We often receive the most joy from our relationships, but they also may cause us the most confusion. We all want to find the person we are supposed to be with, who will add value and bring more happiness into our lives. But, how do you know if you’re with the right one? If you have recently started dating a new guy, you may be wondering whether he is the right person for you. And if you have been in a relationship for a while, you may be starting to wonder whether he is the one. Of course, there are no guarantees and, short of having a crystal ball, no one can know for sure what might happen in any relationship. But, there are some simple questions that can help you determine whether your partner is right for you.
- Does he encourage and support you? One of the best things about a healthy, happy relationship is having someone who will always support you. The partner who is right for you will be your biggest cheerleader.
- Do you have more good days than bad? Every relationship has rough spots, and every couple argues. But, in a healthy relationship, your good days should out-number the bad. You should spend more time smiling than being upset.
- Does he encourage you to do things you love? Not only will a healthy partner support you, he will also encourage you to try new things and to do more of what brings you joy. He will want you to be happy, both when you’re with him and when you’re not.
- Does he support you spending time with other people, including your friends and family? People often mistakenly believe that someone who loves you should want to spend all of their free time with you – and vice versa. But, the fact is that a healthy partner would want you to spend time with other people who matter to you. And they won’t sulk about it or try to make you feel badly when you do.
- If he does get jealous, does he recognize that it is his issue, and not something you need to fix? Unfortunately, because jealousy is such a common emotion in our culture, it’s possible that your partner may get jealous from time-to-time, especially if you are spending time with someone he may see as threatening. But, a healthy partner will realize that this jealousy comes from his own insecurity, and will find a way to work through it, without trying to make you feel guilty or change your activities.
- Does he listen to your ideas, feelings, and concerns? What’s the point of being in a relationship if you can’t talk openly with your partner? A healthy partner will want to know how you feel. And when you come to him with a concern, he will listen and want to resolve it. He won’t get upset with you for being honest.
- Is he willing to take the relationship at a reasonable pace, taking time to truly get to know one another? Romantic movies would have us believe that loving relationships move quickly, with people falling in love at first sight and being at the alter by the end of the year. But, the fact is that building a healthy relationship often takes time. A partner who wants to rush to commit too quickly may be more interested in ownership than in love and respect. Be honest about how quickly you want to move, and listen to your instincts.
- Does he understand and respect that you have your own life, and encourage you to do so? Not only is it important for partners to respect and support each other, but it is also important for each person to have their own life outside of the relationship. You won’t enjoy all of the same activities, and that’s okay. In fact, a healthy relationship involves two people who each have their own separate hobbies, interests, friends, and activities, and who support each other in doing so.
- Does he support your hopes and dreams? If you tell your partner about something you’ve always wanted to do, he should encourage you to pursue your dreams. If he makes fun of your ambition or puts you down, you will eventually stop telling him about your dreams – and then, you’ll just stop having them at all. A healthy partner would encourage you to be the very best version of yourself, and to pursue your goals and dreams.
- Does he have his own interests and dreams, apart from you? Not only would a healthy partner encourage you to have your own life and dreams, but he would have his own as well. He should have passions, hobbies, and interests that make him light up and bring him joy – that are separate from you and your relationship. He should have other ways to fill himself up, other than always leaning on you for his happiness.
- Does he have his own friends? You may be the closest person to him, but a healthy partner would also have his own
support system, including friends, family, and colleagues. He will have people he can talk to and lean on, other than just you. A full support system for both partners is crucial for a long, healthy relationship.
- Do your friends and family like him?
It is not wise to base all of your decisions on other people’s perceptions, but it is helpful to pay attention to what others say about your partner. If people you love and trust have concerns about him, ask yourself whether they have valid points. If they like him for unfair or unjust reasons – such as his ethnicity, religion, or appearance – it’s perfectly fine to disregard these opinions. But, if they have legitimate concerns about his lifestyle or how he treats you – pay attention.
- Does he respect your time and space – and not obsessively call, text, or check up on you?
As we’ve stated above, it is essential for each partner in a healthy relationship to have their own hobbies and interests. It is also essential for each of you to have time to yourself, and freedom. If your partner obsessively checks up on you, that is a warning sign of controlling behavior, and possibly abuse.
- Do you have things in common?While it is important to have your own life and interests, it is also important to be able to talk with your partner about things you have in common. You don’t have to share every interest, but you should have plenty of topics to keep your conversations interesting and connected.
- Is he genuinely interested in your hobbies, passions, and concerns?Your partner should genuinely want to know about your day, what’s going well for you, and what you are struggling with. They should be just as interested in hearing about you as you are about hearing about them. A healthy relationship is equal, and consists of two partners who genuinely care about each other.
- Does he take responsibility for his actions?One of the most important aspects of a healthy relationship is the willingness of both partners to admit when they are wrong, and take responsibility for their actions. This means genuine accountability, not just saying “I’m sorry” and then repeating the same behavior. If your partner is constantly blaming someone else, especially you, for his poor choices or bad behavior, this is a serious red flag.
- Does your partner respect you? People often focus on love in a relationship, but respect may be even more important. If your partner insults you, puts you down, or makes you feel bad about yourself, it is not a healthy relationship. A healthy partner will lift you up, not tear you down.
- Do you feel safe with him? You should feel both physically and emotionally safe in your relationship. This means that you should feel comfortable talking to your partner about anything, without having to worry about how he may respond. It also means that your partner should never, ever hit, push, shove, kick, or restrain you against your will. Safety is the foundation for any healthy relationship.
- Does he fit into your life?A healthy relationship consists of two whole people who complement, not complete, one another. But, while it is important that you each have your own life, it is also important that your lives fit well together. Does he get along with your friends and family? Do you have hobbies in common? The right partner will fit well into your life.
- Does he make you feel good? It is not your partner’s responsibility to make you happy – we are each always responsible for our own well-being and happiness. But, the person you are supposed to be with will make you feel good. He will make you feel respected and appreciated. When you think of him, you will feel happy, not worried. And when you are with him, you will feel safe, not anxious. You will feel good around him and about him.
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, there may be some areas you will want to pay closer attention to in your relationship. If you had many “no” answers, it may be time to reconsider your relationship. A healthy partner will lift you up, encourage you to be your full self, and support you in doing what makes you happy. If your partner limits who you talk to, what you do, or where you go, he is controlling you, not loving you. And if he puts you down, disrespects you, or hurts you in any way, he wants to have power over you, not love you.
If someone is hurting or disrespecting you, advocates are available to help you 24 hours a day at 800-799-SAFE (7233). Remember, you deserve to be safe, respected, and loved – all the time.