Green Flags in a Relationship

For many of us, after leaving an abusive relationship, we are blessed with 20/20 hindsight, and in turn, we can look back and spot all of the red flags we couldn’t see when things were just starting out. We start our healing process by following DV accounts, joining Facebook groups and pages about narcissists, we sign up for newsletters bringing us weekly information about all of the things we need to look out for; things we either should have seen in our last relationship or things we want to be on the lookout for if we, at any point, feel safe to date again.

By the time a few months have passed since our breakup or divorce, we are all well informed on the major tendencies of abusive partners, what the most common telltale signs are that things will probably only get worse, and why it is that we fall for these types in the first place. We are equipped with so much information that we can spot a red flag from a mile away.

But what about good qualities in a partner? What about the green flags?

Sure, it’s important to know what danger signs look like, but shouldn’t we also learn to identify the positives? It’s just like in all other aspects of life: most of us are quick to learn what our dislikes are, but it takes us a minute to identify what we do like.

So if you are like most folks who’ve managed to escape an abusive relationship and have found yourself devouring all information about warning signs and red flags, then here is your spot of relief. Here are 12. signs that can point you toward a healthy relationship:

You feel comfortable and safe around this person

Nothing about them makes you feel unsure or uneasy in their company.

You feel like you have a voice in this relationship

Nothing about this relationship makes you feel like you have to make yourself smaller for them, and that includes your voice. They listen to you, they give you space to speak your thoughts and feelings, and they don’t criticize you in any way that makes you feel like you should keep your thoughts to yourself.

You feel appreciated

They thank you for things you’ve done for them, right down to just giving them your time.

This new person loves getting to know you

They ask questions from a place of sincere curiosity, not like they’re taking an inventory of things to berate you over later on in the relationship.

You can be your full self around this person; there is nothing you feel you need to hide.

They accept your values, your opinions, your style, your choice of music, etc. They don’t poke fun at things that make you your whole and unique self, even if those things don’t completely match them.

They respect your personal boundaries

There’s no pushing for more time with you, longer phone conversations, asking you to cancel other plans so that you can see them instead, none of that.

They encourage your growth and celebrate your victories

They aren’t jealous of your successes; they celebrate them. They may even go so far as to tell you that you’re an inspiration, and they always encourage you to keep going and pursue your dreams.

They are open and honest in their communication with you

They communicate what they want (friendship? Dating? Something more?). They are open to discussing past relationships or what their relationship is like with their family. They’re keen on introducing you to their friends. They don’t treat their phone like their primary companion, and if you do ask what they’re up to, they will let you know.

They are happy to take things at your pace; they do not make you feel rushed

They respect the pace you want to take things. They respect how much you do or do not want to let them into your life just yet. There is no push from them to speed things up or get too serious too quickly.

They have at least a few long-term friendships

They don’t need to have a whole army of friends, but they should have at least one or two successful long-term friendships. Even if their best friend is a sibling or other family member, this is also fine.

They don’t talk about their ex-partners as if they were all crazy

Sure, even the healthiest relationships end because news wasn’t met or someone did something that went against their partner. But that doesn’t lead to talk about how that ex was “crazy”, and it certainly doesn’t add up when someone talks about every last one of their exes as if they were a crazy person. No, with this individual, they can talk about why things went wrong and even take accountability for their part in it.

They are financially stable enough to look after themselves

This one is sort of a reverse red flag, but it is well worth mentioning. If you are considering getting into a relationship with someone new, be sure that they are not in actual need of you. Not financially, not for any other selfish gain. One of the easiest ways to make sure that they are self-sufficient and not looking to use you is to be sure that they are able to pay their own bills and maintain their own dwelling. This also suggests that they are fit to get and maintain employment (another green flag, in my opinion).

These are just a few examples, and they are only meant to be a guideline. It’s okay if the person you are curious about doesn’t check every box on the list, and it’s okay if they exhibit positive signs that aren’t listed here. In time, you will be as well informed on the green flags as you’ve become with the red ones.

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