When it comes to finding “The One” — that one special person and relationship that will last a lifetime — the conventional wisdom is simply, “When you know, you know.” That’s all fine and dandy, but many of us require something more concrete than just a gut feeling.
We reached out to marriage and relationship experts to help us pinpoint the most telling signs that you’re in the right relationship. Find out what they had to say below.
1. You know what your partner needs to feel loved — even if those needs are different than yours.
Some people feel loved when their partner brings them a cup of coffee in the morning. Some need their spouse to tell them how beautiful or handsome they look. Others require sex and physical forms of affection. The point is, each of us has different preferences when it comes to giving and receiving love.
“We have to teach our partner to love us and not expect them to read our minds,” sex and relationship expert Dr. Tammy Nelson said. “You know you are with the right person when they tell you what makes them feel loved and you are happy to generously lather them with whatever they need. And they do the same for you.”
2. You fight, but you do it productively.
Conflict is a natural part of any relationship, but how you handle those disagreements can predict whether or not you’ll be together in the long-run. “How both of you behave now when you have a disagreement also says a lot about how you will (or won’t) resolve problems in the future,” Dr. Terri Orbuch — relationship expert and author of Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship — told The Huffington Post. “A good relationship is one where the two of you fight fair. In other words, you don’t curse, scream, talk down to each other or dismiss each other.”
3. You get a confidence boost from your mutual physical attraction.
“Feeling sexual attraction and sexually attractive is a life force like nothing else,” Iris Krasnow, author of Sex After…Women Share How Intimacy Changes As Life Changes said. “That person who ignites you from within, boosting your self-esteem and also offers external pleasures is definitely a keeper.”
4. You two are different enough to keep things interesting, but you’re on the same page where it matters most.
They say that opposites attract, and while that may be true at first, it’s not necessarily a long-term predictor of relationship success. In fact, Orbuch’s research has shown that the strongest relationships are those built on a foundation of similar underlying values and beliefs.
“It is okay to have different interests or movie likes, but similarity in key life values (e.g., views on money, the importance of religion or how you raise children) is what keeps people together over the long-term,” she explained.
5. Your family and friends give the relationship their stamp of approval.
Despite what your once-rebellious heart might have told you, your family’s approval of your significant other does matter. W. Bradford Wilcox, the director of the National Marriage Project, told HuffPost Weddings that high levels of social support from your nearest and dearest are crucial to a happy marriage. “Such friends and family often have a more objective view of your partner than you do,” he said. “And their support can be invaluable after the wedding. We know that couples who have parents, in-laws, and friends who support them as a couple are much more likely to go the distance.”
6. You feel comfortable getting a little adventurous between the sheets.
Couples in secure relationships report that they can combine spontaneous acts of intimacy with tender expressions of their love. “The best recipe for great ongoing sex does not seem to be finding more manuals to get bigger and bigger orgasms but tuning into each other and feeling safe enough to go with the thrill when it comes,” Dr. Sue Johnson, a clinical psychologist and author of Love Sense, told The Huffington Post.
7. You are willing to put the “we” before the “me.”
A commitment to doing what is best for the relationship, rather than what is best for the individual partner, is a strong predictor of future marital satisfaction. “People who are marriage-minded should look for a partner who talks and thinks in terms of ‘we’ not ‘me’,” Wilcox said. “Someone who articulates shared dreams, shared values, and a willingness to put the relationship above his or her desires. Couples who put their marriage above their own desires are more likely to flourish.”
8. You find yourself missing your partner when he or she isn’t around.
Benjamin Le — co-founder of ScienceOfRelationships.com — says it’s important to miss your partner when he or she is away. “If they are ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ that doesn’t bode well,” he said. “But if you have an emotional response to him or her being away, it’s a signal that you really want to be with him or her.”