6 subtle ways to know if your partner genuinely values you, according to psychology

Navigating romantic relationships is one of the hardest things we get to do in life.

They’re filled with uncertainty, games, mixed signals, interpretations, and different feelings at different times. It’s honestly a wonder that any relationships actually last for any appreciable amount of time at all.

But they do.

One of the reasons why, one that can outlive attraction and form the foundation of love, is appreciation.

When you appreciate each other truly and deeply, you can get past almost any roadblock. You might fight or run into barriers, but ultimately, your mutual appreciation leads you past them and on to a continued, loving relationship.

If you feel like you really appreciate your partner, that’s great! But it’s also one side of the story. The question is if it runs both ways.

Thankfully, we can look at six subtle ways to know if your partner genuinely values you, according to psychology.

These clues will help you know for sure and help you have confidence in the future of your relationship.

1) They put in effort

Some parts of a relationship might be easy.

You might share a similar sense of taste in movies and never have to squabble about what to watch.

You might be hopelessly attracted to each other and never have eyes for anyone else.

But just because these parts of your relationship seem to fall easily into place doesn’t mean every other facet will do the same.

You could struggle with finances, the number one cause of conflict in relationships. You might have different ideas about family, raising kids, housekeeping… you name it.

And these are the parts of your relationship that you’ll have to work on if you want it to really succeed.

Psychological research tells us that nurturing and facilitating support is a big part of putting effort into relationships. 

Does your partner help you when you’re trying to improve yourself? Do they work on the relationship and actively put in effort to work on your differences, improve how you interact, and even make concessions to you in their behavior?

If they do, this is a great sign that they really value you and will do what it takes to make the relationship work.

2) They speak to you with respect

What you think is respectful and what I think is might be very different.

However, with your partner, you’ll definitely have your own sort of language that represents what the two of you accept as respectful communication.

Most relationships start out in this respectful mode, but things can change.

As time goes on, you might start to relate to each other in ways that just aren’t as nice as they once were.

What happens in these relationships?

Well, one of two things is probably taking place.

It could be that you started off very polite and formal to each other. However, as time went on, you felt more comfortable and closer to each other, and your communication may change to reflect this.

An example of this kind of change might be realizing that you can comfortably swear in front of each other or use toilet humor. And this isn’t bad at all – it just means you’ve learned more about each other and adapted your communication appropriately.

What is a bad sign, though, is when your communication has changed to include expressions of contempt. 

Contempt means that you feel like the other person is beneath consideration or worthy of scorn. This might manifest in mocking, sarcasm, and withholding affection.

And according to psychologists, contempt is one of the leading predictors of divorce.

If your partner’s communication with you is full of respect, however, then you’re probably dealing with someone who really values you and wants to make the relationship succeed.

3) They avoid negativity

Couples run into trouble. That’s a given.

You might have external pressures like finances or family/cultural expectations that can affect your relationship. Or you might learn things about each other that surprise you and require you to work on acceptance.

One thing that makes relationships strong, though, is trying to keep things positive.

Negativity can gnaw away at any relationship, but positivity can keep things going strong.

One of the biggest manifestations of negativity in relationships is criticism.

According to psychologists, this is different from complaining.

When a partner complains, they focus on the situation or the event that caused their displeasure, But when they criticize, the focus is typically on the other partner and their shortcomings.

Imagine if you came home late and your partner complained that you didn’t let them know you’d be late, and now the dinner they were preparing was going to be substandard.

Alright, that’s complaining.

Now imagine that they added that you were uncaring because you didn’t think about them and that you’re always doing things like this.

Now, that’s a criticism that goes straight to your character.

There might be a subtle difference between the two actions, but it’s an important distinction.

And a partner who really values you for who you are is going to avoid these sorts of criticisms even if they still need to complain about some of your actions.

4) They support you when you’re up or down

One thing most people think of when they think of happy, secure relationships is support.

But there are a lot of subtleties to support.

Do you always support each other, even when you think the other person might be wrong? Do you support your partner when they’re down but feel like they don’t need it when they’re doing well?

It turns out that a subtle sign that your partner truly values you is that they provide you with support, whether you’re happy or sad, in success and in failure.

We always think of our partner helping to cheer us up and tell us they value us when we run into trouble. But according to psychological studies, it’s equally important for them to praise and celebrate our wins.

Imagine you come home from work and meet your partner. You tell them the exciting news – you got a promotion and a raise! – and they sort of shrug and say, “That’s nice,” in a way that makes you believe the opposite.

This kind of response can indicate resentment or jealousy. Perhaps they, too, have been trying to move up the ladder and haven’t had success. Maybe that makes them sore.

But a partner who really values you will put those feelings aside and celebrate your success. They’ll let you know that they believe in you and always thought you’d succeed from the very start.

5) They’re responsive to you


Is this the kind of response you get nine times out of ten when you say something to your partner?

Are they constantly engrossed in their favorite show or hunched over their phone? Or maybe they’re right there in the same room with you but they seem to be miles away.

Responsive partners, on the other hand, will pay attention and show you that they care.

According to psychologists, “They are warm, sensitive to their partner’s feelings, and want to make their partners feel comfortable, valued, listened to, and understood.”

Does this sound more like what’s happening in your relationship? If it does, this can be a subtle sign that your partner really cares about you.

Relationships that demonstrate responsiveness seem to be based on mutual compassion and tend to be much better than those in which partners don’t have a lot of time and attention for each other.

6) They have similar goals

If you want kids and your partner is absolutely dead set against it, you’re going to struggle to keep your relationship happy.

By the same token, if one partner wants to put their career first, climb the corporate ladder, and make millions while the other is more interested in maintaining a happy family life, things can be tough.

Having very dissimilar life goals can create big relationship problems. According to one study, when partners both feel their goals aren’t well aligned, they suffer from low relationship quality, and that’s linked to lower well-being.

In other words, misaligned goals have a major effect on your happiness.

When your goals align, however, you may hardly notice.

After all, there’s no big conflict to overcome or compromises to make. Things just seem to be easy.

This is a great sign that your relationship is healthy. It also means that your partner likely appreciates you and feels strongly aligned with you.

Final thoughts

These six subtle ways to know if your partner genuinely values you, according to psychology, can be big clues to the future of your relationship.

They let you know your partner is in it for real, so now you have to look at yourself and see if you’re giving off the same indications. 

If you are, chances are good that this is one relationship that will pass any test thrown at it.

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