After the honeymoon phase, most relationships can go through a down period. Some couples view this as a negative, but even if you’re not going on weekly date nights anymore, there are signs your relationship is doing better than you think.
While the chocolates and sweet midnight text messages were cute in the beginning, deep, meaningful relationships are about how you treat each other as individuals. Yeah, there are going to be some differences and annoyances, but as long as you respect each other and always remain as a team, then things are fine. According to Psychology Today, psychiatrist Abigail Brenner, M.D., said, “Caring, kindness, support, encouragement, and empathy are the watchwords of a good and loving relationship. There is simply no room for rudeness, meanness, jealousy, insulting, degrading, blaming, guilting, criticizing, judging, or physically acting out, especially when the object is one’s partner. Those boundaries cannot be crossed.”
Being in a committed, healthy relationship goes beyond being romantic. It coincides with helping your SO when they need it most and knowing how to push through the hard times together. Not sure if your relationship is doing well or not? Here are 11 signs you and your boo are doing better than you think.
1. You Laugh Together A Lot
In addition to sex, laughing together is a great way to indicate that there’s still intimacy in your relationship, whether you’re laughing about old times or you’re showing each other cute little cat videos. “OK, so you’ve been together for a while and passion isn’t what it once was, but it’s somehow morphed into shared laughter and little inside jokes. This is a great sign that you’re happy together and you know how to lift each other’s spirits,” says psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina PhD in an interview with Bustle over email.
2. You Can Talk About Things Without Fighting
Communication is vital if you want to make a relationship last. It can take a lot of work, but if you’re willing to step it up, especially during a fight, then you and your SO are doing just fine. “If you keep each other informed of both the good things and the problems on a regular basis, nothing will get out of hand or become too dramatic to solve easily. Couples who can turn their squabbles into discussions know a crucial skill for happy long relationships,” says Tessina.
Check Out: Be Heard Now, The 5 Secrets of Effective Communication, $3, Amazon
3. You Express Love, Kindness, And Sweetness
“The relationships depicted in the media (and probably your own parents’ relationship) do not model kind, loving and considerate behavior very well. Although the press may be bored by politeness, kindness and happiness, those traits make your partner and your relationship flourish and blossom. Consider kindness to be the lubricant of your communication; and expressing love to be the fertilizer that makes the relationship bloom,” says Tessina. It’s important to treat your partner with respect. Doing so can prevent contempt from growing in the relationship — which is a total deal breaker.
4. You Care For Yourself & Your Partner
Sometimes it can be hard to find a healthy balance of individuality and dependence in a romantic relationship. Your relationship probably works if both of you are each pulling your weight. “You guard against sacrificing too much by making sure you care about yourself, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. You guard against narcissism and selfishness by caring about your partner in the same four areas. Achieving balance in these areas is the best way to ensure that your relationship will thrive, and no one will carry too much resentment, which is the only emotion that can destroy love,” says Tessina.
5. You Build Upon Your Differences
“All couples are made with two different people. No two people in the world are just alike. And, after working with hundreds of couples, I’m convinced opposites often do attract. But, great couples learn to build upon those differences. They build upon each other’s strengths and let each other minimize their weaknesses. ‘Two are better than one’— the author of Ecclesiastes says — and great couples live this truth,” says Beverly Hills sex and relationship psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish in an interview with Bustle over email. A healthy relationship works when you stop criticizing or judging your partner for how they do things. You embrace their differences and encourage them to do the same.
6. You Both Extend Grace For The Minor Annoyances
It’s unrealistic to say that you never get annoyed with your partner. But even if you do, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. It just depends on how you deal with those annoyances that matters the most. “Can we just be honest? People do stuff that gets on our nerves at times. That’s true of all of us — even with the people — maybe even especially with the people we love the most. Great couples have learned not to let those little things distract from the major things — like love and commitment,” says Walfish.
7. You Serve Each Other
Whether you constantly take out the garbage and he/she constantly cleans the bathroom, as long as you have an agreement and don’t resent each other for taking more of the workload, then your relationship is doing better than you think. “There are no 50-50 splits of responsibility in a great marriage. Great couples learn to sacrificially serve one another. In the best relationships, it would be difficult to judge who serves one another more. There may be be times one gives 100 percent, because the other can’t give anything. And there are other times the other spouse gives 100 percent. And neither complains when it’s their turn to give all,” says Walfish.
8. You Both Prioritize Your Time Together
“Great couples spend time together. Life is busy for all of us. These couples schedule time together. They find things to do that each of them enjoy. And, they say no to other things that would keep them from having adequate time together,” says Walfish. When you truly care about a person, you’ll find a way to make time to hang out with them. Even if it’s just a few hours after work making dinner without using your cellphones. Quality time is important to unify the bond between you and your SO.
9. You Don’t Keep Secrets From Each Other
You’re probably in a good relationship if you and your partner don’t let each other’s pride or insecurities get in the way. People in healthy relationships don’t hold secrets because they’re afraid of what their SO is going to do or say. “There are no hidden issues among great couples. They are vulnerable with each other. Both partners open themselves up to the other person completely,” says Walfish.
10. You Publicly Support Each Other
It’s never easy to get in a heated argument with your SO, but it’s OK if it happens every once in a while — it just depends on how you go about it. “Great couples are supportive of each other in public. They don’t tear each other down in public. They handle private issues in private,” says Walfish.
11. You Keep No Record Of Wrongs
You know your relationship is doing great when you don’t keep track of all your SO’s wrongs. No one is perfect. No one. And the best way for a relationship to flourish is by simply embracing your SO for who they are and learning to be patient when something does go wrong. “Great couples learn to forgive. There aren’t any lingering issues that haven’t been resolved,” says Walfish.
Sometimes it can be hard to realize your relationship is doing well or not because you’re not seeing it from an outsider’s point of view. And sometimes it can be easy to compare your relationship to someone else’s. But don’t. If you notice that you have half of these signs going on in your relationship right now, then it’s probably doing better than you think. Relationships are all about hard work, so keep trying and learn to grow together as a team.
Happy shopping! FYI, Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which were added independently from Bustle’s sales and editorial departments after publication.