1. You go on a road trip together and still like each other at the end of it. Traveling together in general is a great test of a relationship. Packing, airports, cabs, foreign languages, etc. Being able to navigate all the potentially stressful aspects of traveling and still have a good time together is a huge green flag in my opinion.
“If you have someone you think is the one, take them and travel around the world. Buy a plane ticket for the two of you to travel all over the world, to places that are hard to reach and hard to get out of. And when you land at JFK and you’re still in love with that person, get married.” ― Bill Murray
2. The ability to apologize. If your partner never sees their faults, it’ll never work. Paired with that the ability to accept an apology and move on and not bring it up everytime a disagreement happens.
How Do You Properly Apologize To Someone?
A real, effective apology has 5 parts:
First, say what you did. Explicitly. And clearly. For example, “I was careless and accidentally broke your television.”
Second, apologize. This part’s easy. “I wanted to properly apologize for doing so. I’m incredibly sorry.”
Third, explain why what you did was wrong. “I should’ve taken more care and not been drunk.”
Fourth, explain what you’re going to do to stop it from happening again, or make it right. “I’m going to make sure I’m not drinking again at your place – there’s a lot of expensive stuff – and take more care in the future. I’m going to pay to replace it, as well.”
Finally: Ask if they’ll forgive you. “I hope you can forgive me, and again, I’m really sorry.”
This is an amazing life skill. Being able to properly apologize has saved relationships and jobs for me – a good one can salvage so many things!
3. You genuinely enjoy one another’s company during dull moments. Life’s full of them and you are going to want a partner who you can enjoy them with.
When my wife and I were dating, we started having “introvert dates” where one of us would come over and we’d just craft or work on projects in the same room, sometimes talking, sometimes putting a show on in the background. It was so cozy and domestic, like we already lived together.
4. If they respond well when you are dealing with a crisis situation, or when you are seriously ill, or when your family member is seriously ill, they may be a keeper.
In other words, how do they act/interact with you during times of stress? Does their presence/behavior help, do they make it worse, or do they make themselves scarce?
When my relationship was brand new, my boyfriend came over late one night to relax after playing a show. It was storming/down pouring outside and we were cracking open some whiskey.
Suddenly, my cat started yowling as if he was in pain and making frequent, unsuccessful trips to the litter box.
He has a history of kidney issues and I thought he may have had a stone lodged in his urinary tract – a pretty emergent issue! I apologized and said I needed to run him to the animal hospital ASAP. Our cozy night in is over “I’m so sorry, you can stay here if you want but I totally understand if you want to go home.”
My boyfriend didn’t miss a beat, refused to leave our side and helped me get my cat into his carrier. I was really upset/crying (my cat is elderly and the thought of him having an emergency procedure was so scary at the time!) but he treated both of us so gently and was a huge source of comfort.
He even took his *overshirt off and covered up my cat’s carrier so he wouldn’t get rained on on the way to my car, getting soaked in the process and not acting like he was bothered or inconvenienced.
I was completely taken aback and deeply touched – this was the moment I began to fall seriously for him. It’s been 3.5 years now and he continues to show deep compassion for people/animals in need, and is so helpful, comforting and wonderful in dark/stressful times. … Also, my cat was absolutely fine – the vet said he was just having an “off” day. A $400 “off” day.
5. Encouraging growth, but doesn’t try to change your foundation.
My husband is 100% the reason I decided to go to college at 25. He believed in me and encouraged me so much or I’d have never done it.. I kinda just did it on a whim too.
It ended up being a quick decision over the summer. I’ll be a senior next semester and applying to law schools and he has been so supportive, encouraging, and helpful this entire time.
Honestly, had I had the support from my family I’d probably already have been through college. I’m lucky I found him.
6. When, during an argument, both parties take time to listen and respond thoughtfully to their partner and show genuine concern for the distress in their partner, even if it is small.
My wife and I both pride our relationship on our handling of our disagreements. If either of us starts to get angry, we stop separate for a while then come back with cooler heads and iron it out.
The adage don’t go to bed angry I hate cause sometimes that cool down period helps. But you still have to be open and communicate what it is you are feeling and why.
7. Being able to make each other laugh. Understanding the other person’s sense of humor is critical in long relationships, and besides, do you really want to get serious with someone who can’t hardly make you laugh or smile?
8. They geniuniely like being able to do things to help you out and vice versa. They want you to be happy and you want them to be happy, and you’re both willing to work/make reasonable sacrifices to make that happen for each other.
9. About 4 months into my relationship I got injured. There was a chance that I wouldn’t be able to walk again. My then girlfriend now wife said “don’t worry it’s going to be okay, we can figure this out either way.” I’m okay now, but just knowing she was going to stay with me no matter what was huge. We’ve been together 8 years now. We have our challenges but at the end of the day we both know we’re there for each other.
10. They’re ok with spending time apart. A significant other (or even just a friend) that can spend their own time alone and doesn’t absolutely need you to be happy is a major green flag. You should make each others’ lives better, not become each others’ entire lives.
We just celebrated 15 years together and I believe this is the single most important part of us being happy together for that long.
We’re both hobby and career driven individuals that have our own workspaces at home where we like to escape and do our own thing.
We also often chill in the same room while doing our own separate things and just enjoying each other company.
Respecting each others needs to do things alone and not needing to do absolutely everything together is really the key to our relationship working as well as it does.
11. My husband and I have endless conversations. There’s nothing we can’t talk about. Nothing. The first time we ever chatted on the phone we talked for 6 hours.
We’ve been together for 15 years and STILL talk every day, several times a day. We love our breakfast time because we chat after eating and really enjoy each other’s company.
We love talking no matter where we are. And since he also works from home, we work together. There’s lots of times we’re saying nothing, just enjoying being around each other.
But I love that we can talk about anything we want and it doesn’t descend into an argument.
12. When you feel completely at ease with them. You feel you can totally be yourself. Love is fireworks at first but if they come with a warm glow rather that edginess, that’s a good sign.