When you move out of the infamous honeymoon period, characterised by infatuation and an all-encompassing desire to be with them all the time, you return to reality and you look for real green flags that say your partner’s a keeper. When the dynamic between you is right, that reality is happier and more meaningful on a day-to-day basis. Identifying a few green flags is really important.
Even the most mundane tasks become more pleasant, because you perform them together, or for your partner, or even just while thinking of them and your plans. You get a deeper sense of who they are, your compatibility for the long term, and your future prospects and goals—which you can work toward as a team.
However, if you’ve not had a long-term relationship before, or you have but it went pear-shaped, it can be hard to identify the signs that this one’s a keeper—otherwise known as green flags. How much should you sacrifice for your partner, and expect them to sacrifice for you? How important is it if your hobbies and interests diverge? Is it significant that you seem to argue a lot? Let’s explore nine tried and tested green flags, which you can look out for when weighing up the future with your potential partner.
1. They make you feel great about yourself—even when you feel rotten
Even when you’re down in the dumps, they remind you just how brilliant you are, how good you are at what you do, and more importantly just how much you mean to them. They know exactly the right thing to say when you’re feeling blue, how to make you smile through that frown, how to squeeze in a well-timed pick-me-up when it feels like things are falling apart. Through their kindness and positivity, they empower you to be your most confident and able self, every single day. All they want is for you to be happy.
2. You can meet in the middle
Compromise isn’t a dirty word in a relationship. Being able to meet somewhere in the middle is a huge green flag. Many decisions, small as well as big, involve balancing the needs of one with those of the other—and sometimes also with those of the couple as a whole. Perfect alignment is rare, and disagreements are natural—the key to look out for is how these negotiations are conducted. Is your partner fair, generous, accommodating, understanding, resourceful with their suggestions? If the two of you are consistently able to meet halfway, that’s a surefire sign that this relationship’s moving in the right direction.
3. Your core values align
It’s a misconception that partners need to have the exact same interests. In fact, sometimes it’s helpful to have completely different hobbies and pastimes—it keeps conversation and plans dynamic and ever-changing. But when it comes to values, symmetry is crucial. Both your life goals and principles must be similar, otherwise you face inevitable conflict and unwinnable situations. Whether it comes to your plans to start a family, where you want to live, or even just how you choose to live your lives, what’s important to one must be important to the other. And if that’s case, you know you’ve got a rock-solid foundation on which to build an unshakeable relationship.
4. They’re a good listener
A great partner understands the importance of giving you the floor, allowing you to vent and sitting attentively, listening not only to your worries and concerns but also to your hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Everyone needs to feel not just heard, but really listened to and understood. It doesn’t matter if what you’re speaking about is niche, boring, even traumatic—a brilliant partner knows how to act as a sounding board, reflect back to you, and pose timely and pertinent questions in the gaps. Ultimately, good listening demonstrates that your partner values your thoughts and opinions, and that they want to help and be there for you. Feeling heard and supported is probably the best green flag in a relationship.
5. You don’t worry about telling them what’s on your mind
When you’re with the right person, there’s little judgement—and even if there is, your partner ensures it’s measured and constructive, perhaps to help you gain an outside or more objective view on what’s going on. You feel liberated to just be yourself, showing all sides of your personality. You know you can get your worries out on the table rather than feeling like you have to bottle them up all the time.
6. Disagreements don’t equal arguments
Arguments aren’t automatically a bad thing over the long term. In fact, depending on how the two of you handle them, they can be integral to the longevity of your relationship. If your partner’s the right person, you both feel able to express different or even opposing views without fear of rebuke or emotional reprisal, secure in the knowledge that the conversation—even should it escalate to a full-blown argument—won’t fracture your relationship’s foundations. Even if the two of you fundamentally disagree, you should be able to understand the other’s perspective, respect your divergence, and even endeavour to learn something new by trying out another view on the issue. This is also excellent practice for when the two of you face a challenge within the relationship itself.
7. You have their undivided attention
It can be a gut punch when you turn around mid-sentence and realise they’ve been scrolling social media the entire time you’ve been lamenting your awful day at work. But the right person would never dream of doing that, because they’re interested and invested in you pretty much unconditionally. They are totally present in your company, regardless of the ubiquitous distractions of tech, screens, and notifications.
8. It’s the little things
Gestures don’t have to be grand to be romantic. In fact, oftentimes it’s the small and subtle moments that stand out the most, and remind just how wonderful your partner is and how lucky you are. Whether you wake up to a piping-hot coffee on the bedside table, receive a cute text before your biannual appraisal, or come home to dinner and a glass of wine when they know you’ve had a tough day, knowing they’ve been thinking of you and done something to make your life that little bit better can make all the difference in that moment.
9. Your nearest and dearest adore them
If the people who know you best and you’ve spent your life around get on swimmingly with your partner, that’s perhaps the brightest green flag of all. Our friends and family are great judges of character—sometimes they know us and what’s good for us better than us ourselves. So while they may be protective and sceptical at the beginning, if your loved ones warm to your partner and enjoy their company, you can be confident you’re probably on to a winner!
Green flags can be hard to come by—but they are so worth the wait
Meeting a potential partner can be tough—and working out if they’re the right one for life is another thing altogether. But once you know what signs characterise a stellar relationship, the whole process becomes a lot more comprehensible—even if finding the right person is still difficult. Luckily, help isn’t far away.
Maclynn (formerly Vida) is an elite, multi-award-winning international dating agency. We’re renowned for bringing together highly compatible singles, and our world-class matchmakers are relationship experts in their own right. If you’re unsure of which path to take in finding your life partner, we can point you in the right direction. Get in touch today, and together let’s help you meet the one who’s nothing but green flag after green flag.