When I was first told that love and war were synonymous, I never quite understood why. But as time passed and I became tainted by heartbreak, I realized that love can actually be a battlefield if not done right. Since I don't think I ever properly healed from being hurt so many times, I can admit to looking for every bad quality when dating someone new instead of noticing the little signs a new relationship will last. As a result, I end up unintentionally sabotaging potential relationships and try to brush it off as the guy just not being "the one."
Although some of the reasons why I've ended relationships are valid, I can honestly say that paying attention to the wrong qualities has been the main culprit of their ultimate demise. In an interview with Romper, online dating specialist and chief editor of Flirt.com, Alex Reddle said that those in new relationships should only be worried about the four spheres — physical, emotional, intellectual, and shared activities — to make relationships last longterm. She explains that you should be able to have great sex (physical), feel safe (emotional), have thought-provoking conversations (intellectual), and enjoy traveling together (shared activities) if you're looking for lasting success in your relationship. Though I'm aware that it may take some time to change my negative thinking, now that I know what to look for, I'm dedicated to searching for these aspects in my next partner.
Need a little more info on how to know if your new relationship will be able to stand the test of time? Here are 21 signs that you should be looking for.
1. The Respect Is Mutual
Couples consultant and coach Lesli Doares tells Romper that having mutual respect in your relationship is a sign that it will last. "You both feel like your perceptions, feelings, and viewpoints are heard and accepted," she says. "You don’t have to agree but there is no attempt to change the other. Feeling discounted or, worse, being denigrated does real damage."
2. You Both Take Accountability
According to relationship therapist Kimber Hershenson, couples who hold themselves accountable for their actions have a better probability of lasting because it shows that they care. "If you or your partner says or does something wrong, apologize," she tells Romper. "Acknowledge what your part was and discuss what you could do differently in the future."
3. You Both Have A Viable Income
Clinical and forensic counselor and Bruce Cameron tells Romper that when each partner has their own income, that is a sign that the relationship can last. "Even early on, money can be an issue," he says. If only one partner is focused on financial security, arguments can occur about responsibility and your future.
4. You Have Similar Sleep Patterns
According to New York-based matchmaker Bonnie Winston, new couples should have similar sleep patterns in order to increase the chances of a lasting relationship because it creates a closer bond. "If one likes to stay up late and the other doesn’t, it's hard to make it work longterm," she tells Romper. The same can be said if one is an early riser and their partner isn't.
5. Neither Of You Are Overly Anxious
Dating and relationship expert Broderick Boyd tells Romper that not being overly anxious about things is a great sign that your relationship is built to last because it shows that there is trust. "Having a hard time being apart from the other person, texting more than fives times a day to check in, or getting nervous when the other person doesn't text back within the hour are all signs that the relationship won't last," he says.
6. You're Kind To One Another
California-based therapist Tamika Lewis tells Romper that thriving couples are kind to one another. "Kind relationships are absent of hurtful sarcasm, mockery, and indifference otherwise known as contempt," she says. "Engaging in positive communication that is kind, honest, and direct is a sure sign that your relationship will last."
7. You Can Open Up Without Fear
Doares also adds that opening up to your significant other without any fear is a good way to know that your relationship will last. "Intimacy is based on trust and trust is based in safety," she says. "If you have to watch your words, your actions, or certain subjects are too difficult, the relationship will not be based in authenticity." You should be able to communicate effectively with your parter in order to survive all of life's challenges together.
8. You Are Intimate With One Another
Hershenson says that having a strong sense of intimacy with your partner is a good sign for your relationship because it builds connection. "Even non-sexual touching builds connection between partners," she tells Romper.
9. You Share The Same Values
According to dating expert and author Kevin Darné, sharing the same values as your partner increases the chances of your relationship lasting. "The goal is to find someone who shares your same values, wants the same things for the relationship that you do, naturally agrees with you on how to obtain those things, and last but not least have a mutual depth of love and desire for one another," he says. "Compatibility trumps compromise."
10. You Feel Good Around One Another
Though it may sound simple, Boyd says being able to feel good around one another is a primary sign that your relationship will last. "The presence of at least 60 percent positive emotions while partners are together and less than 40 percent negative emotions is one of the most powerful indicators that a new relationship will survive the test of times," he says.
11. Your Desire To Be Around One Another Continues To Grow
Clinical psychologist Wyatt Fisher tells Romper that a growing desire to be around one another as a predictor for a lasting relationship. "Usually, the more chemistry and compatibility we feel with someone, the more we want to spend with them," he says.
12. You Never Threaten The Relationship
According to relationship expert, author, and assistant professor of UCLA's School of Medicine, Stan Tatkin, new couples hoping for a lasting bond should steer clear of threatening their relationship. “The most important take-away, in a secure-functioning relationship, is to never threaten the relationship or each other,” he tells Romper. “Secure-functioning is when two people have each other’s backs and are looking out for each other as if their lives depended on it." Threatening to leave or end a relationship can fear and anxiety later down the line.
13. You Can Be Yourself
Lewis adds that having the ability to be yourself in a relationship is a key factor in making it last. "It's no fun holding back on being the real you," she says. "If you're with someone who embraces all of you — odd behaviors, wonky sense of humor, night guard and all, you've likely hit the relationship jackpot."
14. You Celebrate Your Differences
Though many couples think that being different can bring too many issues into the relationship, Doares says that it can actually be positive. "Yes, you may be disappointed or not like something your partner says or does but, if it’s part of who they are, you will need to accept it if the relationship is to last," she says. "This doesn’t mean putting up with inappropriate behavior or always having to do things your partner’s way. It’s about deciding that you get more from being in the relationship than what it costs you."
15. You Are Both Selfless
"There is no quid pro quo," Cameron tells Romper about lasting relationships. "One does things for the other partner out of a sense of respect and regard — even if it is early in the relationship."
16. Your Friends And Family Approve
Lewis adds that if your family and friends are on board with your relationship, it may be on the fast track to success. "It makes for a smoother transition into the next stage of your relationship, which may be cohabitation or marriage," she says.
17. You Like Your Partner's Body Scent
Reddle adds that the scent of your partner can make or break your relationship, too. "People are animal creatures, so physical aspects affect us on subconscious level," he says. "Scent is one of the strongest sensory organs."
18. You Trust Each Other
"It is difficult to be vulnerable and share problems with others," Hershenson tells Romper of building trust in your relationship. "So, when a partner is able to open up to you, it is important to not break their trust. When told something in confidence, you both do not share the information with anyone — not even your best friend."
19. You Both Fantasize About Your Future Together
If you find yourself thinking about how life will be down the line with your significant other, you'll be able to see it come to fruition, Fisher says. "Usually, if you're really falling for someone you'll start having involuntary fantasies about your future life together and how wonderful it could be."
20. You Forgive
According to Tatkin, being able to accept and forgive your partner is a major factor in having a lasting relationship. He recommends correcting any wrongdoing or harmful exchanges quickly without placing blame to see your relationship be its best.
21. There's No Contempt
Adding to his above points, Boyd tells Romper that the exemption of contempt in a relationship is great way to keep it healthy and lasting. "Any signs of contempt from either partner in a romantic relationship is one of the biggest indicators that a new relationship will fail," he says. Treating your partner how you would like to be treated is a good way to steer clear of brining that toxicity into your lives.