The world keeps getting smaller and our options only increase year by year.
Finding someone is easy. Finding THE one isn’t.
I always recommend leaving your emotions and feelings out of any decisions you make, however, this rule doesn’t apply when it comes to finding and falling in love. When it comes to love, feelings are often all we really have to go by. And if your partner doesn’t make you feel the way you want to feel in a relationship, it could be a giant red flag. A new relationship always feels like the greatest thing at the beginning, of course, but as your life with your SO continues, that “honeymoon phase” may subside. Those feelings that stick with you from then on could be super telling.
Of course, there is much more to love than the feelings you experience because of it, but your emotions are usually good reference points — if you understand how to interpret them. The truth is, the person you want to end up with is the person who makes you feel a certain way. But how should your partner make you feel, exactly? I spoke to relationship expert and love coach Susan Winter to find out what feelings might make or break your quest for true love.
1. This person makes you happy.
The most obvious of feelings sought after in a relationship, yet feeling happy is the one most often forgotten about. Everyone goes into a relationship looking for happiness, and when things are going well, they find it. However, sometimes, things end up going south, and it’s too easy to forget to check in with yourself to make sure you’re feeling as happy you once were. “In some people … having a partner does inspire a sense of confidence and achievement,” Winter says. But she also points out that it’s more than that. “I would urge you not to tie your happiness to your partner,” she says. “Having a partner may make you feel more positively about life, but happiness is indeed an inside job.” So, when you’re checking in with yourself, make sure you’re happy on the inside and your partner is making you even happier on the outside.
2. This person makes you feel respected.
There’s nothing worse than feeling like your wants and needs don’t matter. The right person will make you feel like your words matter just as much as theirs — and that you’re in a partnership with a level playing field. You should always feel comfortable enough to voice those opinions, and the boundaries you’ve set in your relationship should always be observed. Winter says, “What you say and what you think are important and carry weight in your relationship decisions."
3. This person makes you excited about life.
When you’re in love, your SO elevates your overall mood and could even make you look forward to things that never excited you before. You begin to see the world as a more pleasant, fairer place. There’s nothing like counting down the hours or days before you see your significant other again. “You now have someone with whom to share your experiences,” Winter says.
4. This person makes you feel at peace with yourself.
Again, just like happiness, you should feel at peace with yourself first. But, it’s important that the person you’re with continues to make you feel this way. There’s nothing worse than someone coming in and shaking things up in a bad way. In a relationship with true love, "you feel at peace with your partner, and secure in the love you share,” Winter says. “You can exhale.”
5. This person makes you feel secure.
The feeling of security is arguably the most crucial in a relationship. Everyone’s lives are filled with uncertainty, and the last thing you’ll want is to feel like you’re giving a big part of yourself to someone who isn’t taking that responsibility seriously. Feeling secure with your SO “is how we know that we are (both) in real love,” Winter says.
6. This person makes you feel appreciative.
Sometimes, you may sit back and wonder how you ended up with your bae. That feeling of appreciation is undeniably amazing, and it can spill out into other parts of your life. There’s nothing like meeting and knowing such a wonderful person who helps make you the best version of you.
7. This person gives you hope.
This person will make you hopeful of your future together. Winter says, “You can plan a life together. Perhaps you want a family, a home, or a business partner and lover. Now, you have that hope fueled by reality.”
8. This person gives you courage.
Your partner may give you the courage to take risks you otherwise wouldn't have never taken. “If your partner gives you a sense of protection and security, you may indeed feel more courageous than previously,” says Winter. Sometimes, it’s nice to know that you don’t have to go it alone.
9. This person makes you feel safe.
In a relationship, the feeling of safety is a welcome one. When you’re not constantly wondering if your SO is going to call it quits, you have time to focus on the fun parts of the relationship, like dates, events, and meeting each other’s family and friends. Winter says in a good relationship, “You're not worried that the 'other shoe will drop,' or that it's 'too good to be true.' You trust your partner's love for you as being real and solid.”
10. This person makes you feel comfortable in your own skin.
The right person will continue to make you feel proud to be you. As Winter says, “This goes back to the security aspect of being in love with a partner who is also in love with us.” When we’re in love with the right person, “we have the inherent feeling that we are [OK]; accepted for who and what we are.”
11. This person makes you feel valued.
Similar to respect, you’ll find true love if your partner makes you feel valued. A partner can do this in a multitude of ways, whether it’s committing to a date night or not ghosting you during a text conversation. “You know you're a priority in your partner's life because you have their time and attention,” Winter says. “Because your needs are important, your partner makes an effort to ensure your happiness." You never want to feel like your relationship comes second, and if your partner values you, you know it’s real.
This post was originally published on May 22, 2015. It was updated on Aug. 16, 2019. Additional reporting by Tina Kolokathis.
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