Can your relationship last a lifetime? Have you finally found the person who you think is your person but you’re not 100% sure because you’ve never been in this place before?
Do you want to know what “forever” relationships look like so that you can compare yours and see if anything is missing? Do you want to live happily ever after?
If you answer “yes” to these 5 questions, you’re in a relationship that can last a lifetime:
1. Can you talk openly?
Can you tell your partner when you don’t like something that he does? Or that seeing his mother every Sunday is more than you would like?
Or that you don’t like extra sausage on your pizza? Or that that thing he likes to do in bed is just a little bit much for you?
I have a client who likes it when her partner reaches out every morning to say “good morning.” It’s very, very important to her. Has she told him this? No. Does he not do it every day? Yes. And, as a result, she’s always upset with him.
Good communication also has a flip side — that someone must receive what’s being asked of them with an open heart.
I’m not saying to just do whatever your partner wants, but I’m saying to be willing to listen to them, acknowledge what they’re feeling, and discuss an outcome.
Without honest communication, without sharing and listening, a relationship just cannot be healthy.
Truth is the basis of any strong relationship that will last and if you can’t tell your partner what you need, or be receptive to what he does, then your relationship is doomed.
2. Are you honest about intimacy?
The thing about intimacy is that, because you’re only having it with one person, your relationship with that person is different from your relationship with every other person in your world.
Your relationship is special because of the unique bond that is created by intimacy. And when there are issues around intimacy, it can be disastrous for a relationship. If they’re swept under the carpet and ignored, they can end for good.
Intimacy is different for everyone. Some people want to hold hands and hug. Some people don’t believe in PDA. Some people love PDA. Some people want to be intimate every day.
Everyone’s needs are different and when those differences become an issue, they need to be addressed.
Unfortunately, even for the healthiest couples, intimacy issues can be hard to discuss. But it’s important to address any intimacy issues that you might have right away.
I often suggest to my clients to start with what’s working before getting into what’s not. People like to be complimented and doing so paves the way for more discussion.
Talk to your partner about how you feel and figure out, together, how to make things work for both of you.
3. Are connections outside of your relationship healthy?
For many couples, there are issues from the beginning when it comes to their relationships with their significant other’s family and friends due to incompatibility.
In my last relationship, his friends and I just didn’t mesh. It wasn’t that they were bad people, I just didn’t like the way they did things and they weren’t people I would ever have chosen to be my friends.
But, instead of telling my boyfriend that this was an issue, I ignored it, hoping that things would change as time went on, or that he wouldn’t want to hang out with them anymore, that we would gravitate toward my friends instead.
Unfortunately, as time went on, nothing changed. His friends and my mutual dislike eroded our relationship. Ultimately, we went our separate ways because we knew that we would never be able to agree on what to do about it.
So, check in to see if you’re both on board with liking each other’s friends. You must do it. If you don’t, see if there are ways that you can work together to improve those relationships so that they don’t tear you and your loved one apart.
4. Is there mutual respect?
How can you love and like someone but not have respect for them?
It has happened to me before. I had a man in my life who I loved very much and liked who he was when we were together but when we were out in the world, I was mortified by the way he acted. He was truly a bozo, loud and obnoxious — and I could see him alienating people.
As time went on, this made me lose respect for him. And with lack of respect comes contempt — and there’s nothing worse for a relationship than contempt.
When one person in a relationship goes from respect to contempt, two things happen: The person who feels the contempt starts to look down on their partner, and the person who’s on the receiving end of the contempt starts to feel bad about themselves. Both things cause a relationship to die.
It’s only with the presence of mutual respect that a relationship can flourish and last a lifetime.
5. Do you enjoy time together?
This is a big one. Do you and your partner make an effort to spend time together? Or do you make excuses to not have to do so?
A client of mine would come up with every excuse in the world to not spend time with her husband. Once a week and on some weekends, she left her husband at home with the kids and went out and did other things.
She tried to come home after he went to bed so that she didn’t have to deal with him. She was happier being away from him than with him.
Guess what happened? She and her husband became profoundly disconnected and he started spending more time with a female co-worker who did want to spend time with him. That didn’t end well, as you can imagine.
If you don’t want to spend time with your partner then your relationship is not healthy. Talk to them and try to figure out what you can do to get more connected.
6. Do you feel good about yourself?
If you feel good about who you are in the world, if you don’t feel like you need someone to “complete you,” if you know that you will be just fine alone, then you’re in a place to have a healthy relationship.
While we don’t need someone to “complete” us to feel happy in a relationship, if you feel good about yourself in one then your relationship is healthy.
I have a client who believes that she’s in a healthy relationship with her boyfriend. After all, she’s always there for him, cooks, cleans, and has given up her time with friends to spend with him. And while she says she’s OK with that, truly, when she took a good look at herself she wasn’t.
She was twisting herself into a pretzel, trying to be who he wanted her to be, not who she was. And that was making her unhappy.
How are you, right now? Are you unsure of yourself and your worthiness or do you already know that you’re amazing and looking for confirmation that your relationship is a strong one?
The answer to that question will help you see if you’re in a relationship that will last a lifetime.
Knowing if you are in a relationship that will last a lifetime is an important part of moving forward together.
It might be challenging but asking yourself the hard questions about your relationship, whether there’s honesty, openness, and opportunities for growth is a key part of knowing if your relationship has a future or if you should walk away.
Keep this checklist close and review it regularly. If you see anything amiss, make an effort to fix it as soon as possible. Relationships can be irreparably damaged if they aren’t managed with care.
You can do this! It will be worth it.
Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be. Mitzi’s bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, and Psych Central, among many others.