If there is one thing I’ve learned throughout the past two years, it’s that finding a healthy relationship in college is hard. Thanks to hook-up culture and dating apps, it’s tricky to find another person who is on the same page as you (especially when it comes to loyalty and labels). Throughout my freshman and sophomore years, I had my heart broken by cheaters, users, and flakes. Once I swore off dating for good, my current boyfriend and partner of my dreams entered the scene (proving that the best things happen when you stop wishing for them).
It was only when I started dating my boyfriend that I realized just how unhealthy my past relationships had been. I had been accepting way less than the bare minimum, and worst of all, I didn’t know that I deserved better than that! With my boyfriend, I have the first healthy, stable relationship of my life, and I have learned so much about what it means to be someone’s partner. As someone who has actively ignored every red flag in the book, I’d like to share six green flags that serve as strong indicators that the person you’re seeing truly values and respects you (which is what you deserve, btw).
- They are eager to hear about your interests and learn more about you.
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised. I definitely found myself keeping my own interests to myself when talking to my exes because it was quite clear that they didn’t want to hear about them. The right person will want to know about everything that makes you who you are. They’ll ask about that book you’re reading, want to talk about that club you’re a member of, or ask to listen to that favorite song you were about to skip. With the right person, it won’t matter if you have the same interests; they’ll want to explore yours anyway. Does my boyfriend prefer rock music? Yes. Did he watch the All Too Well short film with me and get me Red (Taylor’s Version) on vinyl for Valentine’s Day? You know it. A keeper will love to hear about the things that make you smile, and doing so won’t feel like a burden to them. You deserve someone who wants to know what makes you tick, and the right person will put in the effort.
- They are excited to introduce you to their family and friends.
Whether to the family they were born to, the family they chose, or both, the right person will want to show you off to anyone and everyone. They won’t keep the fact that you two are together a secret (as long as you both feel comfortable going public). There’s no worse feeling than when you’ve been dating someone for a while and they introduce you to a friend, just for their friend to say to them, “Oh, I didn’t know you were dating anyone!” Ouch. The right person won’t keep you a secret, and will always make it clear that they’re excited to have you in their life. While they’ll value their alone time with you, they won’t hide you away. Instead, they’ll make you an active part of their everyday life and constantly remind you how important you are to them.
- They aren’t afraid to talk about the future with you.
This is a green flag that you can interpret as you will. Maybe you two talk about a future together. Maybe you start planning fun dates or trips far in advance. Maybe you talk about your individual dreams for the future. Speaking about the future can be a really intimate conversation, especially since the discussion of dreams and ambitions can be a really vulnerable topic. Including your partner in discussions of the future really fosters feelings of security and loyalty. If the person you’re seeing isn’t afraid to include you in future plans, it’s safe to assume that they feel invested in the relationship (and in you).
- They don’t leave you guessing.
This is probably the most important green flag because no matter what the circumstance, THE RIGHT PERSON WILL NOT PLAY GAMES. They will not leave you wondering if you’re good enough, they will not keep you as an option, and they will not send mixed signals. I’m a firm believer of the “if they wanted to, they would” ideal. Someone who wants to be with you will make it happen. They will not put you in a position where you aren’t sure if they value you or not, and they will not put themselves in a position where they could lose you. If your partner is open and honest about how they feel and is clear about their intentions, you’ve found a good egg.
- They never make you feel insecure.
This is another green flag that might seem obvious, but is so often missing from relationships. Making someone feel insecure doesn’t necessarily mean hardcore bullying; sometimes passing comments is all it takes. “I don’t know why you watch that show.” “You’re going to eat that?” “I can’t believe you spend your time doing this.” “That’s really basic of you.” Little digs like these can be extremely hurtful, and if they come from someone you’re dating, you need to get out of there. Your partner should never make you feel awkward or ashamed of the things you enjoy. Even in a relationship, you are your own person, and you are allowed to have your own interests. Having different interests from your significant other is more than okay, but they should never tear you down because of those differences. If your partner actively builds you up and never leaves you feeling insecure about the things you love, it’s a good sign of a healthy relationship.
- They are willing to make time for you, but are also happy for you to have a life and agenda of your own.
This one is SUPER important. It is totally understandable to want to spend as much time as possible with your partner, and it is definitely a green flag if they are willing to make time for you. However, you must also be allowed to have a life of your own. A healthy relationship consists of two people with two separate lives who provide love and support to each other. You should be able to go out with friends, take trips, and have life experiences, and your partner should be happy when they see you thriving. Codependency can be a slippery slope, so it’s important that both partners encourage each other to pursue their separate interests and activities. A successful partnership means that each person can go off, have a day to themselves, and then reunite and tell each other all about the adventures they had. If you and your significant other have mastered this dynamic, then they might be the one.
Every person has different expectations and standards when it comes to relationships. These green flags are some basic indicators of a respectful partner that are especially important to me. If the person you’re seeing checks any of these boxes, they might just get my stamp of approval. After all, I want the absolute BEST for you, my reader. Don’t be afraid to set the bar high. You deserve it.