For many people, a stable relationship is one of the ultimate romantic goals. Having firm ground under your feet, knowing exactly where you stand with each other, what’s not to love, right? But what does a stable relationship look like?
There are, of course, overt signs. You’ve both pledged to be faithful and you stick to it. You have a common vision of the future and you know you want to be together long-term. But sometimes, we feel like we’re on shaky ground with our relationship, even if there’s really nothing to worry about.
We all have our insecurities and past baggage that creep insidiously into present love affairs. And even if all is well and you’re in a stable and committed relationship, doubts creep in and you start wondering if things really are as strong as they seem. Is your relationship truly your safe space and your sanctum sanctorum?
With so many questions to address, we decided to seek expert help. Shazia Saleem (Masters in Psychology), who specializes in separation and divorce counseling, shares some insights into signs of a stable relationship and tips on how to build one.
What Makes A Stable Relationship?
“To build a secure relationship, you need an immense amount of trust and respect,” Shazia says, “In some relationships, there are intense levels of love and passion but respect and trust are in short supply.
“It’s tough to sustain or stabilize a relationship on passion alone. In fact, that can make for a tumultuous relationship. To cement a bond, there needs to be mutual respect and a deep, innate sense of trust in each other. Maybe it sounds like a stable but boring relationship, but that’s how stability is born.”
Why Is Stability Important In A Relationship?
“Stability is important in every aspect of our lives. It’s how we feel safe and grounded. In a relationship, stability is a lifelong need. A lack of stability and belonging in a relationship can affect other areas of our lives. If you’re constantly worrying about being insecure in your relationship, it’s difficult to focus on work or social life. A steady partnership is often the foundation of a stable and successful life with better vision and focus,” explains Shazia. To put it in perspective, stability in a relationship is crucial because:
- It creates a comforting routine in a world of uncertainties
- Security in a romantic relationship brings joy and confidence to other areas of life
- Knowing your partner always has your back keeps you from constantly questioning the relationship
- The knowledge that you’re loved and cared for is a basic human need; the lack of it may lead to insecurity, anxiety, and other issues
10 Signs You Are In A Truly Stable Relationship
There’s no magic formula to build a firm relationship nor are there easy answers to the question of how to have a stable relationship. But if you’re feeling a little shaky, it’s okay to explore that feeling and question your relationship a little. Here are some signs to look out for if you’re seeking the reassurance of being in a steady and comfortable relationship:
1. There’s an innate sense of safety
There’s nothing quite like knowing that you’re safe with that one person. Your secrets, your anxieties, and your deepest, most authentic self is safe in their keeping. The fact that you put ketchup on your scrambled eggs, the fact that there are days you spray yourself with too much cologne because you haven’t had time to shower – a solid relationship is one where all of this is not only known and kept safe but celebrated.
To build a firm marriage or relationship, it’s important that you’re not constantly walking on eggshells in your relationship. That you feel safe enough to be honest, be yourself, and be vulnerable.
2. You each have your own space and healthy boundaries
Healthy relationship boundaries are the hallmark of a stable and committed relationship. It’s also integral in a secure relationship that each partner has their own space – physical and emotional – to grow and evolve as individuals.
So much of pop culture tells us that true love is all about being together as much as possible, constantly overcome with passionate feelings for your significant other. Now, all that’s nice to read about in a Gothic romance novel or watch on Netflix, but in real life, you need your space.
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3. There’s a sense of belonging and focus on the relationship
I’m all for going at relationships with plenty of logic and good sense. No matter how prosaic it sounds, it’s important that you fit in terms of geography, ideas of fidelity, financial planning, and so on.
Apart from this though, there is that feeling that it’s just right. Call it chemistry, call it a spark, a soulmate, or a twin flame. Sometimes, when you know, you just know and you’re both determined to make things work and be together no matter the cost.
4. Both partners take equal responsibility for the relationship
“I’ve had a series of relationships where I was the only one taking responsibility for our couplehood. By responsibility, I mean I was the only one who saw it as something that was serious and needed to be constantly nourished, something that needed to be built and strengthened,” says Sarah, 31, a digital marketing executive.
Love, lust, and liking come in many forms – polyamory, open relationships, one-night stands, and so on. But if you’ve both decided on a long-term relationship, it’s up to both of you to keep the love engine running.
5. You’re always working toward a common goal, as equals
A shared vision for your relationship and the willingness to work toward it is definitely one of the signs of a stable relationship. These could be things such as where you want to live in the next five years, how you want to raise your children, and a sharing of household chores.
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It could also be things such as being better partners to one another by being better listeners, respecting each other’s points of view, or agreeing to get therapy together to work through your issues.
