You actually like each other
It sounds like a no-brainer, but happy couples really, really like each other. "There should be an awareness that this is your best friend, the person you like, love, and with whom you want to share your life," says Antonia Hall, MA, a psychologist, relationship expert, and author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life. "In a good, solid relationship both people encourage and bring out the best in each other."
You respect each other
Without mutual respect, you can't have trust, honesty, friendship, or intimacy. "Mutual respect is one of the core relationship partner needs, and it's something that is often looked over in the dating process," says Laurel House, a dating and empowerment coach on E!'s Famously Single. You'll be surprised by these other secrets of happily married couples.
He is the first person you want to call when you have good news—or bad
You just got a huge promotion and the first thing you want to do after you find out is call your mate. You don't want to talk to anyone more than him when something good happens in your life. And if something bad is going on, you'd rather chat with your partner about it than anyone else. "Look at the favorites in your phone," says Brooke Wise, founder of Wise Matchmaking. "When he or she gets to number one, that's a pretty good sign. It doesn't happen overnight, but when it does, consciously or unconsciously, things are going quite well."
She doesn't judge you
You can be honest with her and vice versa and never feel like she's judging you. "No one wants to feel judged, especially by their sweetheart," says Hall. "Judgment can lead to feelings of resentment and contempt, both of which are hard to conceal and erodes the relationship. When couples can celebrate, or at least genuinely tolerate, each other's differences, it will foster a happy, healthy and solid relationship." Are you a judgmental person? Here are tips to stop being so judgy.
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Your squad loves him
"We're often impacted by our social circle's influence, and having your friend's seal of approval on the person you're dating can provide peace of mind that significantly enhances the relationship," says Hall. How do you know they really like him? When you get together, he's invited, too. And, while you're friends aren't the ones dating him, "it makes group get togethers easier and more fun, rather than potentially uncomfortable and awkward had they not liked him."
You don't complain about her to your friends
You're not up all night texting your friends about something she did or didn't do. In fact, it's hard for you to find anything negative about her. "Our friends want us to be happy," says Hall. "When you don't complain to your friends about your S.O., they'll feel good about her as your partner and want to support the relationship."
You don't dodge difficult discussions
When you can discuss tough topics like kids, religion, sex, and politics, you have a solid foundation for a future together. "Two-way communication is central to any viable marriage or relationship," says Stacey Laura Lloyd, a dating, relationships and wellness writer. "When you and your partner can openly, honestly, and candidly discuss anything—and no topic is taboo—the bonds between the two of you are continuously strengthened." Lloyd says that if you can't talk about difficult topics, it's only a matter of time before this prohibition ultimately undermines all your communications. "Every relationship comes with challenges and difficult conversations," says Megan Costello, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Los Angeles. "It's how you navigate these discussions that really matters. Listen with empathy and strive to recognize strengths in your partner during conversations about difficult topics."
You don't want him to change
"Oftentimes the very qualities that attracted you to someone can repel you later," says Andrea Syrtash, relationship expert and author of Cheat on Your Husband (with Your Husband): How to Date Your Spouse. "For instance, you may have originally loved that your husband was so fun and spontaneous. Now, you may complain that he never plans anything in advance!" In good relationships, you're not secretly hoping he'll drink less, make more money, or have six-pack abs. Syrtash suggests that you try remember what endeared you to him in the first place—instead of trying to change him.
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You trust one another
If you're in a solid and strong relationship, you have no problem with her going out with the girls on a Friday night. "Trust and respect are the foundation of any healthy relationship," Syrtash says. "Without them, it won't work." You know he'd never do anything to betray your trust or something that would hurt you. You have one another's backs and don't keep secrets. These 11 signs mean you can trust your partner.
You know he's into you
"In a healthy relationship, each partner will know how much they care about the other, because they'll be focused on meeting their basic needs—emotional support, companionship, and affection," says Lisa Hochberger, M.ED., a sexologist, sexuality educator and relationship expert. You don't feel like you're trying to figure out his true motives, because his words and actions reveal how he really feels about you. If he doesn't text or call you back right away, that's OK since you know that you're solid.
It doesn't feel like you're in a constant battle
This doesn't mean your relationship is without conflict, but it shouldn't drive the relationship. "Mature couples learn how to interrupt a spiraling-out-of-control issue with a timeout ," says Jim Walkup, doctorate of ministry, a licensed marriage counselor who practices in New York City and White Plains, New York. "Couples who review their battles and plan what they'll do different next time will reduce the hurt since they've built a solid base," he says. Find out more about what not to do after a fight with your partner.
You can fight and not freak out about it
When you're in a healthy relationship, you know that you can have a disagreement and it doesn't mean you'll break up. Arguing is a normal part of being a couple. "Disagreements are an inevitable part of relationships," says Hall. "If you're both able to hear the other person's side calmly and rationally and have a willingness to work through it, you're far more likely to be able to resolve the conflict and move on." Check out the marriage advice of people together for 50+ years.
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You're comfortable with one another
It's easy to be happy with someone when you're getting wined and dined, more challenging when it's just the two of you at home. You'll know your relationship can make the long haul when wou can wear your sweats after a long day and feel comfortable doing so. Date night can be just him, some Netflix, Chinese takeout, and the sofa and that's not only acceptable, it's what you want. Check out the anniversary traditions that make couples happy.
You miss her when you're not together
You think of your mate during the day and she thinks of you. You know you're thought of when she texts, emails, or calls. If you're traveling for work, you're sad you won't see her for a few days, and she communicates that she feels the same way. Don't miss the things you should tell your spouse every day for a happier marriage.
You make decisions together
One person doesn't call all the shots. "The best relationships have a 'we factor' instead of a 'me factor,'" says Samantha Burns, a licensed counselor and dating coach. "You've successfully transitioned from single life to functioning as a unified team, when it's 'What are we doing this weekend?' rather than one person making individual plans without consulting their partner." This goes for everything from what to have for dinner to where you want to live in the future. For continued marital bliss, learn the little ways you can strengthen your marriage in just one day.