In the early stages of a romance, it can be all too easy to get caught up obsessing over potential red flags that are a sign of a toxic union. But, in doing so, you could be missing the positive signs that your new relationship might actually go the distance.
Green flags are positive signs to look out for – including things like good communication, commitment and trust – that indicate a new relationship is heading in the right direction, and that both partners are in it for the long-haul.
Obsessing that your new relationship is 'too good to be true' is a surefire path to self-sabotage, says Neil Wilkie, relationship expert, psychotherapist and author of Reset - The Relationship Paradigm.
Here, Wilkie lays out the green flags – or positive relationship signs – to look out for, that indicate your new relationship is heading in the right direction.
Positive relationship signs to look out for
You are looking forwards with excitement and anticipation
Your focus is very much on the present and the future, so you no longer feel the need to wallow in past hurts and disappointments.
You are able to be in the moment, enjoying life. You are also talking about the future, looking forward to sharing new experiences.
Communication is really good
You feel able to talk about how you are feeling and are being truly listened to. There is so much to talk about and often the conversations effortlessly fill time. There are also silences that feel comfortable; you don’t feel the need to fill in the gaps.
There is a strong sense of connection
You have the sense of being in tune with each other. Little looks, touches and words can make you tingle with pleasure. There are moments of intimacy where it is as if time has stopped and nothing else matters. Kisses and love-making can be intense and very pleasurable. You may also feel a deep, primeval connection, as if you are ‘soul mates.’
There is a real commitment to the relationship
You both are investing time and energy in the relationship and it feels that it is important to both of you. You find ways of minimising distractions and making the relationship the top priority.
You are both having fun together
You are both able to relax and let the inner child out to play. You can be silly and really laugh together.
There is a feeling of growth
The relationship is nourishing both of you and it feels like you are both expanding your lives as individuals as well as a couple. There are, inevitably, ups and downs but you feel that ‘us’ has life and is not static.
Trust is strong
You trust each other implicitly, so there are no concerns over where the other person is or who they are with.
You can both share anything about your past, feelings and dreams and there are no secrets. If you had a problem, you are confident that they would respond in the right way to your cry for help. You would also really want to help them.
How to now move forward in the relationship
Wilkie wants you to ask yourself two questions: 'How many of these seven points resonated with you?' and 'now that you know all of that, what would you like to have happen?'
'You have three fundamental choices,' he says. Either you 'relax, enjoy the journey and see where it takes you, you invest time and energy and do all you can to make it a great relationship, or you worry that it all seems too good, that you don’t deserve a great relationship and you self-sabotage.'
Once you've reflected on these three choices, see what your heart, head and gut are telling you to do. Chances are, if they're all aligned, you'll have your clear answer.
'Now imagine acting on that,' Wilkie encourages. 'How does that feel and what do those feelings tell you?'
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