10 Early Signs Your Relationship Will Last

Here's how to know if the person you're dating could end up being a long-term partner.
Look for these healthy habits in the early stages of a relationship.
Stígur Már Karlsson /Heimsmyndir via Getty Images
Look for these healthy habits in the early stages of a relationship.

When you’re wrapped up in the excitement of new love, it’s hard to tell if the bond you share with your partner is the real deal or just seems that way because you’re still in the honeymoon phase.

So how can you discern early on if this relationship actually has staying power or not?

We asked therapists to share the positive signs to look out for within the first six months of dating that could indicate whether the two of you have what it takes to go the distance.

1. You feel comfortable being yourselves around each other.

In the early stages of a relationship, people tend to present only the sparkliest versions of themselves, hiding anything that could make them seem less desirable in their partner’s eyes. But when you don’t feel like you constantly need to impress your partner to earn their affection — because you know this person likes you, warts and all — it bodes well for your future as a couple.

“If you can be yourself and feel comfortable letting your guard down and being you, the relationship is in good shape,” said psychologist and sex therapist Shannon Chavez.

That also means you feel like you can speak up when something’s bugging you, rather than staying quiet or only saying what you think your partner wants to hear.

“If you’re in a relationship where you feel you can be honest about how you feel, and your partner is able to hear it, support you and be vulnerable themselves, it’s an excellent sign of things to come,” said marriage and family therapist Jon-Paul Bird.

2. You consistently show up for one another.

You call when you say you’re going to call. When you agree to do something, it gets done. If you commit to a plan, your partner knows you’ll stick to it and vice versa. You know you can count on each other for things big and small.

“This indicates that each person is in the right frame of mind for a healthy relationship and that they are both on the same page,” said Deborah Duley, a psychotherapist and owner of Empowered Connections, which specializes in counseling for women, girls and the LGBTQ community. “Consistency allows for trust to build, which then allows intimacy to grow because both partners feel safe and comfortable.”

3. You’re forthcoming about your pasts.

While you’re not going to unload all of your baggage on the first date, once you’re in a relationship, it’s a good sign if you’re able to slowly open up to each other. That might mean copping to a mistake you’ve made (like racked up credit card debt) or struggles you’ve been through (like mental health or substance use issues).

“It takes courage, maturity and inner strength to be transparent and vulnerable, even with our partner, about the not-so-positive aspects about ourselves,” said Kurt Smith, a therapist who specializes in counseling men. ”These are positive qualities for building a relationship that will last and will serve you well as you navigate the ups and downs of life together.”

4. You celebrate each other’s accomplishments.

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Couples with longevity always remember that they’re on the same team. One partner’s success shouldn’t be threatening or jealousy-inducing. It’s a win for the both of you and should be celebrated as such.

“Be enthusiastic about each other and let them know how proud you are of their wins, efforts and direction,” Bird said. “One of the worst things to happen in a relationship is insecurity arising out of one partner succeeding.”

5. You sincerely apologize to each other when you’ve done something wrong.

And no, “I’m sorry you feel that way” does not count as a genuine apology. Two people who can take responsibility for their missteps, instead of rattling off a bunch of excuses for their behavior, are more likely to move through rough patches without lingering resentments.

“We all make mistakes, say things we shouldn’t have said, and can be selfish at times,” Smith said. “A simple, ‘I’m sorry’ is amazing in how healing it can be for a relationship. If you’ve got a partner who’s willing to say sorry, that’s a hard-to-find quality and strength, and you should do all you can to keep them.”

6. You’re both good listeners.

When you try to talk to your partner, do they interrupt you, scroll through Instagram or watch “Succession” over your shoulder? Or do they maintain eye contact, respond thoughtfully and remember the things you tell them — even the little stuff, like your favorite gelato flavor or the name of your family dog?

“Showing you’re willing to listen can be as simple as not looking at your phone when your partner is talking to you, being willing to mute the TV for a moment, or making time to have deeper conversations with all of the distractions turned off and giving each other your full undivided attention,” Smith said.

Even during tense conversations, you’re able to treat each other with respect. You actually hear your partner out, rather than half-listening while formulating your next point in your head.

“This means that each partner listens to the other, honors how the other feels about things and is kind and compassionate in doing so,” Duley said.

7. You share similar values and common life goals.

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For the relationship to have longevity, your major goals should be in alignment. If you’re on the same page on what matters — like your views on monogamy, your desires to start a family and your financial goals or habits — you can avoid some major rifts down the line.

“For example, if one person wants nothing more than to have three kids and the other is strictly opposed to having children there could be an issue,” Bird said. “If your partner says they don’t want kids but you do, don’t try to be ‘cool’ and agree with them hoping that they will change their mind someday. That isn’t fair to anyone.”

8. When you fight, you fight fair.

Conflict is inevitable in any relationship. Having arguments doesn’t mean you’re incompatible, it means you’re human. It’s how you conduct yourselves during those heated moments that matters.

“A good sign is that no matter how difficult the content, nobody gets nasty, nobody piles on unrelated grievances, and neither of you wants to win at your partner’s expense,” said marriage and family therapist Winifred Reilly. “Also key— when it’s all over you have a reliable way to repair.”

9. You’re adventurous and enjoy trying new things together.

If it’s less than a year into your relationship and things already feel stale between you, take note and take action. Because as the years go by, it’s only going to become more of challenge to keep things fresh. Couples who are already in the habit of changing things up — by visiting different places, taking up a hobby together or making plans with new friends — are more likely to go the distance.

“Couples that can grow together, stay together,” Chavez said. “Exploring new things and having fun help keep the passion alive in a relationship. Set the stage for making adventure a part of your relationship”

10. You spice things up in the bedroom, too.

No, that doesn’t mean you have to indulge every one of your partner’s wild fantasies, especially any that you aren’t comfortable with. But keeping an open mind where you can and finding ways to satisfy each other’s needs will set you up for a fulfilling sex life for years to come.

“You don’t have to like all the same things but you can enjoy them as a form of intimacy,” Chavez said. “You are open to trying new things together and getting out of your comfort zone.”

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