It’s finally happened. You’ve met someone who lights you up in ways you didn’t believe were possible. Better still, this person seems to feel the same way. Now come the inevitable questions, in quiet moments when the whirlwind of excitement lets you briefly touch ground again:
Can I trust this? Will it last?
Some say when love is for real you simply know it in your gut — no need to involve your head. While it’s true that intuition is a powerful player in romantic decision-making, it’s not the only one. Here are seven concrete signs to help boost your confidence that your relationship is likely to last:
It’s no accident that, when we describe romantic attraction, we frequently use the word “magnetic.” Two magnets with properly aligned poles are hard to keep apart — while opposite ends resist each other. A couple that cuddles at every opportunity — with or without sex on the agenda — can be sure the attraction is genuine.
You communicate well.
That doesn’t simply mean you talk and listen. Real communication happens when you truly begin to know each other, to see each other clearly in the stories you tell and the views you express. Your relationship is likely to last when it ceases to be hard work to understand your partner and to feel understood in return.
You respect each other.
Respect is an elusive word that is best defined in the behavior it fosters when present. It is the precursor to all sorts of necessary traits in a healthy relationship: unassailable loyalty, a sense of equality, mutual support in tough times, and forgiveness after inevitable mistakes. People who share mutual respect, for instance, never speak ill of the other in public, or fail to defend them when others do.
You fight fair.
A hallmark of a resilient relationship is not the absence of conflict. Disagreements happen, sooner or later. You and your partner are on solid ground if you are able to take opposing positions — and defend them — without resorting to scorched-earth tactics. Couples destined to stay together guard their words and actions carefully, especially when emotions run high.
You never let hard feelings fester for long.
Sometimes, it’s healthy and helpful to walk away from an argument for a time, to let tempers cool. But couples most likely to stay together never leave it at that. You may never see everything eye to eye, but a respectful détente, in which you lovingly agree to disagree, is always possible — and necessary to long-term resilience.
You work together.
Your relationship has far more staying power if you set common goals and strive to reach them as a team. That applies to big picture things like career advancement and finances, but is equally true of the mundane tasks of daily life: emptying the trash, doing laundry, or cooking dinner. Sharing the work of life enables you to share in the rewards as well, without the specter of resentment.
Your sex life is (really) good.
Lots of mutually enthusiastic sex has a dual role to play in boosting your confidence that the relationship is likely to last. First, like cuddling, it offers evidence that the attraction you feel for each other is real and has an ample fuel supply. But, in a more active role, frequent sex floods our bodies with oxytocin, which researchers have dubbed the “love hormone” for its proven ability to strengthen “social bonding” between lovers. In other words, healthy lovemaking makes love more likely to last.