It is hard work to build a relationship. After you have moved beyond the initial phase of infatuation, also known as “the honeymoon stage,” reality begins to sink in, and you begin to understand who they are and if they are right for you.

However, it can be hard to spot the signs, especially if you have never been in a long-term relationship.

What should you sacrifice for your partner? Is it important if your interests aren’t in line? What if you disagree a lot?

Kate Moyle, relationship psychotherapist and host of The Sexual Wellness Sessions podcast, believes that compromise is the key to any successful relationship.

“It will always be a struggle between the individual needs and those involved. We shouldn’t expect that we’ll be perfectly aligned on everything.

How well you can compromise with your partner is how well you fit in the relationship.

According to dating coach James Preece, the right person will help you be your best self.

He says, “They’ll reassure and pay compliments and let you know just how incredible you are.”

Don’t let your partners make you question your thoughts or appearances. That’s a red flag that something is not right.

A good partner will want you to be happy and not doubt yourself. Preece says, “If you believe in yourself, you will never need to doubt anything.”

They will be a good listener

No matter how boring or interesting it may seem, a good partner will be attentive to what you have to share.

Moyle says that while it might be a sign that you are listening to your coworker’s rant about their work colleagues for most of the evening, it is important for them to feel heard.

“The ability to listen to each other and give space to the other to feel heard, even though the topic of the discussion may not be of interest to you as an individual, is a sign that the person deserves our attention and time.”

You have similar core values

It doesn’t mean that you have to share the same interests as your potential partner. Sometimes it’s better to have different interests than your potential long-term partner. It gives you something to discuss.

Preece emphasizes that you need to be in a long-term partnership with someone if you want to have a lasting relationship.

He says, “You are all a team. You need to be on one page.” This requires that you and your partner agree on the most important things in your lives.

You might have your opinions on children or where you want your family to go. Or simply your way of living your life. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s important for you, it should also be important for your partner.

You have healthy discussions when you disagree

Arguments in a relationship are not always a bad thing. Moyle says that arguments can actually be a good thing, depending on how they are handled.

She explains that not every discussion has to be an argument. You can express your opposing views with the right person without causing a breakup or causing damage to your relationship.

“Each other’s views should be validated, even if they are not compatible.”

Moyle says that this shows you are celebrating one another as individuals and is a good practice to be able discuss the challenges and opportunities in life.

You aren’t afraid to tell them what’s on your mind

Preece says that there is no need to judge if you’re with the right person. Or at least it shouldn’t.

He says, “You should be free to express all aspects of yourself.”

“If you have a thought, it is better to express it quickly than to keep it in a bottle.

“The best part is that if you do this with someone who cares about you, they will be able listen to you and help you when you are having a problem.”

They offer you their undivided attention

There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of speaking to someone and noticing they’re scrolling through Instagram.

The right partner won’t do that, says Moyle. “They will be completely present in your company, which is an important part of human connection and demonstrates our value to that person.

“So often we are distracted by tech, screens and notifications. But attention plays a big part in forming meaningful connections.”

Your friends and family love them

Although it might seem obvious, if you and your loved ones get along well with the person you are dating, it is usually a good sign.

Preece says, “The people around will be great judges of character and probably understand you better than yourself.”

“It is normal for them to be cautious and initially suspicious about the people they are dating.

“If they are your partner’s biggest fans, you have chosen a great one.”

They do little things for you

“It’s normal for them initially to be suspicious of the people they are considering dating.

“If they are your partner’s biggest fans, then you have chosen a great one.”

To be romantic, a gesture doesn’t have to be extravagant. Sometimes, it’s the subtlest gestures that matter the most.

Moyle says, “You don’t have to spend a lot or spoil your partner to show that you care about them.”

“It could be a cup of tea in bed at night, cooking dinner after a long day or a text.

It can be meaningful to reach out for your hand even if it is just once. These gestures are usually an indication that someone cares about you.

[This article first appeared in July 2020]

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