Romantic relationships are extremely complex recipes for happiness.
The typical ingredients include an emotional connection, sexual chemistry, trust, equal levels of maturity, and similar goals in life.
But no matter how much you mix them all together, there’s still something missing.
I did say it was complex.
Different people bring out different traits in one another. A pessimistic friend can make you complain a lot, a peaceful partner can still the storms inside you, and an angry co-worker can trigger your own boiling rage.
Emotional energy is contagious. The more time you spend with someone, the easier it gets to share their vibe.
Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial that your partner fits you like a piece of a puzzle, bringing out the best you have to offer.
Let’s have a look at the 8 signs your relationship is making you a better person.
1) You’re becoming more selfless
We’ll start off with a big one – selflessness, the magical side-effect of falling in love.
I’m not much of a cook. When I fell in love with my current partner, though, I absolutely adored preparing meals for him and taking my sweet time in the kitchen.
As I peeled the onions to the sound of sizzling oil, I realized I suddenly enjoyed the process of cooking because it felt like giving my partner a piece of myself out of nothing but pure love.
Cooking for two makes you appreciate just how nice it is to give. The same goes for other aspects of life, be it buying your partner gifts, taking them on trips, or letting them have the nicer spot on the sofa.
Of course, pure selflessness (free of resentment) only works when both partners practice it.
If your partner gives you the world and doesn’t expect anything in return, you wish nothing else but to shower them with love. This generosity easily feeds into your other relationships, helping you become less selfish overall.
2) You’re learning the art of compromise
As the author and wellness coach Donna Martini said, “Compromise is not about losing. It is about deciding that the other person has just as much right to be happy with the end result as you do.”
The ability to make compromises lies at the core of selflessness, yet it’s not as easy as a simple wish to give.
When you’re compromising, you’re deciding to prioritize someone else’s happiness just as much as your own.
And there is no better teacher than a romantic relationship. When you choose to spend your lives together, you’re making the decision to share – even if it means taking a step back to make space for the other person.
Dysfunctional relationships rarely teach you to compromise because you’re either pushing your needs to the forefront or completely giving them up.
A healthy relationship, on the other hand… that’s a different story entirely. Making compromises is just one of the many ways it makes you a better person.
And it inevitably means…
3) You’re a pro at communication
Handling conflict in a mature way is a rare and valuable skill.
A conflict pits two sides against each other, tempting your egos to grab the steering wheel and drive you to The Land of Screaming and Tears.
A strong couple doesn’t succumb to the call. When you’re in a relationship that’s making you a better person, you both know that if only one person wins, it means the whole team loses.
Together, you learn to navigate conflict when it comes, communicate effectively to prevent it if possible, and give each other the support you need after it’s passed.
And guess what? These skills are transferrable. Over time, you notice yourself becoming better at communication not only with your partner but also with your friends, co-workers, and family.
The workings of your romantic relationship bleed into your life and personality, changing you for the better.
4) Your partner’s lifestyle elevates yours
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that romance can influence so much of your world. After all, you’re spending so much time with your partner that their personality easily imprints on yours.
Have you ever noticed that couples often make the same facial expressions or gestures? Studies show it’s a real phenomenon – we tend to imitate our intimate partners’ movements more than those of other people.
And it doesn’t stop there. Your partner’s whole lifestyle can easily influence yours, changing how tidy you are, how frequently you eat, or how much you exercise.
Let’s be honest – if your partner lies in bed all day and orders KFC for lunch, how likely are you to stay under the covers with them and take a bite?
One word: very.
If your relationship is making you a better person, your partner’s lifestyle doesn’t hinder yours. On the contrary, you feel motivated to implement healthy routines and thrive in the environment you share with your significant other.
5) You’re growing in confidence
Your relationship should help you thrive not only when it comes to your daily routine, but also your goals and dreams.
Having stable emotional support is everything. When your partner roots for you, believes in your potential, and gives you the space to chase your goals, you already have a head start.
This is because romance can so very easily break or build up your confidence. A partner who belittles you can bring you crashing down; a partner who cheers you on can give you the boost you need to flourish.
Want to know if you’re in a relationship that’s making you a better person? Check your ambition levels.
Do you feel as if you can venture on any path you dream of and still receive the same emotional support from your partner? Or is there a sense of restriction, reducing your goals to something you settle for rather than something you truly want?
Your answer will tell you what you need to know.
6) When the storm comes, you always see the lighthouse
Having a number one fan when things are going well is one thing, but finding solace in your partner’s company when the world’s shattering around you is something else entirely.
According to research, being in a high-quality relationship increases your ability to cope with stress. This may be because your relationship provides a strong base for you to lean on when life gets hard, improving your resilience.
When your partner stays by your side no matter what, you’re better able to face obstacles, recover from failure, and keep walking on your path of self-growth.
7) Your partner’s interests expand your universe
Self-growth encompasses all sorts of factors, from improved resilience and selflessness to a better understanding of the world and yourself.
The latter is yet another essential sign that your relationship’s making you a better person.
Self-expansion – the widening of our self-concept through experiences and learning – is associated with higher relationship satisfaction.
This means that your partner never ceases to teach you new things, be it through going on trips together, probing the fascinating crevices of their mind, or learning about their hobbies.
Before I met my partner, I knew very little about birdwatching, space, or physics. Through our conversations, I’ve been able to gain new insights and widen my horizons, and I have evolved a great deal as a result.
Your partner is someone who enriches you. The experiences and knowledge they expose you to expand your identity, making you a better person.
8) You’re simply happier
The science is clear.
Good romantic relationships increase subjective well-being, not to mention they can physically change your brain, reducing grey matter density within the right dorsal striatum and therefore increasing your sense of social reward.
In other words, a great relationship makes you happy. And happiness comes with its own perks – happy people are shown to be more productive and are likely to boost their happiness through acts of kindness.
To sum up our last point: if your relationship’s making you happy, it’s also making you a better person.
A win-win situation if I say so myself.