A first anniversary can hold a lot of significance. Or it can just be another day of the year, depending on how you look at it. But if you're still
questioning your relationship, even though you've been with your partner for a while, the one year mark can be a great time to assess where things are going.
"It’s a good time to evaluate your relationship to see where you stand with your partner and your goals as a couple," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at
Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. But remember, it's not necessarily a bad sign if you still have questions now, or even in the future.
"Remember that all relationships are a work in progress," Bennett says. "So, even if things aren’t ideal after a year, as long as you’re happy and moving in the right direction, the relationship is likely on solid ground for the future." If you do have a few nagging concerns though, don't be afraid to speak up.
"Open, honest, and constant communication about your needs and expectations is an appropriate way to ensure a healthy and happy relationship,"
Kisha Walwyn-Duquesnay, LPC, tells Bustle. And that's why, if you're still wondering about some of the things listed below, you may want to talk with your partner as soon as possible to see if you can (or can't) sort it all out.
Whether Or Not You're Truly Together
"Every relationship moves at a different pace,"
Jeannie Assimos, eharmony’s chief of advice, tells Bustle. "But after a full year, you should not be questioning your partner’s commitment to you."
Are you truly together? Just friends? Or somewhere in between? "If you don’t know, you should have [...] a clear, concise conversation about your relationship, including your goals and ideas about the future and your future together," she says.
If you'd like to be committed and take things in a long-term direction, let your partner know. Hopefully they will be on the same page, and you'll be able to move forward knowing you both want the same things.
What Type Of Relationship You're In
It'll also be helpful to know what type of relationship you're in, in terms of whether it's open or exclusive, Walwyn-Duquesnay says. "You should first determine for yourself which you prefer," she says. And from there, have a conversation with your partner.
It's easy to make assumptions and hope your partner wants what you want. But if anything seems up in the air, go ahead and ask in order to ensure you both want the same things.
Whether You Can Accept Their Flaws
"After one year, you should accept your partner exactly for who they are," Assimos says, including all their quirks and eccentricities. Because even though they may be able to make a few small changes here and there, you shouldn't be waiting around for a full-blown personality makeover.
A year is enough time to figure out if your personality meshes well with theirs, and if you can truly accept the ways it doesn't.
Who You Are As An Individual
It's so easy to get caught up in a relationship, especially during the first year. But the last thing you want to do is lose who you are, or begin to question what your life should look like outside of the relationship.
"It's good to know who you are with that person, but it's great to know who you are apart from them," Walwyn-Duquesnay says. "What are your dreams and ambitions? Does your partner and does this relationship support that? If you find you're compromising your core values just to stay in the relationship, it might be time to reconsider."
Where The Relationship Is Going
"While you don’t need everything fully planned, within a year you should know where the relationship is at least headed," Bennett says. This might including talking about marriage, if you'd like to have kids, and other relationship-oriented things, he says. But it can also include whatever else is important to you and what you both want for the future.
Whether It's OK To Be Yourself
In the early days of dating, you may be tempted to put your "best" selves out there, in order to impress each other. And there's nothing wrong with that. But once a year goes by, you should be able to
let your hair down a little, without worrying that it'll push your partner away.
As Walwyn-Duquesnay says, "You shouldn't feel like you have to walk on egg shells or hold your breath. You should be free to be goofy, clumsy, emotional, quiet, affectionate, have your 'me time' respected, and express all the parts that make you uniquely you."
If this is something you struggle to do, let your partner know so you can work on making the relationship more comfortable.
If You Can Handle "Dealbreakers"
"The earlier you talk about dealbreakers, the better," Walwyn-Duquesnay says. "Especially before feelings get involved." So if it's coming up on a year and you aren't sure about certain aspects of your relationship, now may be a good time to bring them into the light.
Keep in mind, though, that not every problem will end up being a true dealbreaker. For example, "your partner might not be as neat or organized as you," Walwyn-Duquesnay says. "But if they
give you unconditional love despite that, and you can see them trying to make you happy, you just might be alright."
Whether The Relationship Is Secure
"By the one year mark, you should feel comfortable and secure in your partner’s love and in the relationship itself," Bennett says. Which is why, if you two aren't quite there yet, you may want to find time to talk about how you both feel.
If You Should Tell Your Friends
Has an entire year gone by and you still haven't told people about your relationship? While it's OK to keep your life private, and not share everything on social media, you may want to look into why you're being so secretive.
As Assimos says, it may mean there's an element of the relationship that makes you feel ashamed, which is definitely something you'll want to look into. But it may also be a sign you aren't quite ready to commit.
Whatever the case may be, the one year mark can be a good time to think about these types of ongoing questions and concerns, and talk about them with your partner. By simply bringing them out into the open, you may be able to get some much-needed answers and start creating the type of relationship you both want going forward.