1. You don't have to see each other every day.
If you can, then why not? But you don't have to nag each other about you or your partner coming over just because you haven't seen a glimpse of each other for the day (yet). For long-distance relationships, if you can insert that five-minute FaceTime before you head for work (and before he hits the sack), then great. However, you don't feel it a requirement for you to start your day right and for him to cap his day off with it.
And this isn't about not making time for seeing each other, it's just that you've reached a point in your relationship when you've realized the difference about being there and being clingy. Minus the Skype, FaceTime and whatever video call apps you use, you are present. And he knows that.
2. You don't have to update each other of the most minute of details...
...like if you've already eaten, what you had for lunch, etc. every. single. day. You aren't absorbed in the world you've created just for you and your boyfriend. Your boyfriend coexists with all the other characters and elements of your world. He's a part of it -- maybe a major part of it -- but not it.
3. You don't impose your friends to be his friends and vice versa.
If they can be friends by themselves without your pushing and shoving them together, wouldn't that be a bonus? But you respect both your guy and your friends and know that how you relate to his friends (or how he does to yours) isn't an area where anyone could pass a judgment to your compatibility as a couple.
4. You don't (try to) impress each other with the most expensive of gifts.
If both of you can afford it is a different story. What I'm saying is there are some couples who spoil each other (or just the other) with very pricey items when that single present already equates to a month's total of his or her net pay. You've reached a maturity with finances and both of you would rather plan on your anniversary getaway or a major investment for your future.
5. You don't use any filter when you talk.
Finances filter, family filter, girlfriends/boyfriends filter, exes-filter, etc -- everything is out in the open. Honesty has always been the best policy.
6. You don't torture yourself with boredom to death by pretending to like what he likes.
Your guy enjoys video games; you enjoy your books. Your guy enjoys outdoor sports; you enjoy a cup of coffee in your little nook. He listens to pop music; you worship The Script. While you give a chance for each other to get a peek of your world, you don't force him into being in yours.
7. You don't care what he sees anymore when you're without makeup and/or fresh from slumber.
You're past those days when you thought that you always have to put your 'best face' forward. You've become comfortable with being all natural. You've seen your beauty without makeup in his eyes.
8. You don't support him in all his rants and complaints about the world.
When he needs a good sermon, it's you he hears it from. If he's wrong, you tell him. There's no sugarcoating when you think he needs a slap of reality. You don't condone his wrong acts, you correct him. You don't feed him with false "it's okay"s.
9. You don't act like a curfew officer anymore.
You know he's going to have to make some time for his friends and you know he's going to have to stay some nights out. You know him well to be sure that he's going to go home when he thinks it's time. And you respect his judgment of "it's time".
10. You talk about the specifics of the future...
...10 years, 20 years from now. You share dreams of tomorrow. You see him in the big scenes of what lies ahead. You see him as your partner in accomplishing these dreams.
11. No buts, no ifs. He is your ally.
Whatever, whenever, wherever. It's always going to be you and him against the world. You can take on whatever life throws at you because you know he will always be somewhere there -- either holding your hand before that big jump or just an inch behind you as you take that most dangerous step that you have to take by yourself. But you're never really alone in the most literal sense; you will always have a sidekick.
12. You value his thoughts. He values yours.
He has a say on the major changes in your life so as he does to those in yours. His opinion is taken in earnest because you know he's one of the few people in the world who would sincerely and selflessly want the best for you. He would give it to you straight and simple. Sometimes, his thoughts would open you up to new wavelengths of thinking, make you affirm those thoughts that you already hold or make you totally say no to some that you haven't been sure about.
13. You don't really see or consider him as a boyfriend anymore.
He has become more like a brother? Err. No. He's more like a brother and lover combined. He's somewhere between those two. Not a brother, no longer a boyfriend, not yet a husband. LIFE MATE? That's more like it.
A version of this post originally appeared on Alyssa Sees the World.