When it comes to being in a healthy, long-term relationship, you'll likely
know you're with your soulmate if you can do and say certain things in front of them that you never thought possible with previous partners, such as speaking your mind, or letting your guard down.
"This is the basis of any functional, healthy relationship,"
therapist Laura Jordan, MA, LPC, LMFT tells Bustle. "Without the foundation of being able to share your thoughts and feelings, they aren't getting to know who you really are as a person and you're not giving them the chance to love you fully, as a whole human being."
Feeling comfortable is a sign that you're with someone trustworthy, that there's mutual respect, and that you're both ready and willing to have a real relationship — all habits and traits that are necessary for a
relationship to work long-term.
That doesn't mean, however, that you need to share everything, or that there can't be any boundaries. "There may be topics that are not so healthy for a relationship," Jane Reardon, licensed therapist and founder of
RxBreakup tells Bustle. "As a couple, it’s a great practice to mutually decide what you’re better off not talking about. But otherwise, the conversations should flow — both of you willing to reveal what you’re thinking and feeling, what’s happened in the past, and what you’re dreaming about for your future." Read on for a few things experts say you should be able to do in front of your partner, if they're the right one for you.
Talk About Bodily Functions
If you want to maintain certain boundaries around bodily functions, such as closing the door when you pee, that's obviously OK. But when it comes to talking about bodily functions and maybe getting a bit "gross" in front of each other, you and your partner should be able to do so freely and openly.
"If your partner is your soulmate, you should at least be able to have a basic discussion about bodily functions,"
certified counselor Jonathan Bennett tells Bustle. "Couples who stay together recognize that discussing their possible physical issues (e.g. constipation, periods, etc.) like adults isn’t the end the world."
Not only is this a sign of maturity, but it's often a sign that you're comfortable around each other, which will be super important as you spend more time together, get older, and deal with the realities of life.
While your sex lives will likely be super hot when you first start dating, things can start to fizzle a bit as time goes on. And when that happens, it'll be important to talk about it, share what you like and what you don't like, and maybe even delve into some fantasies, in order to
keep that spark alive.
"If your partner is your soulmate, you should be able to discuss your sexual needs and desires openly, and make changes as needed," Bennett says. And the sooner you can start doing this, the easier — and more comfortable — it'll feel.
There are so many reasons people keep their fears to themselves. And it's certainly OK to pick and choose what you decide to open up about. But keep in mind, there are many benefits to be had when it comes
to talking about fears, anxieties, and all the little things that keep you up at night.
"Your partner should be able to listen to you and be responsive to what you need in order to deal with your fears,"
psychic and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport tells Bustle. And you should be able to do the same for them. Nothing bonds two people together quite like being honest about fears, and then offering each other support.
Talk About Your Dreams For The Future
In a soulmate relationship, it should feel easy to
talk about your hopes and dreams for the future, as well as how you can help each other make 'em happen. As Jordan says, "If a partner is not supportive of the dreams you have, this could be an indication that they have issues with control, or at the least, that they aren't caring for you in the way(s) you need to be cared for."
Have An Emotional Outburst
When you aren't with the right partner, an emotional outburst — crying, getting angry, etc. — can feel "too real" and may spell the end for the relationship But when you're with a soulmate, you'll notice that they understand, and even help you through to the other side.
So take it as a great sign if you're able to lose your cool every once in a while, without fear of repercussions. "If you are sensitive or emotional, there may be times when you are upset, stressed or angry — everyone gets that way from time to time," Rappaport says. "Your partner, if they are a good partner or a soulmate, should be able to listen to you rant, vent, complain, cry, scream. They know that you have to release your stress, tears, anger, etc."
Life is tough, and a soulmate will know that you can't be at your best, 24/7. If you are able to share emotions and let the feelings flow on a occasion, it's a good sign you're in a healthy, supportive relationship.
Similarly, you should be able to
let your guard down, and feel comfortable doing so — even when emotions aren't running high. This'll look different for everyone, but might include joking around, being silly, roaming the house in sweatpants and zit cream, and other things that lesser partners might find to be too much. "Your soulmate partner should accept you as you are 'warts and all,'" Rappaport says, meaning that they love even when you're not being "perfect."
You might think that the healthiest of long-term couples are the ones that never have any arguments. But the opposite is actually closer to the truth. "It's very important in long-term relationships to be able to
speak up and confront any conflict or behaviors that you are not comfortable with," dating and relationship coach Anna Morgenstern tells Bustle. "If you feel like you can't have an honest conversation with someone you are in a relationship with, then that person most certainly is not your soulmate."
Communications can be worked on, however. If two people want to learn how to argue and speak their mind, it's certainly possible to do so. "In order for a relationship to go the distance, you have to have open and honest communication," Morgenstern says. "If not, you'll often find yourself experiencing passing aggressive behavior and blowing up at small incidents, which will cause the relationship to unravel."
Talk About What's Making You Unhappy
It's common for couples to feel like, in order to have a healthy long-term relationship, they need to put up with things that don't make them happy. But nothing could be further from the truth.
"You should be able to have an open, yet respectful, conversation with your partner when you feel the relationship isn't going well or if there is something [they have] done that has upset you," says Jordan. "Without the diplomatic openness and honesty of revealing your feelings on the relationship (and where it could improve), there will be issues that go unresolved and linger causing the relationship to inevitably sour, or at least remain stagnant and not see any growth."
A soulmate will not only want to hear these things, but they'll be open to making changes going forward — all in the name of making the relationship work.
"Whether it’s about religion, politics, or any other topic, it’s important that you feel like you have a voice even if your partner disagrees about your position,"
therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, tells Bustle. When you're with the right person, this will feel easy. And what's more is that you'll even be able to disagree, but still come together in the end and value each other's opinions.
When you're with the right person, it's OK to be wrong. Not only will you feel comfortable admitting defeat — such as realizing you're wrong during an argument — but your partner will make it feel safe to do so. And vice versa.
"A soulmate is the person who can see us be wrong, be with us when we are wrong, and still give us a safe space where we can ride the strong emotions out," clinical psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow, host of
The Web Radio Show, tells Bustle.
And the same is true for feeling embarrassed. Perhaps this feeling follows admitting that you were wrong, or bubbles up after sharing a secret. As Klapow says, "A soulmate who allows you to go through the embarrassment without judgment allows you to be safe while being embarrassed." And that's one sign of a keeper.
Have A Serious Conversation
Money, sex, the future — can you talk about all these things with your partner? If so, you might be on the right track. "Conversations of all types are the foundation of a real relationship," celebrity dating and empowerment coach
Laurel House tells Bustle. "If your partner is avoiding a serious conversation ... they may not be your soulmate."
That's not to say that relationships can't build and grow with time, but these shouldn't be patterns you're still noticing years down the line. If you're with your soulmate — or at least someone who will make a healthy,
loving long-term partner — you'll be able to let your guard down, open up, argue when necessary, and truly be yourself.