You often don’t know you’re in the wrong relationship… until you’re in the right one.
That’s the wild thing about love: you think you know what it is until you meet someone who redefines it for you entirely. You learn that it does change you, it does make everything better, and it was worth waiting for.
And you learn a lot of other important things along the way, too. Here, a few that you only experience when you’re with the person you want and need to be with:
1. It feels effortless.
Yes, commitment requires effort. Love is a verb after all. But what most people don’t tell you is that in the right relationship, all that doing of love feels more effortless than not.
When you’re in the right relationship, being together feels like a natural thing. Choosing each other seems inevitable, as though there’s nothing else you could imagine doing. Yes, it’s a lot to keep up with, but there’s an element of flow that sets this relationship apart from the rest.
2. You feel closer after you argue, surer that you want to try to make it work.
In Tiny Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed describes the differences between her two husbands as being slim, telling readers that they were both similar people whom she’s sure would get along “swimmingly” were they to meet.
The difference between the relationship that ended, and the one that lasted? When she and her current husband had a big fight, they came out on the other end wanting to change, wanting to be closer, wanting to make it work even more than before.
The question is not whether or not you will fight. Every couple fights, and probably more often than you assume. The question is whether you’ll end it and pulling away from each other, or trying to be better for each other.
3. You regain confidence in every area of your life.
If there’s any such thing as a happily ever after, it most likely just refers to the seismic shift that happens when you meet someone with whom you genuinely, completely feel loved.
You don’t just retreat into your own enclave of passion and mutual obsession, neglecting every other part of your life. In the right relationship, every part of your life improves. In every way, you are thriving more than you were before.
4. Comfort becomes even more appealing than passion.
Of course, in the right relationship you need both of those things, but what you learn with the right person is that passion is cheap, and you can have it with a lot of people in your life.
Comfort, or the feeling as though you could spend every day alongside each other happily, friendship, compatibility… that’s what’s rare. And that’s what’s invaluable. And in the end, that’s what makes for a truly happy coexistence.
5. You heal childhood wounds.
In the right relationship, one of the predominant things you’re going to experience is the feeling of being genuinely safe. Often, this leads to one’s “inner child” coming back out. Sometimes, this plays out as a couple seeming giddy, almost kid-like in their affections for one another. Other times, this plays out as people projecting their deepest traumas onto their partner.
Regardless, what happens when you feel genuinely safe and loved is that you start working through your deepest seated issues. You mend and shift relationships with your parents. You feel less scared, or anxious about the unknown. Being with this person makes you feel free enough to explore that which you’ve suppressed for so long, and the effect is transformative.
6. You begin to trust the timing of your life.
When you’re young before you can really see how or when or even if things are going to work out for you, it’s easy to wind yourself into a ball of anxiety worrying about the what ifs and what nows.
When you find the right relationship, it often serves as an important reminder that you were on the right path all along. That the love that didn’t work out before didn’t need to work out. That everything would be okay if you could only relax into life a little more, and let it happen.
7. You find your joy again.
Many people think that finding love will make them rediscover their romantic selves, and it does… for a time. However, the right relationship will also do something even more profound than that, which is finding your inner joy.
The right relationship will make you feel the way you did when you were young and openhearted. But more importantly, it will make you feel this way even when you are not physically with that person.
That in itself is one of the most astounding differences between the right relationship and the wrong one. The right one makes you happy all the time. The wrong one only makes you happy when you’re with that person.
8. You feel completely different, and yet more yourself than ever before.
You shouldn’t have to change for love, but love should change you naturally. That’s part of its magic.
In the right relationship, you will feel as though you are somehow totally different than you were before, and yet more like yourself than ever. You will feel like so much has changed, and the things that have remained show you what’s really important.
The love of your life is not just someone with whom you can make gooey eyes at for the rest of eternity. That person becomes your closest, most driving and influential force. The right person’s influence makes your life all that you ever wanted it to be… even outside of romance.