10 Ways to Know Your Relationship Is The Real Deal

June 30, 2016


Successful relationships all start out the same way. Once you’ve met and gotten over the initial hurdles of establishing mutual attraction, the signs that your relationship will (or will not) work out are all there – if you pay careful attention.


Here is a checklist of ten things that characterize a relationship that has the potential to be great – and lasting:


1. √ You have no doubts about the relationship.
2. √ There is no drama or mystery.
3. √ There is a strong mutual physical attraction.
4. √ There is consistent demonstration of affection and expression of feeling.
5. √ There is no subject that feels scary to talk about, including your future together.
6. √ Both of you provide strong, continuous positive reinforcement and support to the other.
7. √ You feel no need to ask close friends or family for advice about your relationship.
8. √ You feel no need to explain, defend or excuse anything about your partner to yourself or others.
9. √ You find yourselves agreeing about everything you consider important in life.
10. √ You feel strongly that your partner is admirable and worthy of your respect.

Most of the questions I get from readers involve confusing, complicated scenarios. The writer is usually lacking critical information, so they don’t know how to proceed. If you’re in a situation like that, the best advice is to “Move on.” Great relationships don’t begin that way.

I’ve wondered why people stick around for the punishment in these dead end relationships with poor prospects. I think it’s because they don’t really believe it when happy couples tell them “When it’s right, you’ll know. It will be so easy!” I can understand their skepticism – if you haven’t had that experience, it’s hard to imagine it ever happens. Or maybe they feel they won’t ever be lucky enough to have it happen to them.

The skeptics are correct when they say that most relationships don’t start out that way. Most relationships don’t lead to marriage – and that’s a good thing. When you hold your relationships to a high but appropriate standard, you’ll be able to tell very early whether a relationship is for real, or for wasting time.

One of the worst things about hookup culture is that casual sexual relationships violate every one of these criteria. They are designed not to last, and trying to re-engineer them backwards to commitment is no easy task.

A relationship leading to a strong, successful, and rewarding commitment will score 10 out of 10 on this checklist. A 9 out of 10 isn’t good enough. Only a “perfect score” justifies hanging in. Of course, sometimes people marry who can’t check off any of these items – but that’s not the marriage I want for you.

Note that there are lots of things that not on this list that may also be very important to you, like sexual compatibility or sense of humor. All those things are extra – you can add them but they can’t replace any of these ten criteria.

These are the things that constitute a great match. If you demand these things from every relationship, you’ll find your true partner faster and with a minimum of collateral damage.

Please believe me when I say that this is really what a great relationship should look like. Don’t settle for less.