You can fall in love with just about anyone, especially the wrong people. Believe me, if there's one thing I'm an expert in, it's falling in love with sh*tty men.
First, there was the guy who wore fedoras. Then, there was the guy who hated my parents. There was the guy who cheated on me, whom I stayed with for five years for some reason, and then, the man who only wanted to be emotionally — but not physically — exclusive.
I also once had a very long, beautiful relationship with a guy who turned out to be better as just a friend.
When it comes down to it, I have no real idea about what makes a relationship actually work. And yes, relationships are work. But how can I tell if I'm in the right one?
Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, noted psychotherapist and author of Smart Relationships, and Anita A. Chlipala, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love, laid out some questions to ask yourself to determine if the person you're in love with is actually right for you.
Are you happy with "who and how" you are with this person and your relationship?
Wish says you should ask yourself this question.
If you're changing for the worse in your relationship, then it's probably not right for you.
"Too often the desire to stay with someone can prompt you to do things that don't make you proud," Wish says.
For example, if you start drinking too much to keep up with your partner, or if you're a social person who finds yourself now never seeing your friends, it might be time to ask yourself if you're losing yourself in your relationship.
Are you with your partner for their potential or for who they actually are?
"You can't ask your partner to change who they are, but you can ask for behavior modification," Chlipala explains.
You need to be able to distinguish between the fantasy of who you want your partner to be and the reality of who they actually are. "Are [you] dating for their partner's potential or do [you] really respect and appreciate [your] partner for who they are?" Chlipala asks.
Chlipala continues that it's important that you don't date someone who has your dating deal breakers. If you know you want children but your partner doesn't, don't go into the relationship expecting things will change. Often, they won't, and you're just wasting each other's valuable dating time.
Are you trying to make up for your past?
Just because one person didn't work in the past, doesn't mean that you need to start dating entirely different kinds of people. Are you actually into your current partner, or are you just trying to make up for bad decisions you think you made in the past?
For example, you might assume that because you chose a 'mover and a shaker' whose sense of command ended up commanding and demanding things of you, that you should then choose a milder person. And there's nothing wrong with even-tempered people. But sometimes, these easy-going people are only like that when the 'going is good.' If a crisis or major decision occurs, they collapse.
The grass isn't always greener, so treat every relationship individually to decide if it's right for you.
Do you roll your eyes at one another?
Because that's a very bad sign.
Things like "sarcasm, mockery, eye-rolling, and insults convey contempt in a relationship," and "research shows contempt is the most toxic relationship behavior" because "contempt conveys disgust," Chlipala says.
There's no real recovery from your partner being disgusted by you. So if you're hurling insults at one another or if the joking is going a step too far, it's probably time to reevaluate your relationship.
Have you stuck by your partner's side in good times and bad times?
It's not enough to just get along when things are good. You also have to make sure you're on the same team when things get hard.
Wish explains, "People react to success, failure, and challenges differently. The person who was down on their luck might grab a gentle soul; but when success finally comes, the person no longer needs such comforting arms, and then seeks someone with cash, success, connections, etc."
Be with one another long enough to share life experiences together and see how you deal with them as a team. This is a good indicator for whether or not the person you're in love with is actually right for you.
When you fell for this person, what was happening in your life?
Did you feel pressured to settle down with a partner, or is this someone you actually want to be with?
Roll a movie in your head about the last year of your life. What was happening? Did you have a loss? Are you getting older -- and lonelier? Are you the only sibling or cousin not married or at least 'with' someone? Divorce, death of a parent, aging, and other losses can propel people to mate.
What do your doubts and worst moments look like?
How bad are your fights? If you would still be comfortable if your worst moments were made public, then your relationship is probably a good one.
"Would you like your doubts and worst moments with your partner posted on Facebook -- or how about that lighted ticker tape at Times Square in New York City? Or, what if you had to tell your best friends about all your doubts and bad incidents?" Wish asks.
All couples fight, and relationships take work, but if you and your partner fight dirty, that's not going to make for a successful relationship in the long haul. Make sure you're just as proud and confident in your good moments as you are in your bad ones.
So when it comes to figuring out if your boo is right for you, maybe ask yourself these questions. But most importantly, make sure you don't roll your eyes at one another. That's a deal breaker.