How often does your significant other tell you how much they appreciate, love, and care for you? Now, more importantly, how often do they show it by their actions rather than their words?
Love. That’s an intense word. But do you know what it means? Love is more than just the butterflies in your stomach when you see someone. Love is a vast majority of emotions rolled into one word.
So let’s break it down:
Appreciation—Do you feel like your significant other appreciates you? Whether it’s because you make dinner every night, pay for the dates, go to work every day, or because you’re just a generally awesome person, appreciation is a HUGE factor in what it means to feel loved. If you are constantly making sacrifices for your significant other, and they aren’t returning the favor, are you going to continue to beat yourself up over it? The answer is completely up to you. Maybe you would because you feel like if you don’t then you’re the one failing your relationship, but then again, maybe you wouldn’t because you know your worth.
Trust—Do you trust your SO? Do they trust you? Let’s say you leave the house while your SO is asleep or at work because you need to get groceries. You think you’ll be back before they wake up or get home, so you don’t bother telling them where you’ve gone. Now say they wake up or get home before you make it back. Is your phone being blown up with texts and voicemails asking where you are and who you’re with, or does your SO trust that you are probably just getting groceries or hanging with your friend who’s going through a breakup? If the situation were flipped, would you be blowing up their phone with accusations and assumptions, or would you be confident and secure? Feeling trusted is another huge factor in successful relationships. If you feel the need to share your location indefinitely with your partner so they don’t draw the wrong conclusions, you need to re-evaluate your relationship.
Equality—Do you feel as though you and your partner are equals? Do you often have disagreements about which one of you deserves this or that because “well I’ve been working in the heat all day and I’m exhausted so we should do this because it’s what I want,” or “I make more money than you so I should get the executive decision on (what car to buy, where to shop, what groceries to get, what movie to rent, etc.). If you and your partner feel as though you are equals, you would value each other’s opinions and decisions as if they were your own.
Thoughtfulness—How often do you and your SO do things with each other in mind? Say you stop at the gas station and your SO goes to pay for gas. Then he/she comes out of the store with a drink and a bag of chips for him/herself, and nothing for you. If you and your partner have been together for more than about a month, they should know what kinds of drinks/snacks you enjoy. In a healthy relationship, your partner would think, well if I want a snack, they probably do to, and get you something to snack on as well. It seems very trivial, but in the make-up of your feelings in this relationship, it’s very important.
Selflessness—Maybe you typically work 8-12 hour days, and your partner only works part time so they cook and clean before you get home. One day your partner ends up having to stay late at work and you get home first. Are you angry that your partner isn’t doing his/her normal house chores that you agreed on, or are you understanding and do it yourself for the night so they can come home and relax? You have a million opportunities to be selfless every single day. Be selfless 75 percent of the chances you have, and you’ll start to see the quality of your relationship start to shine.
Understanding—You and your partner are two completely different people who have different experiences and different opinions and morals. Say your partner grew up in a poor family, their mother was on drugs, they had an absentee father, basically raised by whoever had enough space on a couch or a spare bedroom. Say you grew up in a home where your father beat you and your mother and siblings, but made fairly good money and nobody would believe he could be that type of person. You were raised with a work-ethic and pride and the know-how to gets things done and get to where you need to be in life, but your partner doesn’t know anything but how to beg, borrow, and steal. Are you understanding of their needs? Are they understanding of your needs and anxieties? If you cannot understand each other’s point of view, that will kill your relationship sooner or later.
In a healthy relationship, you need to spend at least 75 percent of your time feeling appreciated, trusted, and understood.
If you’ve been together four years, that means you should have only spent 365 days out of those four years feeling sad. That seems like a lot of sadness, but let’s break it down this way: for every four days you are together, do you feel happy and loved three out of those four days? If the answer is no, your relationship is toxic. Nobody is perfect, but your partner should strive to make you feel loved 100 percent of the time. 75 percent is a practical leniency. Everyone has their own demons and problems to deal with, but if you’re in a relationship, you need to know how to deal with them as a team. If you can’t, your relationship is toxic.