12 signs you’re in a high-quality relationship, according to psychology

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It can feel like there is a lot of junk food romance out there.

What I mean by that is connections that give you an instant rush but never quite leave you feeling full and nourished.

When it comes to love and relationships, most of us are searching for something a lot more satisfying.

So how do you know when you’ve finally found it?

High-quality relationships have hallmarks that set them apart.

So let’s take a look at 12 signs that suggest as a couple you shine!

1) You share your honest thoughts and feelings

Bonds are built through emotional intimacy.

It’s really important to be able to share what’s on our minds and in our hearts with our loved ones.

A psychological study noted that this so-called emotional self-disclosure to a responsive partner is what helps to bring you closer and is really important to creating a healthy relationship.

Research has also found that couples who can freely express how they feel not only have happier relationships but also feel happier in themselves.

2) You feel understood

Most of us expect from a romantic relationship a sense of deep connection.

We want to be truly seen, heard and understood.

Strong relationships are what help us to feel as though we belong.

When you are with someone who you care for, but who doesn’t seem to “get you” it can be very isolating.

Studies have shown that we feel happier when we feel understood.

Achieving this is a complex picture. But when you find it from your partner, it’s likely they tick plenty of the following boxes:

  • They can read your emotional cues
  • They get your points of view
  • They validate your feelings
  • They share your sense of humor
  • They have similar tastes and interests to you
  • They are good at listening to you

A big part of being understood comes from being embraced for who you are, as we’re about to see next.

3) You accept each other for who you are

It’s a common strategy when buying a house — you get a fixer-upper so you can mold it into your own perfect vision.

But way too many people seem to take a similar approach to dating.

They get into a relationship thinking that once they make a few tweaks to someone, they’ll be happy together.

This is not only unfair, but it’s ignoring the fundamental fact that we can’t change a partner.

In high-quality relationships, couples allow one another to be completely themselves. That means embracing flaws and weaknesses as part of it.

The truth is that we don’t have to like every single thing about our other half, but we do need to respect it’s part of them as a whole.

4) Your conflict resolution is on point

Arguments are inevitable. What counts is how well you fight.

When disagreements arise, you are more concerned with finding solutions than winning an argument.

Sometimes that’s going to mean concessions and compromise, on both sides.

But even when tempers fray, you try to hear one another out and give each other a platform to speak.

Conflict is pretty much always messy and uncomfortable, so that’s not to say feelings won’t get hurt sometimes.

But you both strive to fight fair. This helps to keep greater harmony and minimize the bad times.

5) You have your ups and downs, but there are way more ups

I’m always talking about how important realistic expectations are in a relationship.

It’s easy to get carried away with idealized visions of a happily ever after.

But the truth is that real relationships can feel a bit mundane or strained at times.

Having said that, over the course of your relationship there should always be far more ups than there are downs.

High-quality relationships are largely stable and steady. This allows you to feel secure.

No matter how much love there is, a connection that is plagued by fallouts and drama becomes toxic.

6) You inspire one another to grow and flourish

One of the things I value most about my partner is that he encourages me to be a better person.

A lot of the time he does that simply by being himself. The qualities that I admire in him, I want to emulate.

He also is my biggest cheerleader and is always on hand to support me in whatever I strive for in life.

The point is:

A high-quality relationship should lift you up.

You feel like you are a better person and have a better life, just for having them around.

The evidence shows that we’re far more content in our relationship in the long term when we feel like our personal growth is supported.

If you have an encouraging and enthusiastic partner who spurs you on to take on new opportunities and go for your goals — you’ve got a keeper!

7) You’re touchy-feely 

I’m not necessarily talking about your sex life.

It’s more about showing affection.

Those small gestures can really reassure one another and help you to feel more connected.

Often the more physically closer we get, the more emotionally closer we feel too.

This is backed up by research that found couples who hug, kiss, cuddle and massage each other often say they are happier and more satisfied together.

It was also shown to help you move on more easily from disagreements.

So there is a lot to be said for quite literally kissing and making up.

8) You’re on the same page when it comes to commitment

You are both heavily invested in your relationship because you want to be together.

There certainly isn’t a lopsided balance when it comes to devotion and loyalty. You are both ready for and happy with where you are at in your relationship.

How well we handle commitment depends on our mindset.

The truth is, just like anything in life, commitment can bring with it pros and cons.

Yet research has found that the approach we take towards commitment impacts the overall quality of our relationship.

When you see it as rich and fulfilling you unsurprisingly get more out of it. It doesn’t feel like a ball and chain tying you down.

Couples who take a positive stance to their commitment towards each other report feeling far more satisfied.

That’s why it’s a sign of a thriving connection.

9) Above all else, you’re nice to each other

Kindness, respect, and decency.

These are important elements that underpin any healthy relationship.

You show appreciation and don’t take one another for granted.

As psychotherapist Dr Stan Hyman points out, kindness amplifies connection.

“Kindness conveys caring. It isn’t passive or lazy. Taking the time to show you care means allowing your conversation and behavior to cultivate a tender, thoughtful, empathetic environment. Your willingness to put your partner’s needs first communicates the kind of support most of us long for in a relationship and solidifies your bond.”

10) You genuinely enjoy spending time together

A certain amount of independence within any relationship is really good for you.

Autonomy is what helps to keep those sparks of passion alive and gives you something to talk about.

It also reduces the risk of sliding into codependence.

But there’s also no denying that when you’re in a high-quality relationship you love to be together — and why wouldn’t you?!

As a consequence, this quality time is something you both actively prioritize.

It’s never a chore to make time for each other, because hanging out is your favorite thing to do.

11) You’re a team

Partnerships are about tackling life together.

The big things and the small.

This means you both pull your weight in the relationship. That goes for the emotional labor and the practical efforts too.

Never underestimate the power of a partner who is willing to do their share.

So much so that one poll noted that sharing household chores was one of the keys to a happy marriage.

Being a team also means you make decisions together. This helps to ensure you are pulling in the same direction rather than falling apart.

12) You’re pulling in the same direction

What I mean by that is your life goals are either aligned or at the very least, don’t clash.

Aka, you don’t want kids but neither do they. You believe marriage is important, so do they, etc. 

Sharing the same underlying values is also key.

The truth is that despite the saying that opposites attract, psychology disagrees.

Overwhelmingly it’s found that we like people who are most similar to us.

Scientists have seen that couples who respond to life in a similar way exhibit neural synchronization. And this is a predictor of satisfaction with your partner.

The strongest relationships have two people who want the same sorts of things out of life.

This makes your relationship much plainer sailing and reduces the chances of conflict.

One final ingredient…

People often suggest that if it’s really love, it should come easy.

They have a bit of a point, but not always.

Let me explain:

It’s true that high-quality relationships shouldn’t feel like a non-stop uphill battle.

The presence of really strong foundations makes it easier to work together and build a strong and successful connection.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t need to put in effort.

Effort from both sides is the final, but all-important, ingredient that ensures you both show up and keep on investing in what you have.

That’s how you know it will keep flourishing well into the future.

You both want it and are willing to put in the hard work for it.

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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