Did you know that the majority of romantic relationships start out as friendships? According to one study, two-thirds of relationships take this “friends-to-lovers pathway,” which can sometimes make the initiation into romance easier. This finding makes a lot of sense, given that a romantic connection growing from an existing relationship would have a solid foundation to start from.
No matter how your relationship began, having a foundation of trust and affection can help it stand the test of time. In fact, trust and affection are some of the key signs of a healthy relationship to look out for if you want your connection to last!
Wondering which other qualities make for a long-lasting relationship? Here’s some dating advice to keep in mind.
Your Relationship Is Built on Trust
Trust is a two-way street. For a relationship to have a solid foundation of trust, you both must be aware that neither of you would hurt the other on a physical or emotional level. You should also know that you have each other’s well-being and best interests in mind.
This means you never keep secrets from each other, whether that’s about your finances, your romantic interests, or anything else. It also means you implicitly trust your partner not to lie or cheat.
You Can Truly Be Yourself
Your relationship may be a major part of your life, but that doesn’t mean both of you shouldn’t maintain your individual identity within that relationship.
Even as you forge a lasting connection, being true to yourself is crucial. This means you should both encourage each other’s interests, tastes, and hobbies, even if you don’t share them.
You Show Fondness and Affection
In a healthy relationship, partners are often intimate with each other. Though the first place your mind might go when reading the word “intimate” is sex, that’s not the only form of intimacy your relationship needs.
In addition to sex, other forms of physical intimacy such as kissing or even hugging can also help create a lasting bond. Keep in mind that each person will have different physical and emotional needs, but the most important thing is that both of you are happy with the quantity and quality of affection you share.
As a bonus, it helps if the two of you have learned to speak each other’s love languages. The five love languages, first discussed in marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman’s 1992 book of the same name, allow both of you to express yourselves in ways your partner is most receptive to. This may mean that you focus on spending quality time with your partner to meet their needs, or that they often come to you with words of affirmation to meet yours.
You’re Open and Honest With Each Other
Couples in the best relationships are always open and honest.
This often means sharing yourself with your partner. Though you may be more cautious when it comes to sharing in your early days of dating, established couples should feel comfortable sharing their beliefs, feelings, dreams, failures, and more. You should feel like your partner is there to support you, no matter what your truth is.
In addition, you should never feel afraid to speak up when something is wrong. If your partner crosses one of your boundaries, it should feel easy to tell them how you feel.
You Communicate Well
Along a similar vein, good communication is the key to any successful relationship.
It’s not that you and your partner never disagree or that you avoid arguing. Instead, you should both know how to argue and resolve the problem at hand. This involves fighting fair while avoiding personal attacks like blaming or name-calling.
This doesn’t mean it won’t be challenging to talk about certain things. You may even agree to disagree on specific issues. However, at the end of the discussion, you should both walk away feeling heard and supported.
You Contribute Your Fair Share
Relationships are about teamwork. Both you and your partner should bring your strengths, abilities, and earnest support to the table.
All partnerships involve give and take. You do things for each other because you want to be there for each other, not because there’s a scoreboard in play or because you feel obligated.
Note that this give and take may shift back and forth over time. There will be moments when your partner needs more support than you do or vice versa, but you should both feel comfortable contributing what you can.
Your Relationship Still Feels Interesting
Once you’re over the “honeymoon period” of your relationship, it’s important not to fall into a stagnant routine. This can be tough when you’re both keeping up with your busy careers, personal lives, and even kids, but it’s also important for the future of your relationship!
Making time to try new things together on a regular basis can be a great way to stay focused on your relationship. It’s always a good sign when you find ways to surprise each other whenever you can, whether you’re trying new classes, sending each other special messages, bringing home a small gift, or showing up at their work for a lunch date.
You’re Satisfied With Your Relationship
One of the key signs of healthy dating is a sense of happiness and comfort in your relationship. If you feel satisfied with your partner and the life you’re building together, it’s a major green flag.
In fact, one landmark study revealed that the biggest indicator of a relationship’s quality is your satisfaction with it. In the words of the study’s lead author, “When it comes to a satisfying relationship, the partnership you build is more important than the partner you pick.”
If you’re happy where you are, it’s a great sign!
Look for These Signs of a Healthy Relationship
If you’re hoping that your connection with your partner will last a lifetime, be sure to consider these signs of a healthy relationship. The simple dating tips above, from establishing trust to feeling supported and satisfied, can be helpful green flags to keep in mind.
As you work to strengthen your relationship with your partner, don’t forget that Marriage Myth is here to help. Our site has plenty of expert advice on dating, marriage, and lasting connections.