friendship

The 7 signs a long-term relationship will last the distance.

Ted Danson and wife Mary Steenburgen are going strong two decades on; the supposed ‘bullet-proof’ seven-year marriage of Beyonce and Jay-Z is looking a tad battle bruised.

What makes one couple last and another fall at the first hurdle and – more importantly – do you have what it takes to last the distance?

Most relationship therapists and reputable research points to seven.

1. You feel closer after an argument.

Sure you’re raw, exhausted and a little fragile but you both feel closer than you did before it. You’ve managed to talk it through rationally, listened to each other’s viewpoints and come up with a solution that suits both of you.

2. Jealousy isn’t a problem.

If there’s one thing that can destroy a perfectly good relationship rapidly, it’s inappropriate jealousy.

If - instead of losing it and storming out or trying to get even by flirting with someone else - you confess jealous feelings and allow yourself to be ­reassured, you’re on track for success.

Couples tend to become less jealous of each other the longer you’re together for obvious reasons.

People vote with their feet, so if you’re still together a few years, you start to relax. You also get a better sense of whether just how trustworthy someone is.

3. If in doubt, you’ll take it as a compliment.

If your partner says something that could be misconstrued, you’ll put the best possible light on it rather than think the worst.

You say, ‘All I want to do is turn on some trash telly. I’m sick of everyone.’ Instead of getting huffy and assuming they’re included in ‘everyone’, they say, ‘I know what it’s like. Let me get you a nice big glass of wine.’

If your partner doesn’t feel like sex, you think, They must be tired, not, They don’t fancy me any more.

4. You don’t change to suit each other, you work with each other.

No-one really wants to change because we all secretly think we’re perfect!

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What feels more natural is to both be aware of each other’s bottom line – what they will and won’t put up with – while allowing each to be individuals.

You’re on track for a long-lasting relationship when there’s a certain standard of behaviour that’s expected, but you’re not rigid.

Author, Tracey Cox.

Neither of you compromise those standards, but you are prepared to put their needs before your own occasionally.

5. You think first, react later.

Everyone sees the world differently, through a different filter. If you truly accept each other, you’ll allow for differences.

If your partner’s being extraordinarily critical of someone or something, you’ll listen first to what they have to say, take into account any stresses and how tired they are, then throw in your two pence worth – if at all.

Important issues are worth fighting over; trivial differences aren’t.

6. You know how to say goodbye.

Your partner is about to head off for a two-week work conference overseas.

You don’t cling on, sob and feel miserable and resentful they’re having time away from you. You take them to the airport, kiss and hug, then wave them off cheerily.

A graceful exit is the best preparation for the next grand entrance.

Smart lovers keep each other hungry for more.

7. You both feel you’re getting a fair deal from the ­relationship.

Last but crucially important, ask yourself this: Who’s getting the best deal from this relationship: me or my partner? Are they getting much more out of it than you or vice versa?

Couples who honestly answer, ‘It’s fairly equal’, are those who report the highest relationship satisfaction.

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