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Publications like Women’s Health and Cosmo always have “You know you’re with the one when…” and “8 Signs your relationship is going to last” articles, and they’re supposed to be our bibles to navigating love and the like.
Personally, though, I need some validation in knowing where this so-called love advice is coming from – what’s the author’s relationship history or status, and how do they really know if “cuddling while snoozing” or “liking the same wine” makes you destined for lifelong bliss?
Instead, after a series of long walks on a beautiful trail with my beautiful mama (married for 24 years and counting) and reflecting on both of our relationships, I’ve come to the following conclusions. Chime in if you agree, disagree, or have your own ways of “just knowing.”
1. “I’m free to be me.” You don’t feel like you have to try hard to impress your guy – you just want to impress. And you know that just being yourself will be the most impressive thing over anything else anyways. After all, if you’re going for the long haul, acting will get old fast; don’t get too into the idea of having a Hollywood-inspired romance.
2. “He gets me.” After numero uno, this one is oh so key. Your man shouldn’t just tolerate your quirks, like how you squeak when you laugh (guilty), break too many wine glasses (guilty again), or sometimes forget to get your hair out of the drain (strike three, I’m still guilty). He should be enjoying everything that makes you you – and vice versa – and accepting it as such. Squeaking means you’re really funny, broken glasses means a really good time, and hair in the drain means I love you enough to shower at your place. Right, ladies?
3. When he asks why you do a certain thing or feel a certain way, he’s not criticizing you – he genuinely wants to understand how you work.
4. You play it safe. Not as in being boring or not taking chances – that doesn’t help either one of you blossom. Rather, you feel safe and secure with him, and you can trust that you’d be protected and defended if needed.
5. You bring out the best in each other, beyond the “free to be me” mantra. It’s that sense of freedom and inspiration to be all you can be, to push yourself to achieve your goals. It’s not him pushing you; it’s knowing he’s got your back. He’s your personal cheerleader, encouraging and supporting you, helping to pick up the pieces as needed and dust you off for round two. And you want to return the favor.
6. The “C” word: Chemistry. When it’s hot, it’s on fire. You may not be able to explain it, but you can feel it.
7. You’re actually best friends. The quick test: You just aced an interview or you just got a parking ticket – who do you want to call first?
8. You’ve got matching (or at least compatible) senses of fun and adventure. I was always a waaaaay enthusiastic, spontaneous type. Some guys in days of past were like, “Whoa, turn it down a notch.” Um, no. No I will not turn down my natural spunk to appease your somber self. Whether you’re more of a night out on the town or night in on the couch kinda girl (or want the perfect balance of both!), you’ll benefit from having a love who feels the same.
9. You grow together. When two people come together and want to explore and learn and grow as a couple, I think it can really be magical. Most things are just better shared; it can all become part of your story together.
10. You have common values. On most of life’s biggies, you agree. Core values and beliefs are woven through and can affect much of daily life, so it’s easier if you’re on the same page. That being said, it’s not impossible if you disagree, so long as you respect each other regardless.
11. I lovelovelove musical theatre, but one lesson I’ve learned: Drama is for the stage, not real life. Keep it that way.
12. Your minor bumps to the ego don’t become major bruises to the relationship. When everyday disagreements arise, as they inevitably will at some point or another, you handle with care. If who’s-turn-is-it-to-wash-dishes turns into war, regular life crises could seriously squash your bond.
13. He hands you the spoon for the first scoop of B&J’s. That, my friends, is a great relationship.
What makes your relationship great? What are your must-have things, and what’s a no-go?
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