You might recognize it: you constantly argue with your significant other because who did the dishes last time? And why does your partner never listen when you talk about your day?
If you argue a lot, it indicates an imbalance in the relationship. But the reverse can be just as bad.
Because if you just sulk and don’t discuss problems, it won’t benefit the relationship in the long run.
That’s what psychologist Astrid Bjørn Leth-Nissen says. She has a Ph.D. in developmental psychology and studies the strengths and weaknesses of relationships.
Based on the latest studies, she lists a number of indicators that can help you assess your relationship. Do you recognize them?
1. Emotional intimacy:
Emotional intimacy involves a feeling of closeness and belonging to your partner, and that you feel accepted for who you are, explains Astrid Bjørn Leth-Nissen.
It can mean, for example, that you dare to speak your mind and seek comfort from each other.
“There is a one-to-one relationship between emotional intimacy and being able to share one’s feelings honestly,” says Bjørn Leth-Nissen.
“If you share your feelings honestly, you can be vulnerable and risk being hurt or disappointed. But you can’t avoid it, because if you don’t share your vulnerable sides with each other, you can create an emotional distance with your partner, which counteracts emotional intimacy.
2. Feeling seen and heard:
A sure way to score low on the relationship scale is diving into your phone when your partner comes home and wants to tell you about his or her day at work.
Bjørn Leth-Nissen explains that you can think of attention as ‘the atom of love’.
Attention is the most basic and fundamental form of love, and in order to feel comfortable in your relationship, it is important that you feel seen and heard.
3. Satisfaction in bed:
It should come as no surprise that it is important for most people to be good in bed.
But, says Bjørn Leth-Nissen, it’s not just a matter of how much sex you have. Research shows that it’s about the quality of sex and the satisfaction you get from it.
“Sexual satisfaction is not just about how often you have sex, but how satisfied both partners are with the sex,” she says.
4. Cooperation as parents:
According to Astrid Bjørn Leth-Nissen, good cooperation as parents, whether it’s nappy changes, parenting or holidays, can protect the relationship in the stressful situation you can end up with with a child.
“When you are under pressure, as it can quickly be, when you have to balance family life and career, you can become less tolerant and committed to your relationship,” she says.
“This is completely natural, but can take its toll in the long run.”
5. Trust and commitment:
If you feel abandoned by your partner, you may begin to seriously doubt your relationship. Therefore, it is important to explicitly commit to each other in a relationship.
Whether you do this by changing your relationship status on Facebook to “In a relationship” or by telling your friends and family about your new love, it doesn’t matter.
It’s about choosing the relationship clearly, so you don’t have to worry about your partner running away when the going gets tough, explains Bjørn Leth-Nissen.
6. Handling conflict:
Years ago, it was measured how often couples argued. It showed that couples who argued very often were more likely to break up than others.
But avoiding an important conversation can also cause problems, says Bjørn Leth-Nissen.
So it’s about having a good, constructive discussion, she says.
“It is also important to be able to restore the relationship if things have gotten a little too high. It is difficult to make amends if, for example, you hold a grudge or do not speak to each other for several days. Taking responsibility after a conflict is the foundation of reconciliation. The key is to be less self-centered and more forgiving.”