• Just because you and your man dig each other doesn’t mean you’re destined to be life partners. So how do you find out? Answering these questions will clue you in.
Not to jinx things, but you’ve gotta admit: The sweet guy you’ve been steadily seeing practically has soul mate tattooed on his forehead. You both love Chinese takeout and CSI reruns, mesh well with each other’s posse of pals, and are always eager to twist the sheets. In fact, your chemistry and comfort level are so solid, you can’t help but think he just might be — gasp — The One.
Even so, in the back of your mind you still have a few lingering doubts. “That’s because liking the same things and having sparks isn’t enough to sustain a long-term link,” explains Joshua Coleman, Ph.D., a couples counselor in San Francisco and author of The Marriage Makeover. Rather, you need to be sure that you two are also fused on a deeper, more intuitive level. Our checklist will help you determine if you are.
Long-Term Love Test 1: When You Argue, Do You Worry That Things Will End?
All couples fight. But only megatight twosomes duke it out without holding back on hot-button issues. “A lot of duos don’t bring up important subjects because they fear it’ll damage the relationship,” says Susan Piver, author of The Hard Questions. “Deep down, they don’t trust that their union could withstand real conflict, but testing this assumption is the only way to see what the relationship is really made of.”
Maria, 32*, can relate. “I used to believe that my ex and I were close because when one of us was pissed about something, we’d quickly hash it out,” she recalls. “Truth is, the sole reason we could resolve things so fast was because we only addressed minor matters. We were too chicken to get at the really important stuff. Concealing our true feelings brought on resentment, and we eventually split.”
Of course, airing every little grievance will doom — not deepen — your bond. And it helps to get a grip before you lash out, since some problems are too petty to blow a gasket over. But if you and your guy tackle tough topics, it shows that you’re not scared to try the strength of your relationship — a sign of a true love match.
Long-Term Love Test 2: Can You Reveal Secrets Without Fear of Being Judged?
“When I first became serious with my fiancé, I shared with him all the details of my life … except that I’d spent my college years in a physically abusive relationship,” remembers Mara, 28. “I was terrified that he would look down on me for mistakes I made a decade earlier. But the more time we spent together, the more secure I was that he wouldn’t judge me. When I let him in on the truth about my not-so-proud past, he was more understanding than I could have hoped.”
Everyone has sordid life secrets they try to keep concealed. But if you can reveal the skeletons in your closet without worrying that your man will take a permanent hike, then your bond may be built to last. “Divulging your most intimate info demonstrates that you can show your true self, and you know it won’t affect his attraction to you,” explains M. Joann Wright, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Hofstra University.
And don’t forget: It’s just as important for your guy to trust you with his dirty laundry. Yeah, men aren’t known for scheduling heart-to-hearts to air messy secrets. But if you two have been a duo for several months now, you should know at least a few of his skeletons. “Ask yourself if he ever hints around about things from his past but doesn’t really open up,” suggests Wright. “If that’s the case, your union may be too one-sided to last.”
Long-Term Love Test 3: Are You Satisfied in the Sack? Really Satisfied?
Having an off-the-hook lust life has little to do with whether you and your beau perform back-bending acrobatics or give each other multiple toe-curling orgasms. Rather, it’s about feeling super-comfortable clueing each other in to your lusty longings and being totally eager to satisfy your desires. “Any two partners can go through the motions, but truly connected couples really communicate what turns them on, which makes sex more exciting and intimate,” explains Coleman.
Lucy, 28, knew her current relationship was the real deal when she found herself freely telling her man what kind of touch she craved. “With previous boyfriends, I felt like I had to tiptoe around their technique in bed. I thought that if I asked them to go faster or change direction, they’d get upset,” she recalls. “But my current guy and I are so open and eager to please each other, we love giving each other dirty direction. It’s made our pairing way more passionate than I’ve ever experienced.”
Another hallmark of long-haul couples: Their sex lives aren’t solely about sex. They regularly indulge in simple gestures like lying on the couch and caressing each other, making out in the morning before work, and cuddling post-nooky. “Touching and kissing reinforce your closeness, fusing you two even tighter,” adds Coleman.
Long-Term Love Test 4: Do You Get Goofy With Each Other Regularly?
Ever been around one of those twosomes who always act silly together? You know the type: They IM each other dopey nicknames, belt out duets to corny pop songs, or break into a spontaneous tickle fight. It may be slightly annoying to hang out with them, but their goofy behavior is a sure sign of a rock-solid tie. And if you and your man act this way, congratulations: You have that tight bond too.
Why does playful equal a perfect pairing? “When a couple are silly together, it shows that they aren’t afraid to let their guards down and expose their childlike, guileless sides,” explains Catherine Selden, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles. “Also, humor is how we cope with the pressures of day-to-day life. If you’re in tune with each other’s fun side, you’re better able to dodge relationship- sabotaging stress.”
But you can’t force it. Either you’re in sync with each other’s dorky alter ego or you’re not, and if you are, you’ll know it right away. “On our first date, my now-husband took me on a drive through the country, and as soon as he turned up the radio, we began singing along to really bad country songs,” recalls Stacey, 33. “We crooned together through the entire hour-long trip, getting such a kick out of how we had the same cheesy sense of humor. It’s been two years, and we’re still getting cheesy with each other.”
Long-Term Love Test 5: Does He Understand What Makes You Tick?
You’ve heard that opposites attract. But the truth is, couples who “get” each other — who have an instinctive understanding of how their partner’s mind works and what motivates their choices and interests in life — have a leg up on duos who don’t have this intimate insight. “When a guy is in sync with your thoughts, your quirks, and your way of doing things, the relationship can deepen because you don’t have to spend so much energy explaining yourself to him, and vice versa,” says psychologist Brenda Schaeffer, author of Is It Love or Is It Addiction?
Does your beau naturally take your side when you’re exchanging opinions with friends or strangers? Does he know how you react to a surprise change of plans and how you relate to family members without your having to explain your backstory to him? If so, he’s either psychic … or he just might be in a for-keeps kind of groove with you.
Long-Term Love Test 6: Does He Make You Feel Truly Beautiful?
When you and your guy first fell for each other, he probably showered you with compliments, gushing about how superfine your legs are and how Jennifer Garner has nothing on your megawatt grin. But now that those flattery-fueled early dating days are over, does he continue to make you feel gorgeous … even without saying so? “It’s not that you need him to pump your self-esteem, but once you’ve settled into a steady relationship, you want to know that he still sees you as attractive,” explains Jan Yager, Ph.D., a relationship expert in Connecticut and author of 125 Ways to Meet the Love of Your Life. If he doesn’t, your physical connection may not be nearly as strong as you think.
So, if he kids around about how you just have to be the hottest chick in your office or his eyes light up when you show up at his door after a weekend apart, chances are your union is solid. How he touches you can also clue you in. “My man and I moved in only two months after we met, so we had no grace period before he glimpsed my grungy side,” says Tina, 28. “But even when I was totally PMS-bloated and lounging around in shapeless sweats and an old T-shirt, he still intertwined his legs with mine while we watched TV on the sofa. No matter what I was wearing or how gross I felt, I always knew he still viewed me as the sexiest woman in the world.”