6. You have the tough conversations
What does a solid relationship look like? It’s certainly not all sweet nothings and roses. There will be ups and downs and you’ll need to talk about all of it. It’s easier to talk about the good stuff, of course, but it’s the tough stuff you really need to be able to talk through because you’ll constantly be tempted to sweep it under the rug.
Talk about things that bother you. If you’re not enjoying physical intimacy or if you think you need a little time apart, voice those concerns. Even if it’s something that could potentially cause a crack in your relationship, have faith and put it out there. You might be surprised at how your steady relationship holds up.
7. You’re kind to each other
Passion is nothing without compassion in any relationship, and we often forget this in romantic relationships. A popular myth seems to be that kindness is very well but makes for a stable but boring relationship. But kindness takes many forms and isn’t necessarily an absence of passion.
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Kindness is lifting each other when you’ve had a bad day. It’s knowing each other’s vulnerabilities and consciously taking care to never exploit them. It’s being nice to each other’s family and friends, even if you can’t stand them and your teeth are gritted the entire time.
8. Neither of you is obsessed with being right all the time
Oh, the deliciousness of being right and getting to say, “I told you so”, and looking smugly superior for days afterward. Unfortunately, if you’re wondering what a solid relationship looks like, you need to tone down the constant need to be right.
“It’s taken 10 long years, but my partner and I finally figured that while healthy arguments would remain a fixture in our relationship, we also needed to learn to let things go. Sometimes, the need to nurture your love becomes more important than being right. Also, most of the time we’re too tired to keep hammering away at something,” laughs Caroline, 28, a paralegal from Los Angeles.
9. You anticipate and take care of each other’s needs
Appreciating that your significant other has their own needs is important in a rock-solid relationship. Taking the time to know them deeply enough that you know their needs and can take care of them is a whole other step.
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How to have a stable relationship? It’s all about taking the time to listen, to understand what they need, physically and emotionally. What are their needs in terms of physical intimacy? What are they saying, and what aren’t they saying? How do you make them feel comfortable enough to share their needs with you? If you and your partner have this between you, you’ve got all the signs of a grounded relationship.
10. You’re invested in each other’s lives
When you’re in a firm relationship, you take on a whole other human and a whole other life. Not that you’re responsible for every aspect of their lives but you are invested in the relationship. And that means being invested in their lives outside of the relationship.
Real interest in a partner’s work life and knowing details about their family life symbolize a stable and committed relationship. When a man says he wants stability, or a woman for that matter, we’re all looking for someone who will see us wholly and want to know everything about us.
How Do You Maintain A Stable Relationship – 3 Tips
We’ve talked about the signs of a stable relationship. But how do you maintain that elusive stability? Shazia shares some tips on sustaining a stable and committed relationship:
1. Agree to disagree
A nearly fail-safe answer to the question of how to have a stable relationship is to agree to disagree. We’ve talked about getting over the need to be right all the time, this is a step ahead. You’re not going to agree on everything, not even in the healthiest, most loving of relationships. And honestly, why would you want a relationship where you’re an echo of one another with no differing opinions? Agree to disagree, appreciate that people have different points of view, let go of the past and be happy.
2. Maintain your integrity
This is important in a committed relationship and any aspect of living. Be honest with yourself and keep your peace of mind as far as possible. Hold to your feelings and beliefs but be open to change and new ideas.
These could come from your partner or other people, it doesn’t matter. Being true to yourself makes you a stronger person and a better partner. If you’re stable and steady in your own person, you’ll be able to better create and maintain a happy and solid relationship.
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3. Give each other space to breathe
Even the best of relationships can become overwhelming and everyone needs a little time apart. Letting a partner just be is one of the best things you can do to maintain the scales of balance in a relationship.
When a man says he wants stability and especially when a woman says so, no one is advocating being joined at the hip 24/7. Give each other space, whether that involves independent holidays or sleep divorce just so you can each get a peaceful night. Together and apart, nourish yourself outside of your relationship so you can pour yourself into your coupledom, too.
- A firm and committed relationship is one where you respect and trust each other, along with love
- Working toward a common goal and having a sense of security are some signs that you’re in a solid relationship
- To maintain a healthy and intimate relationship, give your partner as much breathing space as needed
Building a dependable relationship is tough, sustaining it is even harder. With our increasingly busy lives and the blurred boundaries of fidelity in modern relationships, the definition of stability itself often comes into question.
Ultimately, whatever form your love takes, it needs to bring you peace of mind. There’s no point in working on a partnership that’s constantly stressing you out and giving your grief. So, if you’re mostly at peace with yourself and your relationship, you probably have a joyful and steady relationship.
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