Great article and wanted to share 🙂
By Amy Spencer
First, the good news: You’re headed toward happily ever after if…
1. You discover quirky things you have in common
It’s one thing to discover you both like the new Coldplay album. It’s another to discover your tastes or habits jibe in more surprising ways. “What confuses people is that they think they’re a match because they have things in common that many people have in common, like favorite books or songs, so they’re fooled into thinking they’re on the same wavelength,” says Sam R. Hamburg, Ph.D., author of Will Our Love Last? “The more uncommon and surprising your similarities are, the better.” That was definitely the case for one Rochester, NY dater named Patrick McAvoy. “I have this weird habit of belting out what I’m doing in song, so when I started dating Bethany, one morning I started singing ‘Here I am, in the shower…’ to the tune of Jesus Christ Superstar,” recalls the 29-year-old. “When she started singing back, making up more words to the same tune, I couldn’t believe it! I knew it would work out.” And it has — for three years so far.
2. Neither of you flinch when the future comes up
It’s a new-couple nightmare: One of you blurts out something like, “Ooh, next summer we should go to Greece” — and then freezes, fearing the other person will think, “Next year? We don’t even know if we’ll make it to next month!” But if you and your date don’t bat an eye — or better, smile and agree — you’ve successfully crossed a crucial divide. “It’s a sign that you both feel stable in the relationship,” says Sharyn Wolf, author of So You Want To Get Married: Guerilla Tactics For Turning A Date Into A Mate. So while we don’t suggest making plans with your date for next Christmas, take careful notes on what happens if you do mention some advance planning.
3. It’s super-important that your friends like your new partner
You thought introducing your date to your parents was the ultimate test? On the contrary, introducing him or her to your friends is even more pivotal. That’s because while you can’t choose your family, you can choose your friends, so they reflect the person you’ve become over the years. So if you find yourself prepping your pals about someone you’d “really like them to meet,” it’s a sign you’re seeing this relationship as more than just a fling. “When I introduced my girlfriend Yvi to my friends, I was completely nervous beforehand because we were from such different worlds — she was a Hispanic girl from Newark, and I was a banker from the Jersey shore,” says Dave Koczan-Santiago. “And truthfully, things didn’t click right away. But when I realized how important it was to me that they all like each other, I knew the relationship was a bigger deal to me than I even thought it was. Now here we are, 10 years later, happily married.”
4. You think in “we” terms even when the going gets tough
Sooner or later, all couples start transitioning from “Hey, what are you doing Saturday night?” to “Hey, what are we doing Saturday night?” Sure, that’s good, but for a real gauge on your relationship, see how you react to these scenarios: If your date wants to leave a party early, do you happily offer to leave as a couple rather than feeling annoyed or wanting to stay on your own? If your boss wants you to plan a business trip, do you wonder whether it fits with your sweetie’s schedule? These are signs you’re truly willing to merge lives, and it’s all the more telling if you weren’t into your date’s “thing” to begin with. “I live in New York and could live my whole life without a car and be happy, but when my boyfriend said he wanted to bring his Chevy pickup with him when he moved here from Boston, of course I offered to help him find cheap insurance and parking,” says Erin Brennan. “The interesting thing is that after driving it a few times and investing all the time in helping him, I found myself telling people about ‘our’ truck and really starting to understand why he loves it so much.”
5. You constantly stumble across things you want to share
Most couples will exchange a few “thinking of you” phone calls or emails when they’re apart. But if you can’t walk down the street without tripping over some funny story to tell later or can’t leave a store without thinking at least once, “Oh, my sweetie would love that…” then things are rosy indeed. Basically, it’s a sign that while you may not realize you’re thinking about your date, you are and just can’t help it, explains Wolf.
Now, the bad news: You could be headed toward a dead end if…
1. You roll your eyes at each other during an argument
You say potato, your date says… well, even if he or she says it the same way, it’s a given you’re not going to see eye-to-eye on everything. And that’s okay — your differences are what make things interesting! But while disagreeing is fine, it’s bad news if one of you rolls your eyes at the other during the argument. “The reason you roll your eyes at someone is because the other person is saying something you think makes absolutely no sense to you and you don’t respect what they’re saying,” says Hamburg. And since R-E-S-P-E-C-T is the cornerstone to any good relationship, take any eye-rolling you or your mate does as a bad omen.
2. You can’t handle the uncomfortable silences
Every date has its quiet lulls here and there when the dialogue runs dry, and if these moments don’t faze you, congratulations for reaching that comfort level. But if you find yourself squirming in your seat, trying to come up with things to say, checking your cell phone hoping to find a voicemail, or going back to the same old topics (“Have you talked to your sister lately?”) that could spell trouble, since it shows you’re not really relaxed when you’re around them. Take it from Jason Parker of Atlanta: “The whole time my date and I were eating dinner, we’d have moments of silence during which she kept checking her cell phone,” he says. “Finally I asked her if she was waiting for a call, and she said, ‘No, I’m just checking the time.’ As if that was any better!” Whether this gal was indeed nervous or just plain rude, either way, Jason was relieved when their brief relationship was happily over.
3. Your dates are always chock-full of distractions
It’s healthy for you and your love to fill your time together with fun activities and mutual friends — that is, as long as that’s not all you do together. “It’s not a good sign if the only things you’re saying to each other are, ‘Let’s hang with friends, or let’s do something like go to the ballgame or a movie,’” says Wolf. The reason: These things are buffers that help you avoid really getting to know each other, which may indicate that your one-on-one time isn’t so thrilling. If an offer of “Tonight, let’s just hang out together alone” doesn’t sound exciting, ask yourself: Do you really want to spend the rest of your life with this person?
4. You find yourself criticizing little things about each other
Everyone tends to be positive to each other on the first few dates, “but if the other person starts making critical comments, like not liking what you’re wearing, that’s not good,” says Dr. Hamburg. Criticism, whether you realize it or not, is a way of pushing someone away — so if either of you are saying things that seem innocuous like, “That shirt looks weird” or “How can you stand living on this street?” you’re tapping into a bigger problem. “As time passes, you should find yourself wanting to treat your partner as well as you did at the beginning of your relationship,” says Bonnie Eaker Weil, Ph.D., a relationship expert in New York, NY. If not, consider this breakdown in polite behavior very bad news.
5. You only want to deal with each other when the chips are up
It’s a red flag if the person you’re with gives you the cold shoulder when you’re not feeling hunky dory about something in your life. Happily ever after means loving — or at least liking — someone when life isn’t so sweet. “I was seeing a guy who was usually wonderful, but when I would have a bad day and wanted to just talk to him or be near him, I’d call, and he wouldn’t call back for days,” says Rachel Harrison of Brooklyn, NY. “He just didn’t seem to want to know the whole me, in good times and bad.” And being able to weather the tough times — together — is definitely a quality that every good relationship needs.
Amy Spencer is a free lance writer based in New York City. She has contributed to Glamour, Maxim, New York and Real Simple.