No, but really — how does a person have better sex or a better relationship? The Fresh Toast has enlisted Rachel Krantz, a sex writer and proud canna-enthusiast, to help readers out with some answers as its sex columnist. No question is off limits, and all questions will remain anonymous. Please send your sex and relationship inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Now, onto this week’s topic: subtle signs you’re happy in your relationship.
Q: Hi. I’ve been dating awhile, and recently met someone who I think I could maybe actually be happy with (gah it feels like a jinx just to write that!). I guess I’m wondering — how do you know you’re with someone who’s right to “settle down” with? Are there some signs your happy in your relationship?
A: When I met my partner two years ago, everything moved so much more quickly and easily than usual that I was left wondering — despite how happy I felt — whether I was walking into some sort of trap. Certainly there had to be a catch, right? Can you really just be happy in a relationship? I wish I could say I have all the answers, but long term love is wayyyyyyyyy more complicated than all that. What I can say, however, is that there seem to be certain patterns to happy relationships that I’ve noticed in friends and myself. I would say that if the bulk of these traits below sound familiar, you definitely at least have something worth pursuing for the foreseeable future on your hands.
You Don’t Feel The Need To Obsess Much With Friends
When I was in less happy relationships, I would talk all the time with my friends about whether boyfriends were good for me in the long term, what that text meant, or whether we should break-up or stay together. When I met my current partner, I found I didn’t feel the need to obsess at all with friends — or even talk much about the relationship, beyond saying I was happy. There wasn’t much to report, because there wasn’t a ton of mystery or drama to our feelings for each other. I was secure, with or without their opinions.
You’re Not Counting
I used to count the months I was with partners as if they were reassuring achievements. Now that I’m in a relationship I don’t assume will end, however, I find I don’t keep track of time as much. Sure, I like celebrating an anniversary, but it’s less crucial how long we’ve been together. If you find you’re losing track of time and aren’t obsessing over how long you’ve been together or other societal pressures — like when exactly you’ll get married or move in etc — that’s actually a good sign, in my opinion.
When You Look At Them Across The Room, You’re Proud
In a happy relationship, you feel like you’re with your true equal. If you’re proud to introduce them to any crowd — coworkers, friends, family — that’s a great sign. I was in relationships in the past where I felt somewhat embarrassed by partners in certain contexts, whether it was superficial things like what they wore, or more systemic issues, like whether I felt like they could hold their own in conversation. If you find you aren’t worried about brining your partner into any situation, and are proud to have them by your side as your true equal, that’s a sign you may have met your match.
You’re Evolving At A More Rapid Pace
If you find you’ve always wanted to do things like make art, become a vegetarian, or travel more — and find that being with your new boo has accelerated meeting those goals you’ve been putting off, that’s a sign you’re in a healthy situation. If you’re each pushing each other to grow in ways that feel both slightly uncomfortable and genuine, rather than falling into a rut of comfort and co-dependent bad habits, that’s a sign you’re in good company.
You’re Feeling More Sexually Adventurous
Sure, there’s an element of things sexually settling the longer you’ve been together, but I think a truly happy long-term love encourages sexual exploration and growth. Since getting together with my partner, I’ve finally gotten to try non-monogamy, threesomes, sleeping with women, and so much more I’ve wanted to explore for years. Even if you’re monogamous, if you find you have a partner who is encouraging you to try out that role play fantasy or otherwise better understand your own sexuality and body, that’s a good sign there’s longterm potential.
When You Have Fantasies About The Future, They Are There
If you have an escape fantasy about quitting your job and moving to the country, is this new partner with you? In fact, do they seem to make an appearance in just about all of your fantasies? If so, you’ve got a happy situation on your hands.
You’ve Never Felt Sexier
Your partner should make you feel sexy, confident, and wanted AF. If they make you feel anything but, that’s not a situation you deserve. Period.
You Feel Less Afraid Of Life Since You Met
If you’re feeling less afraid of pursuing the things you genuinely dream of since you met, that is a sign you’ve got a winner on your hands. If your worst-case scenario in life now involves their dying or getting ill — and practically nothing else scares you with the idea of them by your side — don’t diminish that feeling. A good relationship pushes you, but it also makes less space for fear at the same time. If you find yourself trusting in life more than ever before, congratulations — you just might be happy.
You Know You Have Someone You Can Work With
If you feel you have someone to work with, someone who will discuss and grow with you, rather than simply shut down and stall, that’s essential. In the end, you need a longterm partner to be someone who’d be first pick on your team. If someone makes you feel all the stuff above and more, don’t discard them just to shop around for the newest thing. Try to trust in the fact that though the relationship will continue to change and at times be less than euphoric, they are showing the potential to weather those changes with you.
And remember, above all else: trust your intuition. She’s one smart bitch.