Not everybody is meant for us. Sometimes we realize that straight away on a first date; other times it doesn’t hit us until we’re deep into a relationship with somebody.
“No potential partner will be perfect,” says Maria Sullivan, dating expert and vice president of Dating.com. “However, if someone is exhibiting far more red flags than green, they might not be the best match in a relationship.”
Just like the traffic lights on the road, green flags mean you’re safe to keep moving forward. Red flags, on the other hand, are there to remind you to pump the brakes.
With that in mind, it’s important to be able to spot the green flags. That’s why we asked seasoned dating experts to share some good signs telling you if you’re in a healthy, viable relationship.
While this list is comprehensive, keep in mind that green flags tend to be situational and thus, can vary from one relationship to the next. “Green flags come in many forms and fashions and are only seen as green flags if a person, themselves, values the behavior or statement that is occurring,” says Leanne Leonard, a licensed marriage and family therapist with Mindpath Health. “What we consider valuable in a partner is unique to each of us.”
You enjoy their company
Ask yourself: Do you actually like spending time together — or do you try filling up your calendar with, well, anything else? “If you find yourself comfortable, confident, and are enjoying yourself when spending time together, it is likely a relationship worth pursuing,” Sullivan says.
Sure, work and other life commitments can distract us, but it only takes a minute to send a text or check in over a call. With that in mind, it’s important to keep reasonable expectations but not excuse continual bouts of ghosting.
They communicate honestly
A relationship is hard-pressed to survive without open, honest communication. While it may take some time to get comfortable fully sharing how you feel with each other, it’s a big green flag when someone shows they’re willing and able to.
This open communication will only help your relationship grow. According to Leonard, it’s equally as important that they openly share how they feel about you.
You know exactly how they feel
Nothing about playing games screams “green flag.” Your partner — and in turn, you — should be clear with you from the very start. A good sign: They consistently express what’s in their heart, making you feel confident about them — and the status of your relationship.
They have good manners
You should be able to identify this one right away. Early on, consider the following questions: Do they give you space to speak and listen? How do they treat those around you, such as wait staff?
You share similar beliefs
Is it necessary to you that the person you’re with is also a vegetarian or follows the same religion? Maybe the manner in which they want to include families in your relationship matters? Regardless of which area of life it is, knowing you share similar beliefs is a big green flag, Leonard says.
Your views align
What are your priorities? What causes do you believe in with your whole heart? What morals and values guide you throughout your life? Think about which of these are important for your partner to share. Having similar outlooks on life are especially important when it comes to finding someone to do life with, according to Leonard.
They consider you when making plans
A healthy relationship requires balance in all forms. Not only should your partner give you space to express yourself, they should ensure that the things you do together also align with your interests. Say your partner insists that your date nights always involve a sporting event or watching movies you don’t like, this is a telltale sign that they are considering your wants and needs. Leonard recommends seeing what plans they come up without your guidance.
They show you support
A good partner may express when they are wary about your choices or seek compromise in certain instances such as where you will live and work. But when it comes down to it — unless you’re doing something that endangers you or another person — they should generally show you support.
You have compatible goals
The idea that love conquers all is a beautiful one but is rarely true — especially without a lot of compromises. The first few dates don’t necessarily have to be filled with questions about if you want children or where you hope to settle down. “An individual may need to know that a partner wants children and doesn’t drink alcohol within the first two dates in order to consider moving forward, while another might consider asking these questions early as a red flag,” Leonard warns.