When you finally get into a mature, healthy relationship after being in some headache-inducingly juvenile ones, it’s like a whole new world. Two adults following good relationship advice and working to make things as incredible as possible is a beautiful thing.
And even if your relationship isn’t as mature as you’d like, there’s some good news: if you both make a commitment to grow together, it might blossom into a beautiful, adult bond that can go the distance.
Here are 14 signs your relationship will go the distance, and goals to work towards if yours isn’t quite there yet:
1. For starters, you’ve both agreed that you’re dating each other.
You can’t have a healthy relationship if you haven’t defined whether you are, in fact, in a relationship. Of course, there’s that whole are-we-or-aren’t-we stage that most couples go through in the beginning, and for good reason — it’s a thrilling part of determining whether someone is actually right for you.
But there comes a point when keeping the relationship talk off the table is holding you back from forming a truly adult connection.
2. You know where you each stand on important issues like children.
As in, whether you’d each like to have them. Also falling under this important-issues umbrella: where you’d like to settle down, how you both feel about marriage, whether you’re open to couple’s therapy when things get rough, and what constitutes cheating.
This isn’t a go-ahead to bombard someone promising with a zillion super-serious questions. These topics usually arise naturally, so avoiding them like the plague is a giveaway you might not be in the most grown-up relationship.
3. Screaming isn’t part of your fighting.
Or, at the very least, when you do get heated and start to raise the volume, you both know to back off and take a time-out rather than potentially shouting something you can never take back. And calling the other person names or hurling insults at each other? Definitely not an option.
4. You don’t fly off the handle when someone hits on your partner, and vice versa.
You both know you can’t help it if someone else finds one of you attractive. As long as the person in question responds in a way that makes it clear they’re off the market, neither of you freaks out or sulks, and it certainly doesn’t turn into a fight.
5. You each think seeing the other in pleasure is sexy.
There’s no room for over-the-top selfishness in your bedroom. Instead, you each care about making sure the other person feels as good as possible every time you have sex.
6. Neither of you is surprised, then angry, after seeing the credit card bill.
Because you’ve each made sure the other knows about your financial situations, and you spend and save with your partner’s happiness and comfort in mind.
7. You aren’t joined at the hip.
Hobbies! They’re a thing people in evolved relationships have, no matter how much they love each other. Doing stuff apart from your partner shows that you care about cultivating other aspects of your life, which is key.
As romantic as it is to tell someone they’re you’re everything, living that way in practice is the perfect subject matter for a movie called Codependency: The Surprising Homewrecker You Didn’t See Coming.
8. You’re not always worried the relationship is about to end.
You generally both feel stable and secure. Even when you’re fighting, the “I’m about to break up with you” threat isn’t on the table, unless something serious is going on.
9. Your friends don’t need a chart to track whether you’re on or off.
It’s definitely possible to get back together successfully after breaking up, but that’s usually, like, one breakup, working on your issues, then getting back together knowing what the weak spots are in the relationship.
Breaking up and making up every other week doesn’t count, and your friends are bound to get tired of hearing about it.
10. You brag about each other’s career accomplishments.
And look over each other’s cover letters with excitement and meticulousness. When you’re in a healthy relationship, you each want the other person to feel fulfilled at work, even if it means you don’t get to spend as much time together.
This is also proof that you both actually have goals instead of one of you forcing the other to grow up and get a job.
11. Neither of you falls off the face of the earth after an argument.
It’s all well and good to take a time out after a fight, but that should never extend to icing the other person out to the point that it gets worrisome. Instead of being constructive, that’s a power play that’s sure to hurt someone’s feelings.
12. You don’t spend every weekend cleaning while they sit on the couch.
Beyond being fair, sharing chores can actually be pretty sexy in the grand scheme of things. It’s a sign you each respect your relationship, the other person’s time, and the home you’ve created together.
13. Neither of you has hacked into the other’s phone and cried over its contents.
Or, if you have, whichever of you did it came clean, explained why you were feeling insecure, then never did it again.
14. Instead of being a struggle, it’s easy to be together.
There’s something deliciously exciting about being in a relationship that’s built on passion, drama, and uncertainty. Unfortunately, that’s also a hallmark of a relationship that isn’t as mature as you’ll eventually need.
When it’s easy to feel content from day to day, show someone you love them, and receive that same love in return, it’s a sign you’re in an adult relationship that may be built to last.
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Zahra Barnes is the Deputy Health Editor of SELF, covering women’s lives with a focus on wellness. She specializes in sexual, reproductive, and mental health. Follow her on Twitter.
This article was originally published at Self. Reprinted with permission from the author.