A new relationship is exciting and intoxicating. It’s easy to put on rose-colored glasses and see your new partner as perfect when all the feel-good chemicals are flowing.
Don’t let your desire for this relationship to work out obscure your common sense.
There are no guarantees in love. And having a stringent deal-breaker list only keeps you from risking your heart.
There is, however, one expectation you should have for any new relationship, one over-arching theme to your new romance, that is key:
If a new relationship is to last, you must feel secure — not only when you are together, but even after you’ve parted.
It can be challenging to identify that feeling, however.
The best-case scenario is to keep an eye out for issues that indicate this new relationship is headed in the wrong direction while tucking those rose-colored glasses into a drawer for use later on if things do work out.
Here are 7 signs your relationship has a solid, secure foundation.
1. You feel like yourself — and good about who that person is.
Pay attention to your feelings when you immediately part. Are you walking on a cloud? Or does your inner critic kick into overdrive, causing you to feel anxious as if you didn’t do anything right?
Feeling anxious or insecure that you may have blown the relationship or tearing yourself up thinking you’ve done something wrong is a red flag in a new relationship that must be examined.
If your feelings are out of character — for example, you consistently feel insecure and unsure of yourself even though you’re usually a confident person — is a severe red flag.
This new relationship is doomed if you regularly criticize yourself or if you find that you’re twisting into a pretzel in order to please them.
A healthy relationship inspires you to feel good about yourself and your life.
This “high” is a natural component of a new relationship. It is the fuel that keeps your relationship growing and evolving so be sure you don’t try to go without it no matter how hot they are — it won’t last.
2. Disagreements, when they happen, get resolved.
Conflict will arise in every relationship. You won’t agree 100% of the time with anyone. It’s not a red flag in a new relationship to have some bumps along the way.
This is all part of figuring out if this new relationship has legs, and if you can repair and reconnect after a disagreement.
However, if your conflicts regularly blow up into fights, it’s likely that the relationship won’t last and is not ideal for you.
You can’t resolve an argument by ignoring it and hoping it will just go away or by using sex to make up in an attempt to move on without cleaning it up. Your disagreements will become chronic and neither of you will feel safe enough to create emotional intimacy.
If you don’t speak up about the issues between the two of you, they will become a wall between your hearts that pushes you apart.
In a healthy relationship, both people take responsibility for their triggers and wounds.
By doing so they can create a strong bond by reuniting and reaffirming your love for one another.
Avoiding conflict and hoping it will magically disappear is never the answer.
3. The past never gets in the way of the present.
Everyone experiences heartbreak. Ideally, you take time to heal from it and move forward with renewed hope. However, it’s a red flag in a new relationship if one or both of you is still stuck on the past or feeling bitter and angry about an ex.
If your partner is constantly complaining about their ex, it could be a red flag in a new relationship. Maybe you’re the one stuck in the past and can’t let go of anger and resentment toward your ex.
It may be appropriate to get professional help to release those feelings.
If your heart is not open and ready to risk again, then it will be difficult for love to grow between the two of you. Rebound relationships are a huge red flag to look out for. Don’t settle for someone who is stuck licking their wounds.
4. Your infatuation adds to your life, rather than distracting from it.
Infatuation is intoxicating and all new relationships have the chemical high of “falling” in love.
It’s a red flag in a new relationship if you’re feeling obsessive and consumed with the relationship. Another red flag to look out for is if your partner wants to move the relationship forward quickly before you really know each other.
If you can’t stop thinking about your partner and can’t focus on other things in your life, it’s a sign there is an unhealthy dynamic between you. This is also true if your partner is obsessing about you and wanting to merge your lives together as soon as possible.
A healthy relationship feels grounding and inspiring at the same time like you have roots and wings. It’s OK to take things slowly and discover more about each other over time.
If you two are an ideal match, you’ll have the rest of your lives together, so there is no need to rush in.
5. You both maintain healthy boundaries.
Respectful love has a boundary. This means that you can’t treat your partner however you like just because you’re in a bad mood. Also, it’s unacceptable for your partner to blame you and make you the scapegoat of the relationship.
When there are no boundaries between you, then you can treat each other badly and place blame on each other. A lack of boundaries can mean that your wants and needs are unimportant and that your partner takes up all of the oxygen in the relationship.
Without boundaries, you’re in a co-dependent relationship. This means only one person’s needs are being met and the other persons are not. If you have to sacrifice your needs for the relationship… run!
Love doesn’t require sacrifice.
6. Your relationship isn’t trapped in a bubble.
Part of coming together in a new relationship is merging your lives together. You become a part of his group of friends and he becomes a part of yours. When the time is right, you both introduce one another to your families.
It’s a red flag if the relationship exists within an isolated bubble and you never become a part of each other’s inner circle.
Your relationship isn’t more exciting because it’s a secret. If someone is hiding you from the rest of their life, then what else are they hiding from you? There’s a lot to discover when you see how they interact with their friends and family as well as yours.
If your friends and family are not supportive of your choice of a partner, it could be an opportunity to take a deeper look at them. You could discover you don’t like who your partner is when they are with their friends.
How they behave with your family will clue you in as to whether or not they are capable of being your ally.
7. You share key values — and discuss them openly and with respect.
There’s a lot of focus on finding someone you’re compatible with when you’re dating. You desire to be with someone who shares your hobbies or who likes the same kind of entertainment as you.
However, you may miss what’s really important to evaluate if your love is to last — sharing the same goals and dreams in life.
Just because you both like the outdoors or share a love of Disneyland doesn’t mean that you want the same things out of life.
If you aren’t on the same page about the important things, then you will find it difficult to survive the inevitable curve balls life throws your way.
For a love to last over time you’ll need to be with someone who shares the same values as you do so you can work together towards a common goal.
In a healthy relationship, you take the time to discover what’s really important to each other. You discuss the hard things like money, spirituality, and your expectations for a life together.
That way when difficulties arise you can respect your different strategies for dealing with stress because you know you are on the same page.
Don’t let the rush of emotion blind you to the red flags in a new relationship that can sabotage your desires.
Taking a conscious approach to love can give you the insight you’ll need if the two of you have what it takes to create long-lasting, soul-satisfying love.
First published in Your Tango, https://www.yourtango.com/love/building-a-relationship-that-lasts