. "A ride or die relationship is a relationship that has resiliency," relationship expert Dr. Megan Stubbs tells Bustle. "Much like for better or worse, the partner is always going to be there for them. Now with that being said, someone else's ride or die may not look like yours."

Although our expectations for what a "good relationship" differs, there are some concepts we can all agree on. For instance, healthy long-term relationships should have unwavering trust, loyalty, love, and respect.

"To be a ride or die, the relationship should be seen as sacred," Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola, relationship experts and authors of How To Keep Your Marriage From Sucking, tell Bustle. "A ride or die will never sacrifice their partner or their relationship, and will always sacrifice themselves for the safety and security of the relationship or their partner." It's a partner who will always be there for you and stand by you when things get rough.

So how do you know if you're in a ride or die relationship? According to experts, these are some things you might want to bond over in the first year of your relationship.


Your Hobbies And Passions

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It's important to bond over the things in your life that are "absolutely essential" to both of you, Licensed Professional Counselor, Julie Williamson, tells Bustle. "This doesn't mean that the things that are absolutely essential to one of you need to be essential to both of you, but it's important to any relationship to participate in something that is important to your partner," she says. For instance, if your partner loves baseball but you've never seen a game before you met them, sit and watch games with them every now and then. It's not about pretending to like what they like. It's about bonding over the fact that they love something so much. "I'm a huge foodie who loves trying new restaurants, and before we met, my husband's diet consisted of Jimmy John's and Chipotle," Willamson says. "Now, when we go out, he assigns me the task of choosing the restaurant because he knows it's something I enjoy and something we can share together."


How You Want To Stay Connected

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"That first year of love drunkenness is where seeds are planted and will either sprout into flowers or weeds," Behrendt and Ruotola says. "With that said, during that first year you need to bond over not only the big stuff like having a shared vision for the future, but also the 'little big stuff' like agreeing to check-in with each other regularly and not just assuming that it’s always going to be OK." Throughout your first year together, your life situations may change and your mood will change along with it. You can't expect your relationship to be completely lovey-dovey all throughout the year. Ride or die couples will be open with each other on what makes them happy in the relationship. They'll make it a point to talk and check in with each other to make sure their relationship stays on track.


Inside Jokes

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"A year is a long time with a variety of seasons to add a lot of flavor to your dating life and see your partner in action in all kinds of social settings," Bernard Charles, relationship coach and author, tells Bustle. Laughter is known to benefit your relationship in some amazing ways. If you're not on the same page with your partner on what you think is funny, your relationship may not be ride or die. "The first year is a learning experience and along the way, the relationship will find itself in some quirky and hilarious moments," Charles says. That's why it's important to be on the same page when it comes to humor. "Strong couples build lightheartedness and often tickle each other's funny bones."


Holidays And Family Traditions

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By the time you've spent a year with someone, you've seen them at their best and at their worst, Williamson says. You've likely spent the holidays together, met each other's families, and most likely traveled together. By your first year together, you should have bonded over these things. "Being together for a year gives you a clear picture of what that person is like in all sorts of circumstances and helps you to predict what they will be like in similar circumstances in the future," she says.


Your Perspectives On Life

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"Curiosity is a catch," Charles says. "We still evolve no matter where we are in life." Ride or die couples take every opportunity to bond deeply with each other. The best way to do that is through talking. "If you want your relationship to last, get to know your partner's thought process and opinions," Charles says. "Fingers crossed, you have the capacity to be there through the thick and thin."


Your Flaws And Insecurities

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Everyone goes into new relationships with baggage and insecurities. According to Charles, you know you have a ride or die relationship when your partner will "unapologetically fight through every dark excuse you throw at them when you're feeling your ugliest and can't see your own beauty." There are so many things that can change in a year. You may lose your job or something may trigger insecurity in your partner. But when you're with a partner who's ride or die, being near them will make you feel like everything is going to be alright. "You feel at home in their presence. They remind you that you're still beautiful, powerful, fierce and brave," Charles says. "Like the saying goes, broken crayons still color. That's the anthem of my ride or die relationship."


Your Love Language And Communication Styles

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"In order to be ride or die, I will say that couples 100 percent need to agree on their communication style," Dr. Stubbs says. In addition to that, it's also important to find out out each other's love languages. How does your partner like to be shown love? How do you like to give it? "It is imperative that you and your partner know how to communicate effectively," she says. "Whether it is to show that you care or to resolve a problem that has arisen, you need to make sure you are both in a place to share and comprehend."


How You Spend Money

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Talking to your partner about finances is probably one of the least sexy things you can do in your relationship. But according to Dr. Stubbs, couples generally need to agree on how they're spending and saving their money by the first year of their relationship. "If this isn't part of an open conversation, a lot of resentment and arguments can result from lack of transparency," she says. This is especially true if you're at that point in your life where you're seriously considering moving in, marriage, or kids. In general, you need money to make those things happen. Ride or die couples bond over finances. "Their partnership is able to thrive in good times and bad," Dr. Stubbs says. "When issues arise, they realize that it isn't partner vs. partner, but rather the partnership vs. the issue. There is security in knowing that they can come to their partner with anything and that they can work through it."


Your Shared Vision Of The Future

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What does your relationship look like one year, five years, or even 10 years from now? If you and your partner haven't bonded over the future of your relationship by the one-year mark, you relationship may not be ride or die. "Having aligned goals is pretty crucial for a serious relationship," Amica Graber, relationship expert with TruthFinder, tells Bustle. "If your partner wants to settle down with a family in three years and you've already got your heart set on visiting every continent in the same timeframe, one of you is going to be disappointed." Goals are fluid, she says. They change as you do. So it's totally OK if you feel differently six months down the road. But if you have polar opposite expectations for your lives, that could be a major problem if one or both of you aren't willing to budge.

A lot can happen in your first year together. If you haven't bonded over any of the above by your first anniversary, don't panic just yet. Having open and honest communication can do wonders for your relationship. As long as there's trust, loyalty, love and respect early on, your relationship is ride or die.