Is this "it" ... or just a place holder?
Despite what the movies and TV specials would have you believe, love is messy and complicated.
People annoy each other, argue, and do incredibly dumb things. It’s just part of being human.
Yet when you’re with the right person, certain qualities shine through. No matter how frustrating your partner can be, taking a step back to look at the big picture can help you decide whether the relationship is right for you.
Here are 5 ways to tell if you’re in love with the right person — for you.
1. You’re best friends.
Remember when you were a kid, and you and your best friend were inseparable?
You spent long days laying in the grass watching the clouds, stayed up all night talking, and shared secrets you would never share with anyone else. When one of you was in trouble, the other one was right there figuring out how to fix it.
When you’re in love with the right person, it feels a lot like returning to those simpler days. You might be dealing with the pressures of work, school, and conflicting responsibilities, and you might not have time to lay in the grass.
But you genuinely enjoy each other’s company, you tell each other everything, and you have the unshakable knowledge that if something goes wrong for one of you, the two of you will face it together.
You’re at each other’s side through laughter and tears, and you take comfort from each other. You’re not afraid to be silly, and you’re not afraid to be weak. You like each other’s quirks, and there’s nothing you wouldn’t do for each other.
2. You argue in a healthy way.
Not arguing at all is just as unhealthy as constantly fighting. If you’re with the right person, you know that conflict is inevitable, and you are genuinely interested in working out your differences.
You both feel comfortable enough to state your opinions openly, and you respect each other enough to consider those opinions valid.
You argue your points rather than attacking your partner, and you focus on conflict resolution rather than simply ending the argument. You look for points of common ground, and you seek solutions that work for both of you.
Some people have to learn this, which is possible and important to do. Learning these skills with your partner can make them the “right person” for you.
3. You think (and talk) about the long-term — together.
When you imagine your future, your partner is in it. You can see yourselves together 5, 10, even 50 years from now.
You already know each other’s families, or you are working towards meeting as soon as possible. The two of you have discussed such big-picture issues as marriage, children, and where to live.
You are both willing to make compromises for the relationship, and you feel comfortable with the pace at which it is progressing.
4. You’re OK with spending time apart.
Relationships are at their healthiest when both partners maintain their individual lives, coming together out of desire rather than desperation.
If you’re in love with the right person, you know you can trust your partner. You’re not jealous of his friends or her hobbies. You also have a healthy personal life, and you enjoy doing your own thing.
You know that you will come back together with new stories to tell, and you don’t spend your time apart worrying whether the relationship is strong enough to survive.
5. You (both) would rather spend time together.
Although you are not threatened by time apart, and you even enjoy it now and then, you still prefer to be together.
You think about the other person when you’re apart, and you eagerly anticipate seeing him or her again.
You feel like a natural part of each other’s innermost worlds, and you are the most comfortable and relaxed when your partner is around.
People fall in love for all sorts of reasons, and not all relationships are destined to last.
If you are wondering whether your partner is right for you, take a step back and look at the relationship objectively.
Do you feel most or all of these things, at least some of the time?
Does your partner feel the same?
Don’t worry if one or two components are missing, especially if your relationship is fairly new. Deep levels of trust take time to develop, and you and your partner need to find a balance that works for you.
Interested in the science of attraction and how it can help your relationship? We are neuroscientist Lucy L. Brown, PhD and biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, PhD — and we are eager to help you put the Anatomy of Love to work in your life.
This article was originally published at The Anatomy Of Love. Reprinted with permission from the author.