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What Are Subtle Signs of a Great Relationship?

A great relationship usually takes about many years of living together. Because, each partner learning to work with their own emotional responses so, that they can remain accepting and supportive for each other. And only some of them can achieve this. Good communication is vitally important in any relationship. Be specific and ask about issues such as faithfulness, and what each of you thinks is and is not allowed when it comes to the opposite sex. Nothing is agreed to unless it is discussed.

But there are signs that someone might have the potential to make a relationship work. Unfortunately, it takes a couple of years together for our brain-chemistry high of being “in love” to die down enough that we start to be our real selves around them, they start to be their real self, and we both start to see and understand each other with any clarity at all.

Those who:

  • Are reliable and honest, even when they would not get caught being dishonest.
  • Are caring and kind-hearted, even to strangers and those they have no interest in or benefit from.
  • Have parents who have modelled for them how to get along with each other well.
  • Are able to work with their anger, pain, irritation, frustration, etc. and do not take it out on others.
  • Are not too self-centered, ambitious, or materialistic. but not self-indulgent or lazy either.
  • Do not engage in criminal activities, are not mentally-ill, and do not have a substance abuse or anger problem.
  • Do not seem to think that the solution to their own uncomfortable emotional reactions is for you to change. They won’t bully you, punish you, threaten you.

Love is found not in how we feel. Feelings are inevitably a self-centered concern with how happy we are. Love is found in how we treat each other, especially when angry or hurt, and especially when we have a strong impulse to follow an urge that might end up hurting our partner. So, we resist. Unfortunately, until our brain chemistry goes back to normal and our resulting biochemical high dies out, we are not in a position to see. How we will treat each other once the honeymoon phase has died out. Many marriages break up between 1 to 3 years into the marriage. Often, once the high dies out, so do our ‘feelings” and interest. Because it was only our high that we were “in love” with, and the high is temporary.

Chemistry is only 11% of what makes it work, and it does this only by making us want it to work. Good communication is more important.  If we have enough emotional maturity, self-honesty and emotional skill, we can then accept our partner. They feel loved and cherished. Each partner must be able to accept each other, or they risk losing the relationship.

What are signs you shouldn’t get into a relationship?

  1. You’re insecure. Especially, if you date an attractive person. Yes, there will be other people eyeing your significant other. However, you should be able to trust them. If anything, you being insecure is only going to confirm your own worst fears.
  2. You’re too dependent. Yes, love is nice, but you shouldn’t put your partner on such a pedestal you don’t see them for who they really are. A relationship is not something that supersedes two people and the independence in their lives. Your narrative went on before they came, it’ll go on if God forbid, they leave. Love yourself before you make such a commitment.
  3. You’re too lazy or fixated on instant gratification. A relationship, or at the very least, a meaningful and long-lasting one, is something that requires a lot of patience, hard work, and sacrifice. You don’t just love someone for their strengths. You love them despite their weaknesses. In order to facilitate true understanding, you must be patient, empathetic, and compassionate. Don’t just give up at the slightest road block. Commit to them.
  4. You don’t have anything going for yourself. To bridge off of point two, you should be your own person. Have your own money, your own hobbies, your own life. Spend time with your other loved ones. Spend time by yourself. It’s okay to be apart. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
  5. You don’t have basic life or relationship skills. Things like communication, compatibility, consistency, diligence, faithfulness, honesty, respect, responsibility, and trust come to mind. I think that these are traits that translate well to any relationship. Or in other words, universally lauded traits. Don’t be in a relationship with someone you’re not compatible with. Don’t be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t want to commit to understanding you.

Besides formal conversations and making significant life-changing decisions and commitments together, there are subtler signs of when your relationship is becoming serious. These include:

1) Trust. One of the most important signs that your relationship is getting serious is when you feel you can trust your partner. You feel secure in your love and aren’t constantly having to look over your shoulder to make sure they aren’t checking someone else out or texting with an ex. And while all relationships have ups and downs, a strong one is open and honest, during both the ups and downs.

2) Making your partner a part of your world. When you and your partner have a private world that only the two of you share, your relationship is getting serious. Being vulnerable with your partner and feeling safe with them is a sign of true intimacy.

The time you spend including your partner in your world is also key to a strong relationship. This can be introducing your boyfriend or girlfriend to family and friends, and inviting him or her to a work event and sharing your interests and hobbies.

3) Caring gestures. You know it’s getting serious when your boyfriend or girlfriend takes the time and goes the extra mile to make you happy. Small gestures show you care. Surprising your partner by making a special dinner, bringing them flowers, and getting tickets to the symphony or ballet are little things that mean a lot. Simply asking how your partner’s day went is also a way of supporting each other and showing caring as well.

4) Public displays of affection. A relationship is starting to get serious when you and your partner feel comfortable showing affection in public. Holding hands, kissing, and a protective arm around your partner are signs you are secure in showing your love to the world. Another way to proudly show your together is introducing each other as “girlfriend or boyfriend” or your “significant other”.

5) Feeling like you can relax and be yourself with your partner. Your relationship is getting serious when you feel like you don’t have to be perfect around your partner. You can drop whatever façade you show the world and be yourself. You can hang out with your partner wearing sweat pants with no makeup on because you feel accepted and aren’t afraid of being judged.


Jeff Campbell