Have you found the keeper?
Learn more about yourself and how to recognise the right partner
There’s no shortage of articles online, in lifestyle magazines and we will add some more in Awakening blog about dating red flags: If she’s rude to the waiters or your Uber driver, it’s a big red flag. If he spends half the date talking about his “crazy ex,” run away as fast as you can…the list is long, if not endless but this post is not one of them.
Have you ever asked yourself what the signs that you found a keeper are? I believe that many times. We asked relationship experts across the world to share a few little green flags that you’ve struck lucky with your new love. This post will tell you what they said.
1. Keeper is the first person you want to share good — or bad news with
You just got promoted or called out in a meeting by your boss for a project well done. Your first thought is to call your partner. Or you just heard that upcoming layoffs would impact your team. You call them about that too. Whether it’s good or bad news, your partner is always a reliable sounding board, said Ryan Howes, a psychologist.
“When you’ve found one whom you consider your lifelong mate, you want to share all the best and worst news with them because you know they’ll celebrate with you or provide the support to get through the rough times,” he said. “If they’re your first go-to with this news, it means you feel safe to share the most intimate parts of yourself with them.”
2. You’re the real, authentic “you” around keeper
Chris Rock once said of dating, “When you meet somebody for the first time, you’re not meeting them, you’re meeting their representative.” When you’re with someone you connect with, you drop the facade and act pretty much exactly as you do when you’re alone: You’re comfortable at home with them. You snort when you laugh. You go along with your rant after a rough day at work, knowing there will be zero judgments. You’re the real you, not “date representative” you.
Have you ever asked yourself what the signs that you found a keeper are? I believe that many times.
“You don’t have to try to impress them because you know they adore you no matter what,” said Shannon Chavez, a psychologist and sex therapist. “You can be hanging out in your pyjamas all day, and they remind you how beautiful you are and how much they love spending time with you. They notice the small things about who you truly are and they appreciate them.”
3. Keepers communication skills are top-notch, even when life is crappy
A good partner knows that communication is the foundation of a healthy relationship: They’re consistent with calls and texts when you’re apart and are tuned in and engaged during conversations.
A great partner keeps those A+ communication habits up even when the two of you inevitably clash with different opinions. Instead of running away from conflict, they want to see it through with you.
“When you have a keeper, the communication flows both ways in the relationship nearly all the time,” said Jennifer Miller, a marriage therapist. “When conflict arises, they talk it through with you in a calm, respectful manner without avoiding, blowing up, or worst…leaving.”
4. They’re flexible enough to do some things your way without being resentful, blaming or thinking they’ve ‘lost.’
All couples fight it would be unhealthy if you didn’t argue here and there. Couples with strong and healthy connection have arguments, but during the fight, they keep one thought firmly in mind: We’re on the same team.
Whether you’re arguing about the quickest route to the freeway or something more substantial, a quality partner hears you out when you make your case. They’re focused on solving the problem, rather than winning the debate, said Winifred Reilly, a family therapist. “Anyone can simply comply with rules, but a healthy and secure person can let go or try things in a new way out of curiosity or generosity,” she said.
“If they’re your first go-to with this news, it means you feel safe to share the most intimate parts of yourself with them.”
“And when they are wrong on the issue, they’re comfortable admitting it”: said Benjamin, a counsellor at Framework Associates: “It’s a good sign for the relationship when both partners can recognise their imperfections,” he said. “It’s even better when both partners can let go of their ego and defences and admit fault. Introspection like that is unique.”
5. Your close friends are big fans
Your best friends have seen the good, the bad and the ugly during your dating days. They know what unhealthy relationship patterns you’re trying to prevent. That makes them uniquely qualified to give their opinion on your new partner and the impact that person has on you, Howes said.
“Old friends know your dirty laundry and have a perspective on you that predates the life you are currently living,” he explained. “They’ll know whether your current mate is an improvement on your relationship trajectory or a reversion.”
Early on in your relationship, ask yourself this: “Are you confident that your new love will get your friends stamp of approval or are they going to tell you that you’re sliding back into your old ways with them?”
“While your friends aren’t the ultimate authority on your life, they may have a perspective worth listening to,” Howes said.
6. You’re proud to call them your partner
“At the end of the day, you’re proud to have this person by your side, and they feel the same way about you”, said Kathleen Dahlen DeVos, the psychotherapist. “Whether it’s their dedication to their career, passion for volunteer work, commitment to friends and family or the knowledge that you could take them anywhere and be proud to know this person and to have them by your side,” she continued.
Falling in love is always wonderful, but falling in love with someone you think makes the world a better place is something else entirely. Their shine rubs off on you and vice versa.
“This sense of pride infuses your relationship with a deep sense of gratitude for them, which is a wonderful ingredient for long-term success,” she said. “And when you know that your partner feels just as proud to be with you, it sets up a relationship that’s based not just on love, but mutual appreciation.”