What's the difference between a relationship-ending disaster and a routine rough patch? These distinctions will vary a bit for every couple. But in general, there are some signs you shouldn't break up, even if things seem really bad at the moment. Sometimes you're in a strong relationship, and it'll make you both happier in the long run to stick things out.
First, a caveat: if there are any signs of abuse in the relationship, and you feel afraid, controlled, or isolated, then ending things is likely the best option, according to the Office on Women's Health. Is this an intimidating prospect? Use the tips for getting out of a toxic relationship as a starting point, courtesy of Bustle. Surrounding yourself with supportive people is also crucial.
That said, even clearly healthy relationships will have some speed bumps along the way. Learning how and when to deal with these issues — even if they're huge points of contention — is crucial for any long-term relationship. In general, though, a strong relationship will be able to withstand routine difficulties. Of course, trying to figure out whether your relationship is solid when you're in the middle of a conflict can make your head spin. To help, review these signs of a strong relationship, and see whether they apply to your current situation.
1. You Express Gratitude For One Another
An attitude of gratitude is the basis for most strong relationships. Research shows that expressing gratitude for one another in your relationship is crucial, perhaps as much as expressing your love for one another, according to the website for Women's Health. I mean, have you ever resented someone for being too thankful and appreciative of your efforts? Of course not.
2. You Both Speak Your Mind
In order to thrive, relationships have to exist in reality. That means you deal with difficult truths as they arise. Being able to communicate freely and speak your mind about most everything is important to relationship success, according to the website for Real Simple. Everything from political leanings to hot dog condiment preferences is fair game. (For the record: only mustard.)
3. You Celebrate One Another's Wins
How do you and your SO react when things go right in life? Offering enthusiastic support for your partner when they get a promotion, finish grad school, or even survive a difficult dentist appointment is important, according to the website for Psychology Today. Sharing in one another's triumphs tends to produce happier relationships overall.
4. Your Sense Of Humor Is Similar
Laughter can make up for so many problems. Sharing a similar sense of humor with your partner, and making up your own inside jokes, is the sign of a strong relationship, according to Business Insider. If you can laugh about most anything, then your relationship is that much more pleasant and grounding.
5. You Communicate Well
Sure, it's said in most every relationship article ever. But maintaining open, honest, and respectful communication is crucial for a relationship to last. “Strong relationships have great communication with one another and know how to have open and honest conversations with each other, even when it may be difficult,” licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Candice P. Cooper told She Knows.
Communicating openly with your partner, and not expecting your SO to be a mind-reader, is a fantastic sign. Sometimes you have to spell it all out, and that's OK.
6. Your Social Media Use Is Respectful
Destiny's Child said it best: "You know I'm not gon' diss you on the internet / 'Cause my mama taught me better than that." Using social media respectfully, and refraining from blasting your dirty laundry all over Facebook, is the sign of a strong relationship, according to the website for Glamour. Sure, those argumentative, public posts between couples are entertaining for the rest of the internet, but they're pretty destructive for the couples themselves. Disagreeing privately is more respectful, and a sign that you both truly value each other and your relationship.
7. You Share Similar Goals In Life
Are you and your SO on the same page about marriage, kids, and where to live? Great. Sharing basic life goals and values is the foundation of a lasting relationship, according to the website for Psychology Today. It means you're both pulling together in the same direction.
8. You Accept Each Other As-Is
In general, people in a healthy relationship accept one another as they are. You aren't secretly hoping your partner will change in a major way, according to the website for Cosmopolitan. It's a good sign if, say, you don't expect your freewheeling, artsy partner to straighten up and get a CPA license one day.
9. You Have Fun With Each Other
Don't underestimate the importance of joy in a relationship. Simply having fun together and playing is crucial for most relationship success, according to the website for Prevention. After all, who wants to be super serious all the time? That's bound to get boring.
10. You're Empathetic To One Another
Sometimes your partner wants a patient listener instead of a someone to offer advice. In these cases, being empathetic with your partner's struggles is the sign of a strong partnership. "Strong couples get curious about and engaged with each other's emotional worlds," relationship educator Kate McCombs told Thrill List. "They listen deeply without trying to fix them." You get emotionally involved in one another's worlds.
11. You Have Your Own Friends & Lives
Making your entire life revolve around your SO can be draining. Instead, maintaining your friends and hobbies outside the relationship is healthy, wrote Daylle Deanna Schwartz, author of Nice Girls Can Finish First, in HuffPost. It's important for your own mental stability, plus it gives you something new to talk about with your SO.
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