How do you figure out if the relationship you’re in is the one that you want “forever”?
You like your partner, you might feel the fireworks, you may feel "in love" or simply "love", but there is always a nagging little inner voice saying: Is this the one? Have I chosen right? What if I was meant to be with someone else? How will I KNOW?
Media and advice columns spend endless quantities of time obsessing on variations of “Does he really love me? 1500 signs to watch out for”. I mean, if you’re not getting the feeling that your significant other loves you, well…they probably aren’t there yet. What can you do about it? Force love from them a little harder?
Rather than try to second guess the other person, I think it is far more important to have clarity around our own feelings, ensure that we are being true to ourselves and fair to the other person.
If you’re lucky you’ll “just know”, you’ll have that enviable certainty that the rest of us would kill for.
If you’re not so sure, try these 3 tests to see if your feelings have legs:
The Wheelchair Test
If your partner suffered an accident or condition that resulted in them being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of their lives, would you stick around? I know this is a harsh question but it really gets to the heart of how you feel about your partner.
If the thought of caring for them, adjusting your life to accommodate any possible restrictions around sex, activities, social life, and home life scares you silly and seems like a prison term, then you may need to reconsider if this is really love.
If what you see when you think of this possibility is the love and time you would still share, and would consider it a privilege to grow your lives into something else, then you’re probably feeling the real deal.
The Zimmer Test
It’s always a little disturbing to see couples out at dinner, glued to their phones and hardly exchanging a word – especially if they are a young couple. I often wonder why they’re bothering – if you’ve run out of things to talk about this early, you’re hardly likely to make it into old age.
So apply this second test: can you imagine sitting in the backyard with your partner when you are both 90 and still laughing and yacking about anything and everything? Can you see yourselves holding hands, still going to dinner (soft food only) and sharing views and opinions? Never running out of conversation or things to share?
The Heathcliff Test
This one is sometimes the hardest. Everyone has their Heathcliff (or Cathy) from the past – that person who got hold of your heart strings and twined them around their fingers. The one that felt so intense, so soulful, so meant-to-be. A wild and heady love that you couldn’t resist, that took your free will away and crushed you when it ended.
So if your Heathcliff turned up on your doorstep today saying that letting you go was the biggest mistake they had ever made, that they needed you, that only you could make their life right and wanting to start over, would you consider leaving your current partner? Would your current relationship pass the test?
Did you pass the tests? Now keep in mind that we are not always feeling full of the joys of love for our partners – life can be trying at times, and sometimes we are also too early in the relationship to really know yet.
These tests can be a confronting exercise, but consider the alternative – years with someone that you don’t deeply love, cheating both you and them out of the true connection you both deserve. Better a little pain and honesty now than a whole lot of heartache later.
I’d love to hear what came up for you when you tried it out – share with me below.
Stephanie Chan is a Sydney based Life Coach, Dating Coach and Presenter.
Her passion is in working with people to improve self-worth, confidence & strength in all areas of their lives.
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