Whether you're single or dating, all of us are looking for the same thing – true love.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Some research suggests that love is considered to be a collection of three circumstances:

· Attachment

· Attraction, and

· Lust

But finding these three components in a special someone doesn't mean you have found true love in your life. Because love is about more than how much you like somebody – the signs of true love are all about how someone treats you, not just how they make you feel.

This article explores expert advice on what it means to be in a healthy, functional relationship. See whether or not your relationship hits the spot by checking off these 12 signs of true love.

1. Mutual respect

Respect is one of the biggest signs of true love in a relationship.

When you respect your partner, it means that you hold their thoughts and feelings in esteem.

Showing respect comes in many different forms in a relationship:

· Respecting each other's boundaries (never crossing sexual boundaries, listening when your partner says 'no,' not speaking ill of things they love/are passionate about)

· Respecting each other's emotions (never saying something to purposely hurt your spouse's feelings or manipulate them)

· Respecting each other as people (defending your partner to others, never speaking ill of them socially)

When you and your spouse give and receive respect, it is a good sign that your relationship is on a great path.

2. Trust and relationship confidence

Distrust can be toxic to a relationship, causing you to constantly question where your partner is, who they are talking to, and what they are hiding. Basically, it's exhausting!

Expert advice tells us that a healthy relationship is full of trust. When you trust your partner, it allows you to be vulnerable together and build emotional intimacy.

Trust allows you to take a breath, relax, and enjoy both your time together and apart.

3. Independent - But better together

One of the signs of true love is not being dependent on your spouse for your happiness.

Couple-time is important for a relationship to thrive, but time away from each other is just as important.

Spending time apart helps you:

· Maintain a sense of self

· Grow friendships

· Pursue independent hobbies and goals

· Have more to talk about with your spouse

Having a level of healthy dependence from your spouse will help you grow as a person while growing as a couple.

4. 'I' has turned into 'We'

When you talk about your relationship, do you say "I," or do you say "We"?

Expert advice highlights that couples who used separate vocabulary’ (such as "I went on a great hike with my spouse" instead of "WE went on a great hike together") experience negative behaviors and lower marital satisfaction rates.

On the other hand, couples who used "WE" language featuring pronouns that focused on the couple experienced lowered stress and more positive emotional behavior.

If you find yourself becoming a "WE" person, your relationship is on the right track!

5. You support each other

A loving relationship is all about support.

Supportive partners are there for each other through thick and thin. They do anything in their power to help their spouse, celebrate successes, and aren't intimidated by their partner's goals.

6. Conflict resolution is on-point

Even the happiest couples are bound to have disagreements, so when you do, it's good to have your conflict resolution skills on point.

Good conflict resolution is all about banishing bad habits such as:

· Not speaking for days/Giving one another the cold-shoulder

· Playing the blame game, i.e., = "YOU never listen!"

· Using a disagreement as an excuse to name-call or berate one another

On the contrary, when you are in a good relationship that is full of love and respect, you will learn to attack the problem - not each other.

7. Loyalty is paramount

Have you ever been in a relationship where you were unfaithful?

Maybe it was spurred on by boredom or feeling like your spouse didn't appreciate you.

Whatever the case was, the desire to be unfaithful to your spouse is a huge warning sign that you are not in a healthy relationship.

But in a happy, healthy relationship, loyalty is one of the biggest signs of true love.

When you are loyal to your spouse, it means that you have unwavering devotion. It's a sign that you aren't bored or unfulfilled in your relationship and would never do anything to cause your partner pain or distress.

8. Accepting ups and downs

No relationship is perfect. Couples are bound to go through bouts of boredom or irritation with one another - and that's okay!

Relationships have ups and downs, and accepting that without worrying that every argument is going to result in a break-up is a good sign because it means that you are confident that your love can live through anything.

9. Healthy communication between partners

Having effective communication skills is a piece of expert advice that goes back decades.

When you and your partner have good communication, it means you can talk about anything - your problems, your feelings, something funny you thought about, your hopes, goals, future, etc.

Healthy communication helps boost emotional intimacy and results in fewer misunderstandings in your relationship.

10. Going out of your way for each other

You know it's true love when you would do absolutely anything to make your partner happy.

Running an errand or doing something so that your partner doesn't have to is a great example of going out of your way for each other. It's a great way of nonverbally expressing your love and gratitude for your partner.

But if you want to verbally express it, that's good, too! Research shows that couples who express gratitude regularly have higher commitment levels, better intimacy, and feel more supported and happier in their relationships.

11. Empathy and understanding abound

One of the great signs of true love is developing empathy for your spouse.

When you have empathy, it means you've tapped into your spouse's feelings. When they're happy, it makes you happy; when they are stressed, you carry that load with them.

Empathy is wonderful because it makes you feel more connected and more understanding of one another's thoughts and emotions.

12. You can be yourself

The final way you know you have true love in your relationship is when you know that you can be yourself with your partner no matter what.

You don't have to pretend to be someone else, have different interests, or think and feel a certain way. You know that your partner loves you and would never judge you for how you feel.

Expert advice all point to the same conclusion: the signs of true love are all about respect and communication. If you want to build a great relationship, start by targeting your communication and conflict resolution skills, boost emotional intimacy, and find new ways to show you care.

Rachael is a noted writer currently associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of her motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying about today's evolving forms of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on all types of romantic connections. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.   

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