In order for love to last, you have to have a strong base to make sure you're going to make it through the tough times... and there will be tough times.
It seems in "recent" times (the last forty or so years) that relationships have become quick to fall in to and quick to fall out of. It is no longer a humiliating thing to be divorced. And we all know the percentage of marriages succeeding is only in the 50% range.
With our need to be loved by someone-anyone, and our desire for instant gratification, life has really taken its tole on our relationships.
Do I think long term relationships are a thing of the past? Absolutely not. If I thought so, I would be saddened beyond repair. It is my life's work to figure this out. After my past mistakes in relationships, I am positive that there must be a way to make it right, so I have devoted hours and hours and years and years of study to it and bring what I discover to you.
That being said, you want forever? Here is a common theme that has presented itself as a key factor time and time again. Fall in love with your best friend.
Here's a couple clues that let you know you are on the right track.
1. He/She is the first one you want to tell your news to.
Is the person your with the first one you want to talk to when you wake up in the morning? When something exciting happens in your day, is he the one you want to tell? This should be an automatic thing. Your partner is the one that you will confide in with most aspects of your life. Is he supportive when he hears your news? Does she encourage you to share or ask questions? When you are in a relationship, you want to grow together and create new memories. Sharing each others news, good or bad, is a great way to build stronger friendships.
2. You go to each other for advice.
And along those same lines from above, when you share with your best friend, you also want to know that they have your best interest at heart. Are you able to go to him/her to ask for advice? Do they know you well enough to be able to offer you unbiased, non-judgemental options? If you have an open relationship, you should be able to approach each other in times when you are not quite sure about things and know that they will have your back. They can be honest with you without being harsh. And of course, you know, that the final "decisions" are yours to make and appreciate their words of advice even if they don't match your thoughts. That comes from trust. Trust comes from sharing.
3. You have many of the same hobbies.
The common denominator. You don't have to do every single thing together. You both will need your space to do your "own" thing or hang out with other friends, but it is good to have some things that you both enjoy doing together. I know, I know, a lot of times opposites attract, but there still has to be some familiar ground that you both can retreat to, other than sex, to keep your relationship strong. Have you realized that you've fallen into that trap? It's not too late. In fact, it can only help strengthen your relationship. Find something completely new for you both! Try taking a class together. Go to new restaurants. Find a new hobby neither of you have tried. Again, you are creating new memories and new traditions.
4. You KNOW your partner.
All best friends have inside jokes. A line from a movie or song that triggers a memory. That one friend that... That time when...
A secret, unspoken language, a special look that brings back a specific time that you shared in your life. You can look across the room and know what your best friend is thinking. Does he need to be rescued from the conversation he's in? Is she beyond ready to go home? Does he need his co-pilot to get through the family dinner?
You can order his meals. You can grocery shop and know her favorite brands. She doesn't have to make a Christmas list, you already know what to get her. You know his allergies and his favorite things...
This too comes with time and shared experiences. It comes from observation. It comes from wanting to know him/her better. Invested time in your partner. Getting to know him or her on deep, consistent, intimate levels.
5. You laugh at the same stupid things.
A shared sense of humor. While not required, just like everything else on this list, it's little things that let you know you are more than just lovers. The more time, quality time, you spend together, you realize your common denominators. Some have to work a little harder than others, but you know, when you've gotten this one, then you're off to a good start. Laughter can cure a multitude of ills and it's good to have it to fall back on. Laugh with your partner. Not only will it bring you closer, but it releases those happy hormones.
6. You'd rather spend time together than with anyone else.
Yes, you need to have outside time with other friends, as mentioned before, but when you are perfectly comfortable just being together, that's a feeling of security. Even simple activities as watching television in silence or folding laundry, this is the person you most want to spend your time with. Back to the beginning, it's this person that you want to talk to, or hang out with, or eat breakfast with or choose to be with over all others most of the time.
7. You trust each other.
Trust is something that can't be taken for granted. It is a precious and fragile thing that if it is broken may take years to repair, if at all. You have to be able to trust the one you call your best friend. There needs to be that feeling of security that you can go to him with anything. ANYTHING. You shouldn't have present-day secrets. If you have to hide something, lie about something or delete texts, emails or posts before your partner sees it, you are breaking a trust. You may not be doing anything wrong, but if you can't be honest about it, then there is something not right. Just don't do it. Have an open policy. Be able to discuss any topic. They might be upset, but you'll have a much better time healing from honest words than from deception of any kind.
If you say you're going to be somewhere or do something, be there; do it. If you say you have broken things off with your ex, be sure you have. If she comes to you with personal, private details, keep them that way. If he lets down his guard and allows you to come closer, respect that.
Don't keep things from her. Don't lie to him. Don't be deceptive or secretive. Don't hold things against her that your last partner did to hurt you. Trust that you are both in this friendship and relationship together. Do what it takes to live in trust.
8. They celebrate with you at your best and still love you at your worst.
We all have victories that we love to celebrate and we turn to our loves to share our joys with. Best friends are there to raise a glass, give a pat on the back and share in the happiness of one another. No jealousy. No competition. Just focusing on his or her happiness. Is your partner the one you want to call when you get that promotion? Drop a pant size? Score a high grade on a test? Bought the new car? Is he/she willing to share in your happiness or steal your joy? You know you have the right one when he/she celebrates with you and does not deflect from your good news to belittle it or interject their own agenda.
Your best friend will share your ups... as well as your downs.
We all know that life isn't all sunshine and roses and it is good to have someone there to help you up when you feel down. Or, come down there with you to hold your hand and let you cry until you're ready to get back up.
This becomes hard to do without a solid base of love. Life is not easy. We all have our fair share of joys and sorrows. Having someone, or being that someone makes it all worthwhile. Hard times become just a little easier when they are divided by two. Good times get even better when shared with that special someone. The world becomes a better place when you have a partner... a best friend to help you through and walk though life together.
Make sure that when you decide to go after a long term relationship, you can see the tell-tale signs of friendship. Because long after the lust has gone, and the children are grown, you will be left with only each other. Build that strong foundation that will support you for the rest of your days together. Life can be very cold when you go home to someone you can't talk to or has drifted so far from where you began.
Find someone that is not only the love of your life, but also your best friend.