When you are in the honeymoon phase, it is easy to lose sight of a few red flags and succumb to the dopamine and oxytocin rush. Worry not – we are here to give you a reality check by discussing the early signs of a good relationship! When you are starting a new relationship, be aware of your connection in four spheres – emotional, physical, intellectual, and shared interests/activities.
If you want to be each other’s partner for life, then you should feel comfortable and safe with each other (emotional), feel sexually satisfied if sex is important to you (physical), engage in mentally stimulating conversations (intellectual), and enhance your bond by partaking in activities together (shared interests).
If these are present in your relationship, then you needn’t fret. However, if these encouraging signs of a good relationship are (somewhat) missing in your romantic relationship, then read on to get an idea about the areas of improvement in the daily folds of your life.
What Is A Good Relationship Supposed To Be Like?
Having the same interest in films, music, art, and literature isn’t the only prerequisite of a perfect relationship early on; it doesn’t guarantee a wholesome and sustainable connection for the long term. Your relationship need not be perfect, but it HAS to be satisfying, happy, and entail healthy relationship boundaries. The holy grail of every romantic bond, here are the foundational qualities of a healthy relationship:
- Trust: This is the foundation of all human connections. In the case of an intimate partner, the ability to be yourself, be vulnerable, explore your ideas, share your thoughts, fall back on – almost everything in your life depends on trust. You should also be each other’s safe space and emotional support system. You shouldn’t have to think twice before opening your Pandora’s box and divulging your secrets
- Commitment: This is one of the most important things in a relationship. In an ideal relationship, partners are committed to their life together. This commitment helps partners take accountability of their actions, become a better partner, resolve conflicts, and overcome difficult times together
- Accountability: In a typical relationship, there are many moments when both partners falter. It becomes important to take accountability and say the magic words of “I am sorry” or “I love you” when needed rather than play the blame game. How else would one learn and move on from a fight?
- Boundaries: Healthy relationships need clear boundaries and respect for each others limits, desires, needs, and wants. Partners need to give each other space so that one’s individuality thrives. This also includes the role of consent related to sexual intimacy as well as various other decisions in the relationship
- Communication: Healthy communication is one of the signs your relationship will last. You should be able to communicate your concerns, worries, and every other thought without hesitation. There cannot be trust, accountability, setting of boundaries, or conflict resolution without communication and openness between a couple
- Intimacy: Other than physical and emotional intimacy that people tend to often emphasize on, it’s also mental, intellectual, and experiential intimacy with your partner that makes the connection stronger and deeper. A strong bond is resilient in the face of difficulties and passage of time
- Equality: You need to be on the same page regarding all aspects of a life together with a romantic partner. Be it household chores, financial responsibilities, decision making, physical space, etc., the needs of both partners should be met equally. There should be equal give and take in the relationship
What Are The Early Signs Of A Good Relationship?
People often focus on the bad aspects of a relationship. There is very rarely any discussion about the signs of a good relationship early on. In a utopian world, every romantic relationship would be hunky-dory and there would be no conflicts or challenges. Sadly, this is often not the case in the real world and therefore you need to be aware of the signs of a good relationship early on to gauge if it’s worth the emotional investment.
For a secure romantic relationship, both partners need to work on their shortcomings and put in constant effort to make it work. Keeping in mind the 7 foundations we discussed earlier, let us look at a few signs of a good relationship. It would help you understand the position you are in currently and plan accordingly.
1. You both want more than just sex
If your partner acts mechanical and detached after sex, then it is not a sign of a healthy relationship. Physical intimacy can be the central focus of a relationship if it’s casual or you are just hooking up for carnal pleasure. But if you want something long-term, then casual sex won’t seal the deal. If you want to know how much he loves you, observe his body language.
A good amount of pillow talk which need not revolve around sex, and of course, post-sex intimacy which can be anything from holding hands to cuddling to eating together or reading a book together are signs that this relationship is what you want.
2. You share multiple interests
Contrary to popular belief, couples with opposite personalities do attract each other. And accommodating other’s differences is an opportunity to learn and grow, than being an obstacle to a happy life. But sharing interests and hobbies make for a great relationship as well. Common interests make it possible for both to become activity partners and spend more quality time together.
Imagine how exciting it would be to discover a new poet or a new artist from your favorite person or having intellectually stimulating conversations over your shared interest in cryptocurrency, climate change, or geopolitics. However, it’s not a law written in stone that if you don’t have the same hobbies, it won’t work out. Dissimilar interests can also work if both respect each other.
3. You don’t give the “I am busy” excuse
No matter how busy you are in life, you can always spare a few moments to call/text your partner. Irrespective of the timeline of your relationship, always put in the effort to nurture it. Responding to texts in a reasonable duration, showing up for weekly/monthly dates, having quality phone calls every now and then are positive signs in the initial stages of a relationship.
Most people start taking it for granted after a while and it’s just not the right attitude if you want to be in a long-term relationship. Being there for each other even if you are busy is one of the biggest signs your relationship will last. A recurring “Oh I was too busy” is a huge red flag.
4. You both listen and communicate
Does your partner scroll through their phone or give one-word answers when you talk to them? Are they distracted or mentally absent when you are talking? If they do, then know that this behavior doesn’t fall under the signs of a healthy relationship and you both have serious communication issues.
Foundations of a good relationship entail both partners listening to each other patiently and remembering important details about each other. Also, good communication is necessary even while having a fight or during tense situations – fleeing from the situation or being passive-aggressive is not a healthy way to deal with confrontation, or effectively resolve conflicts
Related Reading: 11 Ways To Improve Communication In Relationships
5. You are comfortable opening up
It’s natural to want to impress your partner during the honeymoon phase of your relationship but if you do that to appear more desirable all the time, then it’s certainly not an encouraging sign of a good relationship. You’re hiding your true self and cannot be authentic. What’s the point of a relationship if you can’t let your guard down and discuss your past with your loved one? If there is understanding instead of judgment on both ends, then it’s one of the signs your relationship will last.
