I was dating someone recently and felt like things were going well, but they weren’t going so well like “oh my god, I can’t believe how well things are going” well, so I started to wonder what makes a relationship stand out from the Meh-ness. Here are some guidelines from my handy Cosmopolitan.com co-conspirators.
1. Good: You’ve had some really fun dates that you remember fondly (aww, bowling).
Great: The vast majority of the time you spend together is super fun and dates are just having that fun in a new location (aww, sitting together in the same location).
2. Good: You totally love your partner, but you still often have doubts about the relationship. Just sometimes. Like late at night. When you think about that hot guy in your office who you would never do anything with, but still.
Great: It’s not like you never, ever doubt it, but the good so far outweighs the bad, it’s like the bad doesn’t even exist. You know you’re with the right person.
3. Good: You’re happy together, but you’re on the fence as to whether you want to meet his parents, and you’re just as unsure whether or not you want him to meet yours.
Great: You’re super excited to meet his parents and can’t wait for him to meet yours. It almost seems like a cool party you get to throw where everyone gets along.
4. Good: You’re having a blast most of the time, but you speak vaguely about the future and don’t really make any solid plans.
Great: You talk about the future together and make decisions together because you are an unstoppable team.
6. Good: Something is bothering your partner and you ask what’s wrong.
Great: Something is bothering the other person and you hug them/hand them their childhood stuffed animal/do whatever they need to be comforted without them asking, then ask what’s wrong.
7. Good: You surprise your partner on their birthday.
Great: You do little things to surprise your partner randomly, all the time, just because you love them. Hello, sending them Peeps in the mail because they love them for some reason.
8. Good: Your partner asks about your day in a general way.
Great: Your partner asks about something specific he or she remembered about your day. Like the fact that you got a cool-looking bruise yesterday and now it’s changing colors and they want to know what color it is today. Wait, is that a “just me” thing? That’s fine.
9. Good: They go to your family gatherings with you and talk to everyone.
Great: They go out of their way to find something they have in common with your siblings or parents, even if they’re not in the same room. Your mom loves needlepoint? He’s going to email her a cool needlepoint video he found online on a random Tuesday.
10. Good: You send clever, flirtatious texts.
Great: You know each other so well that anything — a random pineapple emoji, a rogue question mark out of the blue — is enough to tell you exactly what your partner is thinking. You can write “lipstick, bicycle, potato” and he’s like, “Aw, I’m sorry to hear that.”