When people see romantic relationships through the lens of a TV screen or in movies, they typically get the wrong idea of what actual, lasting relationships are like. Although the beginning of a relationship can be a lot like what you see in the movies, the relationships that last the longest become more “real” further on down the road.
In real relationships, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies, but both of you will always be able to count on one another. A real, lasting relationship withstands the ups and downs of life – both people usually come out stronger and feel even closer to one another than before.
IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP YOU’RE IN AT THE MOMENT, HERE ARE SOME SIGNS THAT YOUR RELATIONSHIP CAN TURN INTO ONE THAT LASTS:
1. BOTH OF YOU ARE COMFORTABLE SPENDING TIME APART
After a while of being together, you might miss your alone time where you spend a few hours in nature, read your favorite books, or take a yoga class. In the beginning of a relationship, you naturally want to spend as much time with the person as you can since everything about it feels fresh and new, and you absolutely love the person you’re with. Of course, you still feel the same about your guy or girl after a few months, but you might crave some time away from them occasionally to continue your own personal growth.
While your partner should be a huge part of your life, it’s important to make sure they’re not the only part of your life. Research shows that once a relationship becomes stagnant, people start to forget why they’re in the relationship to begin with, and look for a way out so they can feel that initial spark again with someone new. To avoid having this happen, hanging out with friends or spending time alone is important in keeping the spark alive in the relationship and being able to grow evenly during time spent apart.
If you’re able to do that in your relationship without feeling abandoned or feeling like you can’t trust your partner with how he or she spends time apart from you, you are most likely in a real relationship that has serious lasting potential.
2. YOU HAVE SIMILAR VALUES AND MORALS
In the “talking” phase of your relationship, you probably talked to your partner about your hobbies, interests, favorite memories from childhood, and what your family is like. Sharing these things with your partner helps them get to know a little bit about you as a person, and likely set the stage for a second date.
Somewhere down the road, you probably wanted to know them on a deeper level and get an idea of their core values and morals. If both of you have very different interests and hobbies, but connect on a deeper, spiritual level, you will have a higher chance of making a lasting connection than two people who have no core values in common. In other words, the way you choose to live your life should match up with how your partner chooses to live theirs. If both of you have the same outlook on how to handle finances, how to raise children, where to live, have similar spiritual practices, and have the same general outlook on life, you will probably be able to maintain the relationship in the long-term.
The main point to take from this is that hobbies and interests change, while core values and beliefs usually don’t. Having these in common is key to making relationships last, according to a study done by researchers at Michigan State University.
3. YOU HANDLE PROBLEMS EFFECTIVELY
In both relationships and life, problems inevitably happen, and knowing how to deal with them and figure out solutions together can strengthen your relationship – and keep it running smoothly. Realizing that you can tackle problems as a team and talk things through to solve the problem makes for a much happier and long-lasting relationship. If both of you have similar problem-solving strategies, and can get through the trials in life just as well as the triumphs, this type of compatibility sets the stage for a serious relationship.
Being able to see things from each other’s point of view and respect one another’s opinion while compromising when you need to makes relationships much easier. Most relationships end because of differences in dealing with financial problems or not being able to communicate with each other, but a sign of lasting relationships is being able to withstand life’s storms as a team.
A couple married for 75 years said that the key to making a relationship work long-term is communication, even if that means arguing in order to solve a problem. Whatever your style of problem-solving may be, if you are your partner can resolve things quickly and easily without too much conflict, chances are you have the ability to make things work in the future. According to Dr. Preston Ni, “Successful couples have the ability to solve problems and let [them] go.”
4. YOU CAN COMMUNICATE OPENLY
In order to make a relationship last, it’s important to be able to talk about emotions, problems, and ideas in an open manner without feeling judged or misunderstood. All strong relationships have three things in common: trust, commitment, and vulnerability, according to psychologist and relationship expert Meredith Hansen. Open communication certainly involves being vulnerable and committed to understanding your partner’s needs, and healthy communication is usually the key ingredient in the recipe for a lasting relationship.
If both of you can keep conversation flowing even after the first few months of the relationship, you will probably be able to keep open communication years down the road. If you feel you can talk to your partner about any topic, the relationship is likely to last. Communication is one of the most important elements to a lasting relationship.
WHAT OTHER SIGN OF A LASTING RELATIONSHIP HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED IN YOUR OWN LIFE? ADD TO THE DISCUSSION BELOW!