It’s one thing to have a great relationship, but it’s another thing to be able to recognize that what you have with someone is indeed great.

Most people only find out when it’s too late. This is why we have exes who keep coming back because they know letting their partner go was a great mistake. Why does this happen?

Well, we often use insufficient markers to determine the quality of our relationships.

For instance, a guy may compare his introverted and decent girlfriend to other girls he assumes are more fun and think, “My relationship is boring.” But he ignores the emotional connection, safety, and trust he has in his relationship.

When you use insufficient markers, you end up elevating the mundane things and underrating the important ones. Hence, to avoid this, let’s look at the subtle signs that what you have with someone is a great relationship. Sometimes the most important things are the basic stuff.


1. You feel accepted

There is no one special person for anyone. But there are surely people out there who find your unique traits — and flaws — exciting. And when you find that someone, you’ll feel accepted.

You know because you feel free to be yourself when you’re with them. It’s easy. You don’t need to hide anything or be ashamed of where you come from. The way you laugh out loud and tear up in public doesn’t make them feel embarrassed, it amuses them.

And because of this deep acceptance that you feel, you’re able to let yourself venture deeper, trust more, and love more.

There are so many relationships out there where couples cannot be themselves. For instance, something as little as the way a guy laughs, his style of fashion, or his choice of music can make his girlfriend feel embarrassed in public.

A partner who doesn’t accept you for who you are is always trying to change you.

Don’t get this wrong. Just because a partner finds the way you laugh out loud an amusing thing doesn’t make that particular trait good or bad. It simply means you found someone who wants you just the way you are.

And this also doesn’t mean the right partner wouldn’t want you to grow. It simply means they’ll encourage you to be your best while still accepting you for who you are. Their encouragement wouldn’t be from a place of embarrassment. It will come from a place of love.

2. It feels right (and almost easy)

Don’t get me this wrong, building a great relationship takes work and deliberate effort.

However, the right relationship shouldn’t be a constant struggle. This is what most people think struggling looks like in a relationship:

  • Trying hard to keep your partner’s love and affection
  • Trying hard to figure out what he or she likes to avoid constant arguing
  • Working hard to put your partner’s insecurities to rest
  • Trying to prove to your partner that you’re worthy

These are not relationship struggles. They’re just signs that you’re with the wrong person. The right relationship feels right because you don’t have to work hard on these things.

When you have a great relationship, the tension should come once in a while, like an obstacle you have to cross at certain points to ascend to better levels of trust and intimacy. And even at that, obstacles become less difficult when you’re both committed to making it work. As the psychologist, Alice Boyes explained,

“In great relationships, partners find creative solutions to problems based on each individuals’ strengths and weaknesses.”

3. You feel safe (emotionally, physically, and sexually)

“It’s hard to experience desire when you’re weighted down by concern,” relationship therapist Esther Perel wrote in her book, Mating in Captivity.

Safety, like trust, is earned. We only feel safe with people who have proven themselves to us. It means you’ve ventured and tested the waters with them and they’ve proven that you can rely on them.

For instance, you can raise sensitive and difficult conversations and they will patiently listen, without intruding or dismissing what you have to say.

You can also complain about what you don’t like and they will listen to you and respond considerably and respectfully. These are the little things that make us feel safe in our relationships.

You’re not afraid that your partner will wake up one morning and tell you they don’t find you attractive anymore. You feel secure about your place in their lives because they prove to you every day that you’re the one they choose.

4. You’re excited about a future together

You’re not just focused on what you share right now, you also encourage each other to be better versions of yourselves.

You motivate each other to work harder, get into shape, eat right, read books, and develop better habits. This is perhaps one of the best signs of a great relationship.

A great relationship isn’t only designed to make you a happier person; it’s designed to make you a better person. We know this inherently. This is why we don’t want someone so agreeable that they nod “yes” to everything we say on a first date.

As the clinical psychologist and marriage counselor Randi Gunther explained, as much as we want someone we are emotionally safe with, we also want someone we can contend with, someone who will be able to sit us down and tell us the truth when the need arises.

5. You’re both invested in making the relationship work

Relationships aren’t that difficult when you have two people who are committed to making it work.

Guys often complain about how a lady made them chase for so long before finally letting them in for a first date. This is what happens when a relationship has the wrong dynamic. Chances are, a guy who went on a long chase before getting a girl will remain the one always working to make the relationship work.

When two people are attracted to each other, it shouldn’t be that difficult.

There’s always something amazing in knowing that your partner wants a great relationship with you as much as you do. This way, he or she wouldn’t be busy keeping secrets while you’re keeping up to your promises.

The awareness that someone cares for us as much as we do for them is what makes us surrender ourselves to venture deeper in love.

When you’re both all in, then you’ll be committed to having difficult conversations when the need arises. You’ll both respect and keep each other’s trust because you’ll be afraid of losing each other.


Final words

If you have these five things in your relationship, you have something special. Not everyone will see it. These signs cannot be noticed on posts on social media. They are things only you and your partner will see. But don’t underrate them.

They’re like foundations for great relationships. And remember foundations may not be seen, but they are still the most important part of any structure. As the French writer, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote in his popular novel, The Little Prince,

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”

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