When you enter any new romantic relationship, each partner is doing their best to present their strengths and minimize their flaws. At the same time, they are observing the other partner’s behavior to determine whether the two of them are a good fit for the long haul.
Well, not really. This is how it should be, of course. But logic often has absolutely nothing to do with love. When I first fell in love with my husband, I certainly was not wondering if he would be a good partner through financial hardship or tragedy. I just felt compelled to be with him as much as possible, because I could not imagine being anywhere else. I certainly did not want to be told that he had flaws. Those that are in love for the first time are often blind to flaws.
Still, anyone looking for love must keep it in the back of their head that, when they find it, they do need to be on the lookout for personality traits or behaviors that could cause trouble later on. We often hear about “red flags” – signs that this person is not the one for you or that they are not great relationship material. Let’s talk in a language the new in love might be more receptive to read. Let’s look for “green lights” – behaviors or personality traits that indicate that this new love might actually be for the long-term after all.
- Green Light #1: They are respectful to their exes.
We know that in the excitement of a new romance, hearing about a new partner’s ex is the last thing anyone wants to do. Don’t despair, however. The way someone talks about their ex shows you a lot about how they behave during and after a relationship. If the two of you part ways sometime in the future, you can be sure that they will be treating you the same way.
Listen to how they talk about their previous partner. Do they call their former partner meanspirited names? Are they taking any responsibility for their role the events that led to the break-up? Do they have a martyr complex?
If the answers to these questions show someone who is respectful to other people even after they have parted ways – sometimes on bad terms – this is a green light.
- Green Light #2: They are kind to animals
Some people are highly allergic to animals or strongly do not want pets. This is perfectly fine. Other people love animals, and they want to have many pets at one time. This is also perfectly fine. These two people sharing a home someday? Not fine.
Anyone who is kind to animals is generally kind to those whom they are in a relationship with. Whether or not the two of you are compatible in regards to future pets is a different story, but for now, knowing that the person you are dating is kind to beings that are vulnerable is a green light.
- Green Light #3: They are good with children
Again, whether or not the two of you want or can have children together is not relevant to this observation. That conversation can come a little later. Often people are great with animals, but do not even acknowledge children that come their way. An adult who treats children like people and takes the time to speak a few words to them or join in a game is showing you a kind heart.
- Green Light #4: They come prepared
Picture it: The two of you are out on a romantic date at the beach. You have a blanket and a picnic basket and you are holding hands, looking out as the sun sets. Your partner has a backpack with them. “What’s in the bag?” you ask. “Just some things I thought we might need,” they reply, blushing. And out comes the bug spray. Not romantic, right?
Wrong. Your future partner was getting ready to spend the day with you and thought “oh, I wouldn’t want my date to get bug bites! While I am at it, let me grab some tissues and an extra blanket in case it gets cold while we are together.” That’s beyond romantic. That’s an indication that your future partner is already anticipating your needs. HUGE GREEN LIGHT.
- Green Light #5: They don’t play by the rules
By rules, I’m speaking about the rules of the dating game. I’m sure you are aware of what I am talking about. Do not call a new person for three days, do not seem too eager, etc. So many people abide by these silly rules to make sure that they are presenting themselves as a good partner to date. Throw that rulebook out. Now, please.
Being open and authentic about who you are and how you feel is vital to any relationship, long term or short. So what if your partner does not wait the appropriate amount of days to call you or whatever other arbitrary dating rule some magazine though of? If they’re being themselves and opening up about how they feel, then you have an indication that what you see is what you get. That is a great reason to keep seeing someone.
These green lights are a good indicator to move forward and go on that next date. If it turns out to be even more, great. If not? Chances are that you are going to have some good memories from dating a person with a good heart and big personality.
You deserve a good person as a partner.
After they’ve passed your green lights, make sure you are on the same page about your values and future life aspirations. Take some advice from this guide.
What are your green lights? Let us know in the comments below. Be sure to sign-up for our newsletter to receive advice straight in your inbox.