It's always good to be aware of potential red flags in a new relationship, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't also be on the lookout for green flags, aka the early signs that
a new relationship is going well. Aside from the general warm and fuzzy vibes you get in the beginning stages of seeing someone, green flags can show whether your relationship has long-term potential. So what kind of things are green flags at the beginning of a relationship?
According to clinical psychologist and relationship expert
Dr. Diane Strachowski, green flags show you’re on the path to a healthy partnership. Primarily, Strachowski says, your partner should make you feel “safe, secure, and happy.” Even in the early stages, it’s important to check in with yourself and gather how your partner’s behavior really makes you feel.
While it can sometimes be easier to pick out smaller
red flags when you’re dating someone new, it’s also important to consider all of the things you admire about them. For instance, licensed psychologist and dating coach Dr. Marissa Tunis tells Bustle that finding your partner progressively more attractive might take time, but it’s a green flag if you do so the more you get to know them.
Below, you’ll find 15 expert-approved green flags in a relationship.
They Make It Clear How They Feel About You
You shouldn’t have to ask yourself if your partner truly likes you. According to Tunis, it’s a green flag if you know exactly how your partner feels about you, “because they tell you.”
If you find yourself doubting their feelings for you, while a conversation could help provide clarity, it can also be a bad sign that they aren’t meeting your needs or love languages. A solid partner won’t make you question your value in their eyes, and will make you feel loved and appreciated.
They Respect Everyone, Not Just Their Friends, Family, & Partners
Pay attention to how kind your partner is to others. If you’re running errands on a time crunch and run into a slower cashier, do they exhibit patience and grace? “You can tell if someone is kind by the way they treat service staff, how they respond to friends in need, and the effort they put into helping others,” Tunis says.
It speaks volumes about a person when they are able to be kind to everyone around them, not just those regularly involved in their life.
They Prioritize Making Time For You
You know the saying, “If they wanted to, they would.”? It’s a great motto to live by for any type of relationship. If someone truly cares about you and wants to be with you, they’ll show it. Consider how your partner manages their time, and if they make it a point to schedule you in. In addition to giving you an ample amount of their time, Strachowski says your partner should also communicate with you consistently.
They Validate Your Feelings
Especially during a disagreement, your partner shouldn’t disregard or invalidate how you’re feeling. It’s a green flag if they’re able to hear your perspective during a conflict and honor your experience, even if they may disagree or see things differently.
Rachel Gabrielle, MA, LMHC, previously told Bustle, you should ask yourself these questions after your first argument: “Do they still treat you with respect and hear you out? Does the conflict lead to a greater understanding of each other? Or, does the person shut down, become defensive, or ignore you?” Gabrielle said. “Don’t sign up for a lifetime with someone who mistreats you during an argument.” They Can Process Their Own Emotions staticnak1983/E+/Getty Images
When your partner is going through a tough time — whether on their own or with you involved — how do they manage those emotions? Do they bottle them up and repress their feelings, do they express them, or do they take them out on others? As Tunis explains, it’s a major green flag if your partner “has done work on themselves” to be able to handle their emotions.
They’re Attentive To Your Needs
According to Strachowski, the “Golden Rule” doesn’t necessarily work with relationships because “[partners] often give you what they think they would want.” Instead, Strachowski says to follow the “Platinum Rule” — they should meet the needs you actually have, rather than those they think you should have.
In a healthy partnership, you shouldn’t have to beg your partner to give you what you need. For example, if your partner knows you need a certain amount of quality time with them each week, they should consider that in their plans and make an effort to honor that. Or, if you cohabitate and you need them to pitch in on certain chores, it shouldn’t be a struggle.
You’re Sexually Compatible
While this may not apply to all couples as everyone shares intimacy differently, if you and your partner are sexually involved, sexual compatibility is something to consider.
Toni Coleman, psychotherapist and relationship coach, previously told Bustle, "It’s important in that you should be compatible sexually. If you aren’t, this issue will grow over time and often becomes a deal-breaker for couples considering commitment. However, it should not be the most important thing or the only important thing — and too often it is." They’re Not Afraid To Talk About A Future With You
This is a great green flag for anyone who wants a long-term partnership, according to Strachowski. If your partner is happy to talk about your future together, that’s a good sign that they’re committed to you for the long haul. It’s always a good idea to have those conversations from time to time, especially to make sure you’re both on the same page about what you want in the future.
They Encourage You To Have Your Own Life
When you’re in a romantic partnership, your partner can’t be your everything. If your partner encourages you to have your own life outside of the relationship, that’s a green flag. "It is important in a healthy relationship for each person to have friends and interests so that they are not dependent on each other," psychologist
Dr. Margaret Paul, a bestselling author, and relationship expert, previously told Bustle. "Dependency is not healthy in a relationship." They Include You Around Their Family & Friends
Being involved with your partner’s people is crucial in feeling connected with them. It’s a major green flag if your partner invites you out with their friends and is eager to introduce you to their family when you’re both ready.
By including you in their life, your partner is demonstrating your significance in their life. As
Dr. Dana McNeil, PsyD, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, previously told Bustle, “If you can imagine this person sliding into your daily life and being a complement to what you already enjoy doing and who you like spending time with, then you are more likely to feel this person is a perfect fit.” They Respect Your Boundaries
Boundaries, while sometimes hard to set and stick to, are a huge tool in managing our relationships. Tunis says it’s a great sign if your partner respects when you say “no”, even if it’s something that they really want. This sets the tone for how much they respect you as an individual, and whether or not they might have your back in your boundary-setting with others.
They’re Your Biggest Cheerleader
Does your partner match your stoked energy when you receive an award at work? Do they brag to all their friends and family when you crush a goal you set for yourself? As your teammate in life, your partner should also be there to cheer you on every step of the way. They should celebrate your successes as if they were their own because they’re that proud of you.
People Say Nice Things About Them
Especially if your relationship is in the early stages, you’ll want to get insight about your partner from the people who have been around them a lot longer than you. What do their siblings or childhood friends have to say about them and their character? It’s certainly a good thing if the people closest to your partner are able to (honestly) hype them up to you and make you even more confident that you picked a great match.
They Pay Attention To The Little Things AleksandarGeorgiev/E+/Getty Images
It’s a good sign if your partner knows your coffee order, remembers your best friend’s birthday, or grabs your favorite type of sparkling water when they’re out grocery shopping. Although they might seem small, little gestures show that your partner listens to you and cares about paying attention to the details.
Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, previously told Bustle that it’s one of the ways couples keep their relationships strong. "Little gestures of kindness speak volumes.” They Have Integrity
According to Tunis, this is the number one green flag to look out for in a partner. If they show up when they say they will, and if they have a strong moral compass, your partner has integrity. Not only does that demonstrate that they care about being a good person, but it can also provide you comfort in the fact that they want to do right by you and your relationship.
Experts: Dr. Diane Strachowski, licensed psychologist & relationship expert Dr. Marissa Tunis, licensed psychologist & dating coach Rachel Gabrielle, MA, LMHC, therapist Toni Coleman, psychotherapist and relationship coach Dr. Margaret Paul, psychologist, bestselling author, and relationship expert Dr. Dana McNeil, PsyD, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking