Open Image ModalStígur Már Karlsson /Heimsmyndir via Getty ImagesLook for these healthy habits in the early stages of a relationship.
When youre wrapped up in the excitement of new love, its hard to tell if the bond you share with your partner is the real deal or just seems that way because youre still in the honeymoon phase.
So how can you discern early on if this relationship actually has staying power or not?
We asked therapists to share the positive signs to look out for within the first six months of dating that could indicate whether the two of you have what it takes to go the distance.
1. You feel comfortable being yourselves around each other.
In the early stages of a relationship, people tend to present only the sparkliest versions of themselves, hiding anything that could make them seem less desirable in their partners eyes. But when you dont feel like you constantly need to impress your partner to earn their affection because you know this person likes you, warts and all it bodes well for your future as a couple.
If you can be yourself and feel comfortable letting your guard down and being you, the relationship is in good shape, said psychologist and sex therapistShannon Chavez.
That also means you feel like you can speak up when somethings bugging you, rather than staying quiet or only saying what you think your partner wants to hear.
If youre in a relationship where you feel you can be honest about how you feel, and your partner is able to hear it, support you and be vulnerable themselves, its an excellent sign of things to come, said marriage and family therapistJon-Paul Bird.
2. You consistently show up for one another.
You call when you say youre going to call. When you agree to do something, it gets done. If you commit to a plan, your partner knows youll stick to it and vice versa. You know you can count on each other for things big and small.
This indicates that each person is in the right frame of mind for a healthy relationship and that they are both on the same page, saidDeborah Duley, a psychotherapist and owner of Empowered Connections, which specializes in counseling for women, girls and the LGBTQ community. Consistency allows for trust to build, which then allows intimacy to grow because both partners feel safe and comfortable.
3. Youre forthcoming about your pasts.
While youre not going to unload all of your baggage on the first date, once youre in a relationship, its a good sign if youre able to slowly open up to each other. That might mean copping to a mistake youve made (like racked upcredit card debt) or struggles youve been through (like mental health orsubstance use issues).
It takes courage, maturity and inner strength to be transparent and vulnerable, even with our partner, about the not-so-positive aspects about ourselves, said Kurt Smith, a therapist who specializes in counseling men. These are positive qualities for building a relationship that will last and will serve you well as you navigate the ups and downs of life together.
4. You celebrate each others accomplishments.
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Couples with longevity always remember that theyre on the same team. One partners success shouldnt be threatening or jealousy-inducing. Its a win for the both of you and should be celebrated as such.
Be enthusiastic about each other and let them know how proud you are of their wins, efforts and direction, Bird said. One of the worst things to happen in a relationship is insecurity arising out of one partner succeeding.
5. You sincerely apologize to each other when youve done something wrong.
And no, Im sorry you feel that way does not count as a genuine apology. Two people who can take responsibility for their missteps, instead of rattling off a bunch of excuses for their behavior, are more likely to move through rough patches without lingering resentments.
We all make mistakes, say things we shouldnt have said, and can be selfish at times, Smith said. A simple, Im sorry is amazing in how healing it can be for a relationship. If youve got a partner whos willing to say sorry, thats a hard-to-find quality and strength, and you should do all you can to keep them.
6. Youre both good listeners.
When you try to talk to your partner, do they interrupt you, scroll through Instagram or watch Succession over your shoulder? Or do they maintain eye contact, respond thoughtfully and remember the things you tell them even the little stuff, like your favorite gelato flavor or the name of your family dog?
Showing youre willing to listen can be as simple as not looking at your phone when your partner is talking to you, being willing to mute the TV for a moment, or making time to have deeper conversations with all of the distractions turned off and giving each other your full undivided attention, Smith said.
Even during tense conversations, youre able to treat each other with respect. You actually hear your partner out, rather than half-listening while formulating your next point in your head.
This means that each partner listens to the other, honors how the other feels about things and is kind and compassionate in doing so, Duley said.
7. You share similar values and common life goals.
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For the relationship to have longevity, your major goals should be in alignment. If youre on the same page on what matters like your views on monogamy, your desires to start a family and your financial goals or habits you can avoid some major rifts down the line.
For example, if one person wants nothing more than to have three kids and the other is strictly opposed to having children there could be an issue, Bird said. If your partner says they dont want kids but you do, dont try to be cool and agree with them hoping that they will change their mind someday. That isnt fair to anyone.
8. When you fight, you fight fair.
Conflict is inevitable in any relationship. Having arguments doesnt mean youre incompatible, it means youre human. Its how you conduct yourselves during those heated moments that matters.
A good sign is that no matter how difficult the content, nobody gets nasty, nobody piles on unrelated grievances, and neither of you wants to win at your partners expense, said marriage and family therapistWinifred Reilly.Also key when its all over you have a reliable way to repair.
9. Youre adventurous and enjoy trying new things together.
If its less than a year into your relationship and things already feel stale between you, take note and take action. Because as the years go by, its only going to become more of challenge to keep things fresh. Couples who are already in the habit of changing things up by visiting different places, taking up a hobby together or making plans with new friends are more likely to go the distance.
Couples that can grow together, stay together, Chavez said. Exploring new things and having fun help keep the passion alive in a relationship. Set the stage for making adventure a part of your relationship
10. You spice things up in the bedroom, too.
No, that doesnt mean you have to indulge every one of your partners wild fantasies, especially any that youarent comfortable with. But keeping an open mind where you can and finding ways to satisfy each others needs will set you up for a fulfilling sex life for years to come.
You dont have to like all the same things but you can enjoy them as a form of intimacy, Chavez said. You are open to trying new things together and getting out of your comfort zone.
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