We all know about the red flags – but what about the signs you’re with the right person? If you don’t want to ‘improve’ your partner, you’re onto a winner, writes relationship expert Julia Paulette Hollenbery
Whether you’ve been in a relationship with someone for three months or 60 years, it’s only natural to occasionally wonder if they’re the right person for you.
But aside from compatibility in the bedroom, shared values and common goals, how exactly can you know whether you’ve found your significant other?
Should you stay or should you go? Are you in the right place for you? How can you know if your relationship is loving and healthy? Here are five green flags you can explore to find out if your intimate relationship is on track or needs some serious work…
Instead of counting the score between you, measuring what you’ve gotten and resenting what you’ve offered – a great relationship is created by giving and giving even more.
It should feel easy to give – a compliment, caress, listening to them, sharing your day or feelings, tidying up, cooking or an intimacy. Like a good round of comedy improv, where you add to what your partner offers, you are both generous.
With open-heartedness, you enjoy feeling seen, heard, understood and cared for.
Instead of secretly wishing your partner was taller, slimmer, more sporty, funky or dressed-differently – a loving relationship is founded on really, truly, deeply liking them. Your relationship is a sexy friendship, where they are appreciated for being them.
You allow them to be exactly who and how they are. The way they style their hair, squeeze the toothpaste and leave their socks on the floor. This doesn’t mean being a pushover who doesn’t speak up when necessary about important stuff, but is definitely not petty, critical or rude.
You don’t try to improve them. Love is allowing.
Instead of shrinking from your lover’s body, resenting their hairless or hairy chest, flat or huge boobs, annoyed by their personal habits – a healthy relationship is based on healthy desire. Here every kiss is delightful and full of feeling, lust and communication.
You like the way they look, smell (in all the places, especially under the arms) taste, sound, laugh and move. They delight you, and you want to touch and connect with them more and more. You both take good physical care of yourselves with respect for the other – and are not over-fussy. Real them is tasty.
Instead of pretending to be who you think they want you to be (and fearful they’ll find out your shameful secrets) – in a healthy relationship you are relaxed and genuinely yourself. You are able to appropriately share your fears, hopes and vulnerability. And at times your anger, frustration and disappointment.
You can tell them to leave you alone and that you need some space right now. And you can tell them that you need and want them real close. The conversation of your relationship is always developing and deepening over time. In the beginning, both of you are naturally on best behaviour, which softens as you both feel safe, to be real raw you!
Instead of seriousness, fixed-roles and arguments – an enjoyable relationship has different moods, characters and responses at different times. Laughter is frequent. Even a mistake, that takes unexpected effort to set right, can be creatively changed into enjoyably listening to music or silly singing.
Perhaps you are children in a meadow? A medieval lord and lady? Cowboy and cowgirl? Lots of light-hearted fun!
Wishing you an easy relationship, full of these five flags for satisfaction and pleasure!
Julia Paulette Hollenbery is a relationship expert and author of The Healing Power of Pleasure – Seven Medicines for Rediscovering the Innate Joy of Being out Dec 9 2021.