Few relationships last forever – but don’t all of us dream about finding “the one” who will truly love us forever? A person we’ll be truly happy with – for years and years to come?
Every relationship is different, and we all need different things from our partners.
But even so, if a relationship is going to last, there are some very clear signs from the get-go that things are going to work out.
Just like there are some warning signs the person you’re dating isn’t the one for you!
Want to know if you and your partner are headed for decades of happiness? Here are 10 signs to watch out for!
1) You spend quality time together
One of the most important things you need in a relationship is quality time together. What defines “quality time” is different for every couple.
It could be lounging on the couch chatting with a hot chocolate. It could be going for a forest walk every Sunday. Or it could be going on a dinner date once every week.
But what isn’t quality time is when you feel distracted or alone when you’re with them. Like if you simply hang out on your phones or watch them play video games.
Sure, spending downtime together is important. But it shouldn’t be the only time you ever spend together if you want a relationship to last.
2) You laugh with each other
Couples in happy, healthy relationships have fun together. They laugh with each other, do fun things together, and feel a genuine sense of joy around one another.
They don’t feel sad, angry, or lonely whenever they’re with each other. Nor do they feel like they have to walk on eggshells, or that the other person simply doesn’t get their humor.
Even if you don’t have all the same interests as your partner, you should still find ways to laugh together. If you don’t, this could be a bad sign.
3) You spend time apart sometimes
Too much time together can lead to a codependent relationship. But time apart keeps the spark alive and helps the two of you maintain your individuality!
Something a friend said to me once was that if her parents ever split up, her mum could handle it, but her dad couldn’t.
Her mum had her own friends, hobbies, and self-care routines outside of her relationship. But her dad just had her mum. When he was off work or she was out, he’d stay home and wait for her to return.
He divorced her mum a few years later. He blamed her mum for how he didn’t have a full life. But really, he was unhappy because he didn’t maintain his own life outside of her for so long.
Time apart is just as important as time together in a happy relationship. Having a little time and space to yourself gives you room to grow, reflect, and maintain your independence outside of the relationship.
But too much time together? It can have the opposite effect!
4) You can tell them anything
When you’re dating the right person, you should feel comfortable enough to tell them anything. You should be able to tell them your most embarrassing story, and they wouldn’t think less of you for it!
Likewise, you should be able to tell them your biggest regrets, and they should listen and try to understand.
You should even be able to tell them your deepest, darkest insecurities, without feeling like they’re going to leave you or throw them back in your face later.
If you feel that way, you have a relationship that’s going to last.
But if you hold back more than you speak up, and omit details for fear of them judging or leaving you, this isn’t so good…
5) You are both equal partners and contributors
Everyone has different preferences for their relationship. Some people like to be spoiled, while the other spoils. Others like everything to be 50/50.
Whichever way you prefer, you both should be on the same page about how much the other contributes.
One shouldn’t be giving and constantly unhappy with how little the other is giving back (and how much they’re taking).
Likewise, one shouldn’t be sleepwalking through the relationship, while the other begrudgingly puts in all the effort.
But if you’re both happy about the contributions the other makes, it’s a good sign for your future together.
6) You work through your arguments
What happens when you and your partner argue? Does it end with you both falling asleep and never talking things through?
Or does it end with them giving you the silent treatment? Only for the argument to resurface again later because you’ve never really dealt with it?
If so, this isn’t a good sign.
But if you and your partner work through your issues – talking things through after an argument, and coming back together afterward – there’s a high chance you’ll be happy in the relationship decades later!
7) You trust what they say
A relationship is nothing without trust. I caught a guy I was dating once out on quite a few lies. Eventually, I stopped trusting anything he said.
And eventually, he ended things because of my trust issues (although I definitely should have broken things off way sooner!).
Because there’s no way a relationship can last if you don’t. And if it does, it’s going to be an unhappy situation for the both of you.
You can still have some trust issues from your past in a happy relationship. But your partner shouldn’t be making them worse. They should support you to work through it, rather than get defensive and put all the blame on you.
But if you trust what your partner says is true, and you work on any trust issues you have together, your relationship should be able to (happily!) go the distance.
8) You tell them the truth
Trust goes both ways. To have a happy relationship, you need to be just as honest with them as they are with you.
You shouldn’t be lying to your partner about anything in your life, even the little stuff. You shouldn’t be holding back bits of information either (that you know you shouldn’t be holding back on).
Sure, you don’t have to tell your partner everything. Going into detail about your past relationships isn’t necessary. Nor is being too brutal if you don’t like their new coat (that they love).
But you should maintain a consistent level of honesty. And if you tell them the truth, and they feel like you do, this is a good sign for your future happiness together!
9) You respect them
Two people need to have an underlying respect for each other to be happy together.
Signs you’ve lost respect for your partner could be if you (or they) are:
- Constantly late to agreed meeting times
- Always breaking promises
- Cancel plans all the time
- Belittling towards you
- Don’t care about you or their safety
- Disregard your views, opinions, values, and beliefs
- Continuously cheat on you
As an example, a friend of mine kept taking her cheating boyfriend back whenever he apologized. After a year, she confronted him on how she felt like he didn’t respect her.
And he agreed. He said he knew he could continue to break his promises and she’d take him back, so he saw no reason to “do better”. That was when it ended.
The moral of the story is: two people have to respect each other if the relationship is going to last. If you disagree with your partner sometimes, this is normal – provided you don’t go too far with disrespecting their views.
Just like if you need to cancel or change plans on occasion, an apology and acknowledgment about the changed plans is a sign of respect.
But if those things don’t happen? It probably isn’t going to be a very happy relationship long-term.
10) You love them wholly
Love isn’t all you need for a relationship to last. Two people can love each other so deeply, but still be wrong for each other if other things are missing.
But still, you need to actually love each other if your relationship is going to happily last for decades.
And it won’t just be surface-level or materialistic things you love about them. Like their popularity status, wealth, physique, or hairstyle. Because those things will change over the years.
But the person they are deep down isn’t going to change. And you need to love that person wholly and truly if your relationship is going to withstand the test of time (and if you’re going to be happy about it!).
Ultimately, there’s a big difference between a relationship lasting forever and a relationship happily lasting forever.
I’ve known many couples who’ve been together for decades – but aren’t exactly happy in their relationship with each other.
Couples need certain things to truly be happy – those things being trust, respect, and a whole lot of love.
If you and your partner don’t have these things right now, you might’ve just lost your way a little. Or it might be a sign that things aren’t quite right in the relationship.
And if you’re unhappy now, it’s unlikely you’re going to be happy in the future. And it might be time to call it quits…