Relationship Green Flags
We are often warned to stay on the lookout for red flags when dating or entering a new relationship. These include toxic or troubling behaviors like aggression, excessive jealousy or poor conflict resolution. While it is important to be mindful of warning signs of an unhealthy dynamic, it is just as important to notice and appreciate signs of a healthy and loving relationship. Here are some green flags to pay attention to in your relationship:
1. Your partner can empathize with you and validate your feelings
Even if they can’t relate to your exact experience, your partner is able to empathize with the emotions you are experiencing and offer a safe space for you to express your feelings. They listen to you and make you feel validated, not judged, when you are vulnerable. And vice versa!
2. Your partner is consistently kind
Kindness goes a long way when it comes to establishing safety and emotional intimacy in a relationship. You grow to see your partner as a safe and reliable source of comfort. Your partner makes an effort to respect your feelings and make you feel good.
3. Your partner treats you and others with respect
You feel that your needs, opinions and feelings are respected by your partner. Pay attention to how they treat other people in their lives. Their mom, the waiter, their coworkers, etc. How your partner treats others is generally a good indicator of how they might eventually treat you once you have a more established relationship.
4. You can have difficult conversations with your partner
Even when it’s not easy, you and your partner are able to have difficult conversations about uncomfortable topics like money, boundaries, sex, each other’s family and so on. You don’t avoid these topics nor do spark intense conflict. You are able to sit with your partner and work through problems while feeling grounded and connected to one another.
5. Your partner respects your boundaries
Perhaps one of the more important green flags. It is crucial that your partner respects and honors your boundaries. Boundaries take many forms that include your physical, sexual and emotional space as well as your privacy and time. Your partner respects your space and individuality, and they have their own lives going on outside the relationship as well.
6.You feel supported and uplifted by your partner
Your partner is one of your biggest cheerleaders. They support you on your journey, whatever that looks like, and encourage you as your work towards your goals. Hopefully, they have goals they are working towards as well. Not only do they cheer you on, but your partner is also there to support you and love you on your harder days too!
7. You have shared values and similar goals for the future
For a relationship to have longevity, it is important to have a thorough understanding of both you and your partner’s values system. What is important to you and what do you want your life to look like in the next 5-10 years? Although compromise is a necessary part of a relationship, you should feel aligned with your partner on the non-negotiable aspects of your life.
8. Your partner makes you want to show up as your best self
You genuinely feel impressed by your partner and respect your partnership. This makes you want to show up as your best self in the relationship and work towards its success. There is space to acknowledge that nobody is perfect and both you and your partner embrace a willingness to grow – both individually and as a couple. You are a team!
Alexis Bibler, AMFT
Alexis is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist serving adults and couples virtually throughout California.
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Laurel Therapy Collective
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