Dating and Relationship Advice

Every relationship has its ups and downs. However, some relationships have extreme downs that represent warning signs (red flags) and extreme ups that signal highly desirable relationship behavior (green flags).

Dating is incredibly challenging. On top of that, human brains are wired to pay attention to negative information over positive information. It’s easy to notice lots of warning signs in relationships, but not as easy to pay attention to what’s going well. Although it’s important to watch out for red flags, it isn’t all you should be paying attention to. It’s also important to note green flags when they come up in relationships. Otherwise, you’ll never know if your relationship has what it takes to make it in the long haul.

Here are six glaring green flags that signify your relationship has long-term potential.

Your partner makes you feel comfortable enough to open up and be your genuine self

Dating as it exists now is harder than ever. People are experiencing more and more pressure to settle down. Because of this, it can be very tempting to only show yourself in a positive light, stretch the truth, or even modify who you are in order to find a suitable partner. But this ultimately ends in disaster when you both realize that you’ve been wearing a mask or only showcasing part of who you are.

A suitable partner will help you feel comfortable enough to share who you really are inside. This bodes well for the long-term. By opening up and being your genuine self, you set up your relationship to be reciprocal, where you’re both sharing who you truly are. This paves the path for shared vulnerability and experiencing a deep connection with a partner.

Your partner is eager to introduce you to family and friends

When your partner can’t wait to introduce you to other people in their life, it’s an enormous green flag.

This is a great sign on multiple levels. Firstly, it shows that you are important to them. Secondly, it means they believe your relationship could have staying power. Most people don’t introduce partners to family or friends unless they’re invested in the relationship.

If you’re an important person in their life, they’ll want you to meet other important people in their life. This doesn’t mean you should fret if you don’t get to meet the parents right away. However, it’s a really good sign if your partner does bring you around important figures in their life.

You have similar values and goals

Having similar goals and values goes beyond merely sharing interests. Having similar goals and values is about moving together with your partner in the same direction.

Goals are associated with achieving a certain outcome. These are slightly different from values. According to Ethics Sage, values are “basic and fundamental beliefs that guide or motivate attitudes or actions.” Values are intangible attitudes that show us what is important to us. For example, some people might value family, honesty, or helping others, while others might value wealth or achievement.

Both goals and values are important to consider in a relationship. Goals are outcomes we want to achieve, and values help us live our lives in ways that get us there.

Relationships don’t work well when there is a large mismatch between values and goals of partners. Thus, having similar values and goals to your partner can be a huge relief and a big green flag. Sharing values can provide a strong foundation for a long-lasting relationship. It helps you be on the same page around large issues like finances, family matters, and running a household. Building a strong foundation is the key to any relationship, and having similar goals/values makes this much easier.

When you fight, you do so respectfully

Arguments are part of every relationship. It’s important to find balance around conflict — too much conflict can hurt a relationship, but too little conflict is also a red flag. Navigating conflict in an effective way is a skill and a green flag your relationship could really work.

It’s a big green flag if you and your partner can fight in a way that is respectful. That means avoiding harmful behaviors like name-calling, rolling eyes, attacking the other person, or continuously bringing up past hurts. It helps to fight with a basic understanding that you are on the same team. Remember, you and your partner are fighting for a better future with each other, rather than fighting against each other. When this green flag is present, you’ll rest easy knowing that you and your partner can resolve conflict in a way that’s healthy and sustainable.

Your partner can label their feelings

According to Good Therapy, emotional intelligence is a key ingredient that makes a relationship last. Emotional intelligence refers to someone’s ability to notice emotions, name emotions, and respond to emotions in an effective way. If your partner is able to recognize their own or others’ feelings  and respond well to them, it is a huge green flag.

Emotional intelligence also includes the ability to be self-aware, to have empathy, and to use good social skills. All of these skills are excellent qualities to have in a partner.

Your relationship feels egalitarian

Relationships work best when they are reciprocal, involving both give and take. This doesn’t mean your relationship has to be perfectly equal (it never helps to keep track and directly compare the amount of who does what) but it should feel equitable, meaning the relationship generally shares benefits and burdens (including labor division and resources).

When a relationship feels equitable, you feel like the person has your back. Research even supports this. Studies show that egalitarian couples are more satisfied, feel their relationship is fairer, and even have more sex (and better sex). Having an egalitarian relationship can prevent resentments from building and bode well for your future relationship.

Take note of the green flags

Although it’s important to heed red flags in a relationship, it’s also important to note qualities in relationships that represent green flags. This helps us have a balanced view of our relationships, and avoid overlooking things that could mean our relationship has real staying power.

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