9 Green Flags of A Healthy, Lasting Relationship

All great love stories start and end in Bali.

I know, because I’ve been there.

I was touring the island before the great pandemic of 2020 started.

A colleague of mine joined me from the U.S. and arrived on Valentine’s Day so we could both sight-see Bali together. On the same flight as my colleague was the woman whom I would soon get to know and start planning a life with.

When I met her, I discovered we had even more similarities with each other. Both having been married and divorced, both from the East and living in the West and both of us wanting to return to our home countries instead of staying in the West immediately drew us to each other.

Within a couple of conversations, I knew this had long-term potential and that she could be the one. When we left Bali after a whirlwind 10-day trip, I was convinced I would be moving to Europe to live happily ever after with her.

Little did I know that when she returned to Europe and I returned to Asia, a worldwide lockdown would start that would prevent both of us from seeing each other for months to come.

Even one year later, we are unable to see each other or visit each other.

With the lockdown in effect and nowhere to go, we got to know each other virtually and by phone for several months. We learned more about each other through hours of communication for several months of the pandemic and she became the closest person I’ve ever gotten to know.

In hindsight, she portrayed many green flags of a healthy, long-term partner for me — and, ultimately, a red flag that helped me discover what the right partner for me would be.

Here are 9 signs to know if your partner is right for you (plus a bonus point at the end!):

1. They want to know everything about you

Your partner is curious about you and wants to know as much as they can about you. They want to know your background and about your life experiences. They’re curious as to your views of the world, your opinions, preferences, and perspective.

The two of us had all the time in the world because of the worldwide pandemic and lockdown to get to know each other. The more we knew each other, the more we could understand each other. The better we understood the other person and their perspective in life, the more compatible we could be.

What this means in practice:

Expect them to ask lots of questions and get curious about you.

They’ll take an active interest in your life and want to be familiar with all parts of it. They want to know the highlights and the struggles.

2. They make plans for the future

Since we were in lockdown and couldn’t move, we had plenty of time to discuss what we wanted after the lockdown when we could see each other again. We planned for the long term and saw our lives well into the future.

We both spoke about the future often. We spoke about jobs, working locations, and even countries we would live in. We talked about our current family, career aspirations, and future family. We talked about weddings and life after marriage. We knew from the beginning that we were here for the long term.

What this means in practice:

Be ready to discuss your future life together.

The one for you won’t leave you guessing about where the relationship is going and what the future will look like.

3. They support and encourage you

Most of us are filled with self-doubts and are constantly second-guessing ourselves. We are afraid to take risks in our personal or professional lives. We believe that anything new we do won’t work out or won’t work in our favor.

A supportive partner will help you see your highest and best self even if you don’t. They will encourage you to follow your dreams and pursue your interests. They’ll help you see what’s possible and remove the mental obstacles out of the way instead of limiting your potential. They won’t foil your plans or stand in the way.

What this means in practice:

Be prepared to have someone let you know that you can do it and that you deserve to have what you want in life.

Even if things don’t work out as you wanted, it’s not the end of the world and they’ll still be there for you.

4. They see you and accept you for who you are

Instead of trying to change each other, we completely accepted each other. I accepted her family, her story of overcoming adversity, and what she wanted to do with her life. I accepted her quirks and even her flaws. I saw her “flaws” as something that made her unique and stand out.

Your person will see you for the person that you are. They will accept you with quirks and all. Instead of trying to change you or tell you how you don’t measure up, there is an unconditional acceptance of you are. They’ll accept your background, your wounds that you bring with you, and the journey that you’ve been on. They’ll accept you and then help you become a better version of yourself.

What this means in practice:

You’ll find someone who is not trying to change you but simply values you for being you.

You will feel unconditional acceptance instead of judgment and criticism.

5. They are able to communicate to resolve problems

There were some differences between us including family, cultural and religious differences. Many of these topics were thorny and unpleasant but we were willing to talk through each one. When I first brought up something that was difficult, I was met with open ears and understanding, not criticism and a holier than thou attitude.

We realized that we could talk through all the hard stuff and nothing was really that hard if we communicated about it. We could solve our differences and any arguments by working through them. Interestingly, when you communicate and are on the same side, you find you don’t have very many arguments.

What this means in practice:

You won’t feel like you’ve not been heard or listened to.

