I think it’s natural to compare your relationship to others.
But just like poisonous mushrooms and snake venom, natural doesn’t always equate to good and healthy.
That’s especially true if you’re comparing your relationship to fictional ones you see on the TV or movie screen. These are scripted, even a good part of the reality TV ones, and so they’re anything but natural anyway!
I know they say the grass is always greener in the other relationship, but it’s exactly that kind of thinking that can get you into trouble and start doubting what you already have.
This is the wrong way to assess your relationship. Instead, you should judge it based on how well it works for both of you.
Even though it doesn’t necessarily compare to what you think others have, you might find that your relationship is actually pretty darned great.
No problem – I can back it up.
Here are seven signs you’re in the right relationship, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
1) You’re able to be yourself.
One of the best signs that you’re in a healthy and positive relationship is feeling, no, knowing that you can truly be yourself within it.
You know how things normally go.
When you’re dating, you present only the best of yourself to other people to try to find a catch. But once you lick with someone and start to have a real relationship with them, things start to change.
They will learn that there’s more to you than what you initially presented, and not all of it is going to be as perfect as you’d like. There are going to be negative things that pop up, or at least things you might think are negative.
Your partner might actually like them even if you don’t!
So you end up showing the truth about yourself, and it’s the same for your partner as well.
Many relationships end at this point precisely because people don’t end up liking or at least accepting each other wholly.
That’s exactly why if you can be yourself, your relationship is actually quite solid. You’ve gone through one of the hardest tests and passed, which makes it much better than so many other relationships out there.
2) Your communication is respectful.
If you and your partner can communicate with each other in a clear and effective way and one that is respectful, then you’re actually doing pretty well.
Now, don’t forget that everyone’s idea of respectful communication isn’t necessarily the same.
Some people might think you should never swear in front of each other, while others will think this is absolutely normal. Some people think you should have lovey-dovey pet names for each other to show you care, while others think these are horrible.
Between you, you’ll work out a way of communicating, and only you will know if it’s healthy and respectful or not. You’ll know it is if you both feel respected and appreciated when you talk.
If your communication is full of insults, derogatory comments, insolence, spite, and condescension, then it’s not looking too healthy.
In fact, contemptible communication is a huge warning sign of a bad relationship.
3) You always give each other support.
You know you’re in the right kind of relationship when you’re both able to support each other.
I know what you’re thinking – financially!?
Well, not necessarily, but maybe.
There may be times when one of you needs financial help that the other can provide.
I lost my job during the pandemic, and my partner was there to help me out as her business actually thrived. But then, this year, things flipped around, and I was able to return the favor.
It can be about money, but more often about emotional support.
You cheer for each other. You give each other a shoulder to cry on when you need it and a helping hand when no one else will.
For things to be healthy, mind you, this support has to go both ways.
But if you can rely on your partner for support and they can rely on you, you’re probably in the right relationship.
4) You know how to work through conflicts.
Different couples approach conflict differently.
First, there are people who consistently ignore issues between them. This is certainly one way to deal with problems, or at least to avoid them.
I guess this method might work out fine if you’re in a casual relationship where you don’t really need to resolve everything. You can just let things slide because, ultimately, you’re not really committed to the other person.
Well, another way to handle problems is to constantly be at war.
We all know couples like this – people who can’t seem to stop fighting and rehashing the same old things.
Sometimes, you have to wonder if they don’t just love the constant sparring and struggling. They never seem to resolve any conflicts or overcome their problems.
Finally, there are couples who butt heads, argue, or even fight and then find some resolution. Either one side or the other concedes, or else they come to a compromise. They can also forgive and for-, well, move on, anyway.
If this is the type of relationship you’re in, count yourself lucky.
5) You can pursue separate interests and activities.
Why would having separate interests be a good thing in a relationship?
Aren’t you supposed to do everything together all the time? Aren’t you supposed to want to spend every waking moment together with your spirits perfectly aligned?
Hey, I know it normally feels that way in the beginning!
When you fall in love, you become pretty much obsessed with each other, and a moment apart feels like an eternity. Eventually, and thankfully, this calms down over time.
A great relationship will, of course, continue to include these feelings of strong urges of wanting to be together. But they also have healthy periods of time apart pursuing your own interests.
So you don’t lose yourself in the relationship and lose sight of your own needs and interests as an individual.
If your relationship allows you to take time apart and pursue your own interests, you’ve really got the right kind of thing going on.
6) You share the same values.
It’s perfectly fine and totally natural not to have all the same interests.
But what’s not great is if your values are very different.
In actuality, most people share most of the same values like family, dependability, kindness, integrity, self-respect, courage, altruism… the list goes on and on.
What’s not always shared is the level of importance of each of these values.
I have a friend who was raised in a large extended family and grew up ready to do absolutely anything for any of his relatives.
When his cousin got into hot water over some stolen cars, he actually lied in court to fabricate an alibi for him. However, he was eventually discovered, found guilty of perjury, and sentenced to six months in prison.
His girlfriend was furious. While she was justifiably upset about being left alone while my friend went to prison, that wasn’t the issue that made them split up.
It was that she believed what he did was wrong because she valued integrity more, while he believed what he did was right because he valued dedication to family more.
It’s not about who’s right – it’s about both of you agreeing who’s right because you share the same values. So if you and your partner do, you’re probably in the right relationship, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
7) You trust each other.
It’s often said that trust is the foundation of a successful relationship, and I think that’s absolutely true, which is why I’ve left the best sign for last.
If you’re truly able to trust each other within the relationship, you’re definitely in the right kind of place.
And if not?
One couple I know looks perfect from the outside. He’s rich, she’s gorgeous, and they have all the luxuries money can buy.
But they have a serious trust issue.
She won’t let him go anywhere by himself and has to keep him on a constant video call even when he pops out to the store. When he’s away on work trips, he’s constantly monitoring her and is paranoid that she’s cheating on him.
It’s a horrible situation that’s been rotting their relationship from the core for years.
So think about the trust you have and be grateful for it!
I know it might not always feel like a perfect, fairytale relationship, but remember that fairytales are just that. They’re fantasies.
There’s no such thing as “happily ever after,” but if you can get away with “happily most of the time,” wow, you’re really doing well!
If you recognize these seven signs, you’re in the right relationship; even if it doesn’t feel like it, then you should be very happy with what you’ve got!