It sounds like a no-brainer, but happy couples really, really like each other. “There should be an awareness that this is your best friend, the person you like, love, and with whom you want to share your life,” says Antonia Hall, MA, a psychologist, relationship expert, and author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life. “In a good, solid relationship both people encourage and bring out the best in each other.”
You respect each other
Without mutual respect, you can’t have trust, honesty, friendship, or intimacy. “Mutual respect is one of the core relationship partner needs, and it’s something that is often looked over in the dating process,” says Laurel House, a dating and empowerment coach on E!’s Famously Single. You’ll be surprised by these other secrets of happily married couples.
He is the first person you want to call when you have good news—or bad
You just got a huge promotion and the first thing you want to do after you find out is call your mate. You don’t want to talk to anyone more than him when something good happens in your life. And if something bad is going on, you’d rather chat with your partner about it than anyone else. “Look at the favorites in your phone,” says Brooke Wise, founder of Wise Matchmaking. “When he or she gets to number one, that’s a pretty good sign. It doesn’t happen overnight, but when it does, consciously or unconsciously, things are going quite well.”
She doesn’t judge you
You can be honest with her and vice versa and never feel like she’s judging you. “No one wants to feel judged, especially by their sweetheart,” says Hall. “Judgment can lead to feelings of resentment and contempt, both of which are hard to conceal and erodes the relationship. When couples can celebrate, or at least genuinely tolerate, each other’s differences, it will foster a happy, healthy and solid relationship.” Are you a judgmental person? Here are tips to stop being so judgy.
Your squad loves him
“We’re often impacted by our social circle’s influence, and having your friend’s seal of approval on the person you’re dating can provide peace of mind that significantly enhances the relationship,” says Hall. How do you know they really like him? When you get together, he’s invited, too. And, while you’re friends aren’t the ones dating him, “it makes group get togethers easier and more fun, rather than potentially uncomfortable and awkward had they not liked him.”
You don’t complain about her to your friends
You’re not up all night texting your friends about something she did or didn’t do. In fact, it’s hard for you to find anything negative about her. “Our friends want us to be happy,” says Hall. “When you don’t complain to your friends about your S.O., they’ll feel good about her as your partner and want to support the relationship.”
You don’t dodge difficult discussions
When you can discuss tough topics like kids, religion, sex, and politics, you have a solid foundation for a future together. “Two-way communication is central to any viable marriage or relationship,” says Stacey Laura Lloyd, a dating, relationships and wellness writer. “When you and your partner can openly, honestly, and candidly discuss anything—and no topic is taboo—the bonds between the two of you are continuously strengthened.” Lloyd says that if you can’t talk about difficult topics, it’s only a matter of time before this prohibition ultimately undermines all your communications. “Every relationship comes with challenges and difficult conversations,” says Megan Costello, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Los Angeles. “It’s how you navigate these discussions that really matters. Listen with empathy and strive to recognize strengths in your partner during conversations about difficult topics.”
More on next page…