It's completely normal to wonder, at some point or another,
if your relationship will last. Even in the best relationships there are bound to be moments of doubt or confusion. Because although things may be great, when you think about forever you realize that it's a damn long time.
And it's easy to think that big compatibility factors are key to being in it for the long haul. They are — but they're not everything. "You need to look for the
random acts of consideration and kindness," psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. "These are the things that will last you. For example, my toilet paper and paper towels have been magically refilled since a month into dating my husband." Sure, it sounds small. But if you and your partner have gotten into dozens of snippy arguments over the toilet paper, you'll know how much of a big deal it actually is.
Some people are happy to see how things go, while others really want to know if there's a future in something. Both are totally fine, but if you're looking into the future things could be trickier. So here are signs that your relationship is built to last, because it's not all about the big issues.
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Your Disagreements Are Dealt With
No more just letting arguments slide. In the long term, they'll come back to bite you. "The one thing you
should look for in a relationship is good conflict resolution skills," Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills child, parenting, and relationship psychotherapist tells Bustle. "People are generally great at communicating the warm and fuzzy stuff. But when it comes to working out the kinks and differences of opinion that lead to unpleasant fighting, most folks gets stuck." So if you can deal with issues as they come up, you're in a better position.
They Treat You As An Equal
We all know those relationships where one person very much plays the supporting role. "You should also
look for someone who cares about you at least as much as they care about themselves. That your happiness is their happiness, and that they love you, and will take care of your needs as they arise and never complain about it," Martinez says. "They just do it out of love. Kindness, surprise, selflessness, are all good qualities."
You Can Just Be Together
It sounds easy, right? But for some couples, being together and silent feels uncomfortable. "How well do
you and your partner do silence?" clinical hypnotherapist, author and educator Rachel Astarte, who offers transformational coaching for individuals and couples at Healing Arts New York, asks Bustle. "In other words, can you both comfortably share downtime without words, without a task to perform … without the need to interact and relate? Even mutual meditation counts as a task. If you and your partner can experience silence together without feeling freaked and worried that something is wrong or — an even bigger red flag — feeling bored, then that's a good sign you can stand side by side on life's unpredictable journey." Make sure that you are comfortable enough just to be.
Your Sexual Needs Match Up
Maybe it's having sex every day. Maybe it's both being asexual. What's important is that both of you have needs that overlap, so it's not causing a constant tension. "You
might have fun together, work great as a team and get along well," Natalie Moore, M.A., psychotherapist and owner of Relationship Refuge, tells Bustle. "But if one or both of you has been sexually unsatisfied for a prolonged period that doesn’t seem to be improving this could mean it’s time to move on."
OK, just because it's not the
only thing that matters, doesn't mean it's not important. "Compatibility is one of those things that you need on some level to make it through the long haul," Matchmaker and dating coach Karenna Alexander tells Bustle. "Having compatibility when it comes to inner qualities — like one's values — is the most important thing. Hobbies and surface characteristics — like vacation preferences or decor preferences — are less important. However, what is more important than compatibility is emotional maturity and ability to compromise." But compromise can only take you so far. You're allowed to have deal-breakers and priorities — and you and your partner need to share them.
If you're only a year in and you've stopped trying, it's a really bad sign. You need to keep that spark alive over the
long haul. And though at some points that may take some effort, it shouldn't feel like work. "Couples who stop flirting are couples who stop anticipating," Certified Relationship Coach Chris Armstrong tells Bustle. "Things go blasé and what was once an unpredictable stroll is now an expected lull."
It's not always about you as a pair. "It’s very important to have
independence in a relationship," relationship etiquette expert Mara Opperman tells Bustle. "Successful, healthy relationships allow for the both people to form a bond which lets them to not only grow together but also to grow independently as people. It’s essential to have your own sense of autonomy while feeling you can depend on each other. Also, if you give up your independence and abandon the things that used to make you happy, it will be reflected in your relationship." Keep some hobbies, activities, and friends as just yours. You need to keep feeling like a person and not just part of a pair.
Nobody can predict what life will throw at you, but it's good to know what shape your relationship is in for the future. Don't be afraid to take an honest look at how your relationship is going to help you plan ahead.