Love

10 Unsexy Signs It's Lasting Love

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couple holding hands in the wild

How many of us have learned how to build loving relationships? Where did we learn? At home? At school?

See, there is an art and science to building healthy relationships, and it all starts with learning how to build trust.

People in healthy relationships know that maintaining your bond and practicing kindness are key elements to keeping love alive. If you know a happy, long-lasting couple, you've probably noticed the signs of a healthy relationship between them. Without a doubt, they practice the tips below.

These are indispensable love tips, written with romantic relationships in mind — but with a little modification, you can apply them to your friendships, family, and even work relationships, too.

Here are 10 unsexy signs it's a lasting love:

1. You've created a safe environment where you can trust and share openly without fear

Don't interrupt, even if you need to put your hand over your mouth to stop yourself.

Learn to fight fairly. No name-calling. Don't make threats. Apologize when you know you should. If you're too angry to really listen, stop! Go into another room, take space for yourself, breathe, and calm down.

Remember: your partner is not the enemy.

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2. You can separate facts from feelings

What beliefs and feelings get triggered in you during conflicts? Ask yourself: Is there something from my past that is influencing how I'm seeing the situation now?

The critical question you want to ask is: Is this about him or her, or is it really about me? What's the real truth?

Once you're able to differentiate facts from feelings, you'll see your partner more clearly and be able to resolve conflicts with clarity.

3. You're able to connect with different parts of yourself

Each of us is not a solo instrument. We're more like a choir or an orchestra with several voices. What is your mind saying? What is your heart saying? What is your body saying? What is your "gut" saying?

For example, My mind is saying "definitely leave her," but my heart says "I really love her."

Let these different voices or parts of you co-exist and speak to one another. In this way, you will find an answer that comes from your whole self.

4. You have developed compassion

Practice observing yourself and your partner without judging.

Part of you might judge, but you don't have to identify with it. Judging closes a door. The opposite of judging is compassion. When you are compassionate, you are open, connected, and more available to dialogue respectfully with your partner. Compassion builds trust.

As you increasingly learn to see your partner compassionately, you will have more power to choose your response rather than just reacting.

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5. You've created a "we" that can house two "I's"

The foundation for a thriving, growing, mutually supportive relationship is being separate, yet connected.

In co-dependent, unhealthy relationships, each person sacrifices part of him or herself — compromising the relationship as a whole. When you are separate and connected, each individual "I" contributes to creating a "we" that is stronger than the sum of its parts.

6. You can heal yourself, rather than relying on your partner

Don't expect your partner to fill your emotional holes, and don't try to fill theirs.

Ultimately, each of us can only heal ourselves. Your partner, however, can support the journey as you work with yourself, and vice versa. In fact, living in a loving relationship is healing in and of itself.

7. You relish the differences between you

The differences between you and your partner are not negative. You don't need a relationship with someone who shares all of your interests and views.

We may sometimes fear that these differences are incompatibilities, but in fact, they're often what keeps a relationship exciting and full of the good type of fire.

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8. You ask questions

All too often, we make up our own stories or interpretations about what our partners' behavior means. For example: "She doesn't want to cuddle; she must not really love me anymore."

We can never err on the side of asking too many questions and then listening to the answers from our whole self — heart, gut, mind, and body.

Equally important is to hear what's not being said — the facts and feelings that you sense might be unspoken.

9. You make time for your relationship

No matter who you are or what your work is, you need to nurture your relationship.

Make sure you schedule time for the well-being of your relationship or marriage. That includes making "play dates" and also taking downtime together. Frequently create a sacred space together by shutting off all things technological and digital.

Like a garden, the more you tend to your relationship, the more it will grow.

10. You say the "hard things" from love

Become aware of the hard things that you're not talking about. How does that feel?

No matter what you're feeling in a situation, channel the energy of your emotions so that you say what you need to say in a constructive manner.

There you have it.

Be kind to yourselves.

Remember: change takes time and every step counts.

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Dr. Lynda Klau has more than two decades of training and hands-on experience as a psychologist, coach, motivational speaker, and educator. She is the Founder and Director of Life Unlimited: The Center for Human Possibility. 

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