9 subtle but definitive green flags in a relationship, according to psychologists

If your relationship has many green flags, you’ll be happy and thriving and know you have something special. 

Red flags, however, create the exact opposite: a crappy relationship.

But sometimes, we think green flags are these huge gestures or public shows of love everyone’s meant to see. Like your partner is supposed to show their love in a way that lets other people know how special your connection is. 

It can be a good sign if this is the case, but what’s even better is when your partner is a green flag within the privacy of your relationship. 

You know, those intimate, maybe even subtle things they do that show they value and love your presence in their life. 

Wondering if your relationship has these?

Well, it’s a subtle but definite green flag if…

1) Your partner really listens to you.

Having a partner who genuinely listens to you is a big green flag. 

I’m not talking about the “uh-huh” and “yeah” responses while they’re scrolling through their phone…


This is about when they put the phone down, make eye contact, and show they’re really interested in what you’re saying. It shows they respect you, and they’re also really trying to understand your feelings and thoughts. 

Let’s say you come home after a stressful day at work and start venting about your annoying coworker…

Instead of brushing it off, your partner asks questions, validates your feelings, and offers support. They might even remember the coworker’s name and bring it up later.

Feels pretty good having someone there for you, right? 

Active listening builds trust and emotional intimacy, which are the foundation of a healthy relationship.

If your partner constantly interrupts you, dismisses your concerns, or makes conversations all about themselves, the opposite will happen. 

2) Your partner is reasonable when handling conflict. 

Like listening, talking can also happen in a good or bad way. And when it comes to issues in your relationship, you’d want conversations to be calm.

You see, conflict is inevitable in any relationship. 

But having a partner who is willing to communicate openly and work towards a solution that benefits both of you shows real commitment.

If your partner resorts to shouting, name-calling, or stonewalling during conflict, they’re not emotionally mature and probably have no desire to grow together.

Aka, red flag! 

3) You feel included in your partner’s life. 

Whether your partner invites you to their monthly family barbecue, introduces you to their gaming buddies, or simply keeps you in the loop about their day-to-day whereabouts, being included in their life is a definite green flag. 

These actions not only show they’re not afraid to show you off and want to share their experiences with you but also that they want to build a shared life together

Your partner shouldn’t compartmentalize your relationship, and if you ever feel like you need to beg to be included in their daily life, run! 

Exclusion can lead to resentment, feeling isolated, and questioning your partner’s role in your life. 

4) Your partner puts effort into finding out what makes you happy. 

Another subtle but huge green flag is when your partner shows a genuine interest in the things that make you happy, even when they’re not into them. 

You tell them how much you like hiking? Suddenly they want to learn more about it or even plan a trip.

You show them your paintings? They surprise you with new art supplies or suggest visiting an art gallery. 

This kind of behavior means your partner has a genuine interest in you and what you do to feel happy. 

It’s a sign of respect and a willingness to support you in these things, which strengthens your emotional bond.

5) Your partner respects your independence.

youre in a relationship with a highly intelligent woman 9 subtle but definitive green flags in a relationship, according to psychologists

According to psychology, another relationship green flag is when your partner understands how important personal space and autonomy are. 

If you have to fight for some alone time, you’re not in a healthy relationship

Your partner should get why you need some time away from them and not make you feel guilty about it. 

Having time for yourself allows you to self-reflect, which can reduce stress and ultimately benefit your relationship.

6) Your partner handles stress well.

Instead of freaking out or shutting down, does your partner stay calm and collected when they’re under stress? 

That’s a green flag!

Approaching stressful situations with a level head is a good thing. 

If your partner can handle stress well, it shows they know how to regulate their emotions. 

And according to psychology, partners with high emotional intelligence help create a more stable and supportive relationship. 

Having a partner who handles stress well means resolving issues won’t be an issue. 

I used to be with someone who would panic whenever he had a work issue, which made him think and communicate unclearly. 

This then created stress between us. And the end was never good. 

If you’re with someone who can calmly think of plans instead of being angry and anxious, it’s a good thing. 

7) Your partner shares responsibilities.

Whether it’s household chores, planning activities, or managing finances, if your partner does their share and helps you with all the responsibilities, it’s a green flag. 

Most people are stuck in relationships where their partner refuses to pitch in and share the load. 

If you’re in one where this comes naturally, you might not even think it’s a green flag. 

But according to psychology, when partners are willing to share responsibilities, it shows their partnership is based on equality and mutual respect. This also leads to relationship satisfaction and less stress. 

Does your partner cook dinner when you’re busy or tired, or just so you can have the night off?

Does your partner help with cleaning without being asked?

Does your partner participate when you’re planning a trip or a party?

Answering yes is what a true partnership should look like. 

If your partner expects you to handle everything and asking for help always ends up in a fight, resentment will build. 

8) Your partner respects your differences. 

They say opposites attract… but what happens when one partner tries to change the other?

When you first meet someone, it’s normal to glance over your differences, not realizing how big of an impact it could have on a long-term relationship.

But the truth is, having different interests, beliefs, or backgrounds can lead to a lot of tension and conflict if partners don’t understand and respect different thinking. 

So, if you’re in a relationship where you can enjoy whatever you do without having to explain yourself all the time or get criticized for believing something different from your partner, it’s a subtle but definite sign that your partner respects you

9) Your partner is consistent.

You know how when you first meet someone, and they plan all these fun activities or really make an effort, even if it’s just a quick call or text to see how you’re doing?

When this stays consistent for weeks, then months, and then years into your relationship, it’s a major green flag. 

Consistency shows commitment. 

A partner who only makes an effort sporadically or when it’s convenient for them can make you feel uncertain about your relationship.

I have a family member who’s dealing with this right now. 

When she and her husband met, he planned fairytale dates, surprised her with little gifts, would call and text throughout the day, and made her feel loved with foot massages or back rubs on a random Wednesday night after work. 

Now, he rarely does anything. 

She has to beg for date nights, he doesn’t buy her anything anymore, and if she hears from him during the day, it’s a miracle. 

She feels undervalued and often questions whether he’s still committed to their relationship. 

Life gets busy, and there isn’t always as much time for these kinds of gestures a few years, and even kids down the line, I get that. 

But according to psychology, consistent effort builds trust and shows that partners value their relationship and are dedicated to its growth.

So, if you’re in a relationship with someone with more red flag traits than green ones, the chances of healthy growth are slim.

Relationships can’t thrive if respect, trust, and effort are missing.

I know it’s hard to let go when you think you’re in love with someone, think you don’t deserve better, or have a real fear of ending up alone, but when it comes to choosing your lifelong partner, you need to see green flags waving high.

Picture of Natasha Combrink

Natasha Combrink

Nats is a writer who loves creating content for purposeful brands. She enjoys spending time outdoors, crafting, and diving down rabbit holes. After rediscovering life, she wants to help others live to their full potential. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.