No matter how many times you watch the final scenes of your favorite romantic comedy, it’s never going to give you the full story of what long-lasting love looks like. Movies and books present an idealized version of love, and they are effective as a form of escape. If you’ve ever wondered what really happens to couples after the credits roll, you’re not alone. There are very few examples of healthy long-term couples circulating in popular culture. To help you gain some clarity, here are five qualities of long-lasting love that you can strive for in your relationship.
1. You Want the Same Things
When you and your partner want the same things in life, you have a better chance of going the distance in love. It’s important to remember that wanting the same things is not the same as liking the same things. You don’t have to have the same hobbies and the same group of friends to be a successful couple. However, crucial things such as whether or not you want to have kids can make or break your future. If you both agree that traveling on breathtaking Iceland cruises and raising lots of houseplants are life goals, then you have a good shot at happiness.
2. You Don’t Feel Threatened by Space
One of the key characteristics of healthy relationships is when you don’t feel threatened by the space between you and your partner. Physical space aside, this quality of independence is related to having confidence in yourself and your relationship. If you feel proud and happy for your partner when they’re achieving their own goals and they feel the same about you, then you know that you’re doing something right.
Codependency is a serious issue in relationships. If you think that you and your partner might be codependent, watch out for these signs:
- You feel like you can change your partner
- When you do something solo, you feel selfish
- Being apart makes you feel anxious and sad
- You avoid doing things if you can’t do them together
- Setting up relationship boundaries causes fights
You Share the Same Values
While you definitely don’t need to be into your partner’s ultramarathon hobby to achieve long-lasting happiness, you do need to share most of the same values as people. For example, if you and your partner both value honesty and loyalty in your relationships, you will be able to understand and empathize when one of your partner’s friends does something behind their back or when a family member is actively gossiping about others. Having shared values ultimately means that you’ll be on the same side when it comes to tough issues, and it will make it easier to find common ground during arguments.
You Know How To Communicate
Another quality of a long-lasting relationship is good communication. No two couples communicate in the same way, so this can take some time for you and your partner to puzzle out. If you’re committed to the relationship and you already feel seen and heard, then this type of work will not feel like a burden. Once you have a foundation for how to communicate, you should be able to navigate any kind of problem you come across.
You Empower and Validate Each Other
You know you’re in a healthy long-term relationship when you feel like your partner is your biggest cheerleader, someone who makes you feel seen and empowered. This isn’t always easy to do, and it’s okay if you lose sight of being this person for your partner once in a while. The key to making a relationship work over many years is that you keep trying. If you or your partner notices that the support or validation is lacking, talk through it and make sure you have each others’ backs.
Long-lasting love isn’t a myth that you only see in fairytales. Plenty of couples spend their whole lives together being content and optimistic. To get to that point, you have to know yourself, understand what you bring to relationships, and practice healthy emotional habits.
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