The one will make you feel heard, seen, and at peace because you can talk about issues that come up between both of you and resolve them. Open communication leads to a happy and compatible partnership.

6. They treat you as an equal partner

When I met this woman, I felt like we were on the same page and on equal footing. There were no feelings of superiority or inferiority. There were no jealousies or resentment towards each other. There was no feeling that one of us was better than the other.

We didn’t get caught up in our cultures, families, economic status, or religious differences. We were willing to put that all aside and looked at each other for who we were. It was character and actions that we valued in each other, instead of qualities that we had no control over.

We were walking on the same journey together and at the same pace. We valued each other, were grateful for each other, and treated each other with respect.

What this means in practice:

You won’t feel like you will have to prove yourself to anyone else.

The other person will treat you like an equal partner. You’ll put each other in the other person’s shoes and treat each other the way that you want to be treated.

7. They want to uplift you and see you succeed

The one will want you to feel good about yourself and want you to come out ahead. They will support you in your career, projects, and life. They want you to succeed because it’s what you want for yourself. They will see your success as your shared success.

When we were together, she started a home-based catering business that was beginning to bloom. Instead of questioning her about why she was doing it, I helped come up with logos and marketing ideas to help her sell her food items to more people. Her success in anything she did would only inspire me to be successful in my own work.

What this means in practice:

Look for someone who will cheer you and root for your success.

They won’t be threatened by your success and will be happy for you that you’re doing well in what you enjoy doing. They will never be jealous of your success.

8. They are on the same side as you

When you’re arguing or fighting, you won’t feel like you’re battling an opponent. When we fought, we fought fair because we were on the same side. It wasn’t me versus her but what we both wanted together. We may disagree on the approach but we knew that the end goal was the same.

With the right person, you won’t feel like you’re in a battle royale with someone who has different interests than you do. You won’t feel like you’re winning when the other person loses. You won’t create differences and oppose each other vehemently. You’ll realize that you’re on the same team and ultimately want the same things.

What this means in practice:

They will care about what you want and help you get it.

They will reduce conflict and overcome obstacles so you both achieve what you want together. They are willing to set their ego aside for harmony.

9. They forgive easily and mend problems quickly

When we did have one disagreement, we were able to work through it by communicating about it. There were no hard feelings about our disagreement. We forgave each other for the misunderstanding and moved on. We didn’t hold onto grudges for weeks or months.

Your “one” person in your life will not hold something over you for months and years. They won’t revisit old arguments of previous disagreements to make you feel bad. They’ll let past hurts stay in the past and forgive you for things you might have done wrong. Most mistakes and errors can be overlooked for the sake of maintaining a healthy relationship.

What this means in practice:

There is a high value on forgiveness, repairing things gone wrong, and mending misunderstandings.

Instead of expecting perfection, your one person will seek forgiveness and release any ill-will they may have had towards you. They let the past stay in the past instead of holding it over you.

The ultimate way to know if your partner is the one for you:

The final and most important way to know if your partner is the one is if they’re willing to stay with you through the hard times and difficult times.

In my case, this pandemic relationship came to an end because of borders, visas, and a worldwide pandemic. This was a significant obstacle standing in our way. She couldn’t enter the country where I was living and I couldn’t enter Europe. It would be difficult for her to get a visa to America where I was living before. There was no easing of restrictions or permitted travel entry into each other’s country.

Even a year later, we would have not been able to meet each other or take this relationship further. If she was the one for me, I believe she would have waited and be willing to overcome the final challenge we had to be together: distance.

In our case, she met an old friend who lived in her country and asked her out on a date. You can imagine what has happened next.

We broke up when she decided to take her friend on this offer but after we both talked about it in length and realized this was in the best interest of both of us. I would go so far as to say that the decision was even mutual because of the uncertainty of the future and the pandemic.

I do believe that the one for me would have said “no” to this lunch date and waited for the pandemic to clear up and for borders to open.

What this means in practice:

Look for someone who is going to be there for you during the challenging points of the relationship and the obstacles that come up.

The one will be willing to sacrifice a little more to be together with you. They will be willing to be there for you even when insurmountable obstacles come up.

Parting words

Although she wasn’t ultimately the one because she wasn’t willing to give our relationship the chance it deserved, I will be thankful for what she did show me was possible.

I now know clearer than ever what I’m looking for and will be forever grateful.

The sooner you come to know who isn’t the person for you, the sooner you’ll realize who is.

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