When you’re in love with someone and in a relationship with them, there’s always an element of risk.
Is your partner in it for the long haul? What nasty surprises could be in store when you get to know their shadow side better?
The good news is that there are clear ways to tell if your partner is deeply committed to you and will stay by your side.
Relationship psychologists provide valuable insights about how to know whether your partner is truly committed to you.
Let’s dive in.
1) They plan for a future with you
When you have a partner who makes future plans with you, it’s a fairly reliable indicator that they are invested in the relationship.
Future plans from where you both want to live to what they envision the two of you doing and enjoying together are perfect examples of this.
When you have a partner who wants a real future with you, you have a partner who’s ready to go all in.
The only caveat here is to beware of folks who make a lot of promises right away without any realism or plan to actually follow through, as this is more akin to love bombing than actual commitment.
2) They open up to you and speak their mind
Each person has a different level of emotional intelligence and openness.
Not everyone is willing to open up and be vulnerable, is what I mean.
But you can get a good reading on whether your partner is for real by whether or not they at least make the effort.
If they have intimacy issues or trouble opening up, they can at least let you know about that rather than just going silent.
The alternative, a closed off partner, isn’t very promising.
As interpersonal effectiveness coach Preston Ni, M.S.B.A. explains:
“Poor communication, even with the best and most loving of intentions, can raise doubts and fears about being in a fully committed relationship.”
3) They prioritize spending time with you than anyone else
This is a very crucial part of determining whether your partner is truly committed.
Did they choose you out of many options? Do they continue to choose you? Or are you just a default choice?
None of us, and I mean none, want to think that somebody we care about would choose to spend time with us by default, but in some cases it’s true.
If your partner chose, and continues to choose you, from among many other potential people, it means he or she is truly invested.
If they choose you because there’s not much else going on in their life or they were rejected by somebody else they want more, the relationship is built on very shaky foundations.
As psychology researcher and professor Scott Stanley, Ph.D. puts it:
“When you have more options to choose among, what you pick tells more about who you are.
When a person has diminished options, what he or she chooses contains less information about their true preferences.”
4) They get to know you and want to know your experiences
Surely every couple wants to get to know each other, right?
I wish that were so!
Many couples reach a kind of comfortable detente and know “enough” to put the discovery part of their relationship on cruise control.
They get a fixed idea of who their partner is and leave it at that.
But the man or woman who truly wants to commit will display an active and ongoing desire to get to know you.
They want to know what you love, what you hate and what shaped you and continues to shape you.
And they don’t get bored when you talk about it, either.
5) They introduce you to the most important folks in their life
It makes a lot of sense that when you love somebody and want them to be in your life long term, you introduce them to those you already love who are in your love.
If your partner is introducing you to their friends, family, colleagues and those they care about, it means they care about you.
You’re not a short-term relationship they are on the fence about. You’re a person they see with them down the road and can picture as their forever person.
6) They respect your opinions and are willing to tolerate disagreement
A partner who’s truly committed will respect your opinions and be very curious about them.
He or she will also be honest enough to admit where they don’t agree or see things differently.
This is a crucial point, because it differs from a partner who’s not too serious about the relationship or considering breaking up:
That person may just placate you or pretend to be fine with everything you say.
The partner who really sees a future together is going to respect you while also being honest about where they disagree, because they know that important discussions have to happen for a relationship to be built on real solidarity and connection.
7) They go out of their way to look after you and ensure you’re OK
A partner who is truly dedicated cares about your well-being in the most literal sense.
They want to check if you’re hungry, thirsty or feeling OK. They want to give you a pill if you have a headache.
They aren’t doing any of it out of obligation, but clearly out of a genuine affection for you and desire to care for you in whatever way they can.
“A healthy relationship includes two givers, who each give to each other and the relationship in small ways that matter,” notes Stanley.
8) They are willing to work through conflicts and fights productively
Every relationship has disagreements and fights.
They may be over the smallest things, or your partner may even have nervous tics that just drive you nuts with annoyance.
“Of course, new relationships—even those meant to stand the test of time—can be nerve-racking and anxiety-inducing,” writes Megan Lierley for The Knot.
“If you get into an argument or question your feelings, that’s normal.”
The key thing is that your partner is willing to talk through these fights and be patient even where they feel you may be being a bit unfair or exaggerated in your own reactions and behavior.
9) They express a desire to grow and learn together as a couple
Every relationship is about two people who are interested in each other and in growing together.
This will include obstacles, of course, but it will also include many amazing times, too.
The thing is, nobody gets a taste of the great times without also signing up for the slower down times.
The partner who’s truly committed fully gets this and wants to be with you for the whole thing. He or she is committed to learning and growing together as a couple.
They want to grow with you and change with you, rather than just trying to find a perfect plateau and rest there.
This brings up the next point about mutual respect for both of your journeys as well.
10) They are evolving as a person and comfortable with you evolving, too
Everybody changes, and evolution is a natural part of life.
It’s not always for the better or in pleasant ways, either!
People do gain weight as a result of health conditions, go through depressive crises or become obsessed with hobbies that others may find strange or disagreeable.
This can be an especially big deal in relationships, which is why the partner who’s truly committed will make it clear that they love you for who you are and who you may evolve into.
They love your heart and soul, not your shell. And they’re willing to love you through your evolutions to the best of their ability rather than clinging to a static ideal or role they want you to stay in.
Your partner is committed, what now?
If many of the above points resonate, you are with a committed and dedicated partner.
This is the kind of person you could build a life with, at least they are willing to put that effort in.
What about you?
Just because your partner wants to be with you long-term, are you sure that you feel the same?
It’s very important to check in with yourself instead of only reflecting and echoing the emotions you receive.
Lierley makes a crucial point about this that we should all reflect on when we’re in a relationship, serious or not:
“While you may choose to check in with your partner and see how they think your relationship is progressing, it’s critical to ask yourself the same questions on a regular basis, especially in a new relationship.”