6. You celebrate their achievements
Celebrating each other’s accomplishments and rooting for the other is clearly one of the positive signs in the beginning of a relationship as it helps develop connection and trust. This in turn helps to strengthen your relationship. Sometimes we tend to be insecure about our partner’s achievements but remember that at the end of the day, they are coming back home to YOU.
If you are in this for the long haul, then it’s time to let go of those jealousy-inducing thoughts and realize that you two are on the same team. Be enthusiastic about their successes and wins and acknowledge their persistence, hard work, and talent. If you both find it easy to feel happy for your partner, you can rest assured your relationship is healthy.
7. You make a genuine apology when it’s your fault
A partner who isn’t controlled by their ego and is willing to say sorry when they have made a mistake is a keeper. Not keeping a score and a genuine apology are classic early signs of a good relationship. Avoid curt replies like “Okay,” “Never mind,” and “Whatever” when you are having a fight.
If you and your partner take responsibility for your actions and are always accountable, then your future together is bright and sustainable. Disagreements are natural in any relationship, but bear in mind that a healthy couple fights fairly and tries to understand the other’s perspective.
Related Reading: 5 Apology Languages: Guide For Choosing The Best One
8. You try out new things in the bedroom
Sexual compatibility goes a long way in sustaining a relationship. It’s one of the encouraging signs of a good relationship if you are on the same page about kinky ideas and sexual fantasies from the very start. You might have fantasies that include a threesome, using sex toys, or being kinky in public – whatever it is, it’s important that you are able to reveal them to your partner without hesitation. Being unapologetically yourself in the bedroom is one of the key early signs of a good relationship.
9. You have mutual respect
Not trying to impose values or decisions on one another is another early sign of a good relationship. When there is invalidation of feelings between partners, you cannot respect each other’s viewpoint. Don’t be too opinionated or rigid in your views; agree to disagree and don’t try to change one another. Give each other the space to pursue their own interests. Some people quote examples of mutual respect, more than love, as indicators of a healthy relationship.
10. You share similar values and life goals
Even if you don’t have the same passions and hobbies as your partner, the relationship can work. Problems arise when there are dissimilar life goals and values. A good relationship includes thinking on similar lines. It is a distress signal for your relationship if you can never meet your significant other halfway on such vital things.
Let’s take the case of children for example. If one of you wants children and the other doesn’t, ultimately, somebody must compromise, right? Also, if partners have different religious beliefs, then problems might arise as an atheist and a theist usually view life differently.
11. You two don’t have trust issues
A secure sense of attachment in both partners is one of the perfect early signs of a healthy relationship with boyfriend or girlfriend. If your past relationships have been positive, you have a high probability of having a heightened sense of maturity regarding attachment or commitment.
However, if your relationships have mostly been volatile, you could have trust issues that would affect your romantic relationship and you might be looking for signs of gaslighting even when they are telling the truth. When you treat each other well, can rely on each other, and find comfort, solace, and security in each other, then it’s a sign your relationship will last.
12. You both are financially sorted
When both partners are financially independent, it promotes harmony in their equation. Not having to ask your partner to pay all the bills and run the house leads to uncomplicated romantic lives. If one partner is financially dependent on the other, they can quarrel amongst each other over financial security, responsibilities, loans, mortgages, and whatnot. Things can become quite ugly if the topic of financial dependency is broached during a fight.
Unless, of course, you have a conventional outlook and one seeks to be a homemaker and the other a breadwinner. In this case, you both understand and respect each other’s sought-after roles (and full-time jobs). In other cases, it’s best to have your individual incomes sorted and have complete control over that aspect of life. Mutual financial independence might just be a sign that this relationship is what you want.
Related Reading: Sharing Expenses In A Relationship – 9 Things To Consider
13. Your efforts are consistent
Things that make a good relationship have to do with commitment toward making the relationship work. Consistency paves the way for trust which, in turn, makes a couple more intimate with each other. Keeping your promises is probably the best early sign of a good relationship. Call when you said you would call and don’t cancel plans at the last minute.
Make sure that you both initiate regular conversations, spend time talking about how your day went and try to come up with date ideas that are fun. You must be familiar with the adage “Actions speak louder than words”? That’s it … let your actions speak for themselves. Let your efforts show.
- Healthy relationships need trust, commitment, accountability, and a respect for boundaries
- Open communication, an all-rounded approach to intimacy, and equality in relationships are other important building blocks of a healthy, loving relationship
- In a typical relationship, it’s not necessary to like all the same things, but partners must value each other’s differences and share some common interests to make spending time together easier. It is, however, helpful to have similar values, ideologies, and life goals
- When it’s a good match, a couple is comfortable opening up, sharing adventures, apologizing, and cheering each other up
- Happy couples have mutual respect. They don’t make excuses and show commitment toward making efforts in the relationship
A relationship can be deemed unhealthy if the negatives start outweighing the positives. Some red flags include being micromanaged and controlled, having to give up things you enjoy or love, not having space, having to neglect other relationships, feeling obligated to spend time with each other, lack of communication, and physical and/or emotional abuse.
While abuse should be a no-go, some of these problems can be worked upon through proper communication, understanding, and patience. Don’t be too harsh on yourself or your partner if you are going through a relationship crisis. Try to assess the root cause and work on it. A skilled counselor can help you get to the bottom of your issues, work through them, and steer your relationship in the right direction. With Bonobology’s panel of licensed and experienced counselors, the right help is only a click away.
This article was updated in February 2023.