The honeymoon period of any relationship can blur your judgment. These 'green flags' will help recognize a loving partner.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on May 5, 2022. It has since been updated.
Oh, to be in love. The honeymoon period of a relationship has your serotonin levels spiking all over the place. You couldn't be happier and everything feels like a positive sign from the universe. You can't wait to spend time with each other and feel like you've found "the one." While it's all fun, it can also blind you to your partner's red flags. During the initial part of the relationship, your first instinct is to always give your partner the benefit of the doubt when something feels off. While it's important to keep an eye out for red flags, it's equally important to check for "green flags." These are the basic characteristics that will give you an indication of what life will be like after the honeymoon period is over. Green flags are the key to a happy and fulfilling relationship. One Reddit user asked the community what green flags they looked for in a relationship and many responded. "Those in happy, healthy and fulfilling relationships, what were the 'green flags' you noticed about your partner early on in your relationship with them?" asked u/allen-freed.
Here are some of the best responses we came across and they are eye-opening:
It was instantly easy to talk to her. I never felt like I had to put on a show for her because she never did with me, and she actively affirmed me in that. She immediately blew every standard I thought was high enough out of the water. u/meltingfrog
Evaluating my needs, something as simple as offering me some of their water after getting it for themselves. u/Yivo9
I hate being tickled, but am very ticklish. She discovered it early in the relationship and I asked her once to not tickle me. She has never tickled me again in the following 10 years. Just shows respect. u/Reddit
A fellow ticklish person here. This is a huge deal to me. My husband was the same way. I love that he won’t tickle me because I asked him never to just the one time when we started dating. u/expendablepolo
I have an autistic sister. She's currently 20 with the mental capacity of a three-year-old. Not everyone knows how to handle that. Well, 4 years ago when my girlfriend met my family, the two immediately became best friends. My girlfriend has always cared so much for my sister and would even sit with her while I wasn't home so my mom could go have a life for herself. To this day, my sister smiles and laughs like a madman when she sees my girlfriend. I don't know how much information she can retain but they've always loved each other, and I think my gf has had a huge impact on her life. u/noahlantz
She isn't afraid to have a different opinion than mine, but she always hears me out and she ALWAYS supports me. Every time I phrase something about myself in a negative way, she reframes it for me in a different light and more often than not it pulls me out of a dark mood. In my previous relationship, I felt awfully critiqued for just being the person I was and that critique would often make me feel guilty for not meeting the standards set for me by my SO. Now that I've got a partner who celebrates who I am, I realize all along that I've been holding myself back from just doing what makes me happy. u/djkmart
He enabled me to face my fears, not by pushing me but by being the ultimate "safe space" and enabling me to take emotional risks and grow mentally. Right from the beginning, I could trust him totally. I never once checked on him, worried about him cheating or felt that jealous uncertain churning in my stomach. This was very new for me at the time and hasn't changed. After 20 years of marriage, he still accepts me 100% yet makes me want to be a better person. Plus he's funny AF. Like, can't breathe, weak with laughter funny. Genuinely incredibly grateful for all the time that we found each other when we did (the early 20s) and we get to spend so much of our lives together. u/sometimesnowing
Being able to discuss anything, even flaws, without them/me getting mad. Communication is the most important thing in a healthy relationship. (Love is just as important though, I guess.) u/Todbringe98
My partner never made fun of me or acted condescending when I didn't know something. They were also humble when it came to gaps in their knowledge too. u/furstrated_away8
My fiancé is extremely intelligent. He has two STEM degrees, a very successful smart-person career, his memory is stellar, and he’s able to digest new information at lightning speed. I’m intellectually average and a lifelong heavy reader with an English degree. He’s never once made me feel stupid for not knowing or understanding something, which is lovely, but what gets me, even more, is his absolute comfort with the gaps in his own knowledge. He never pretends to know things he doesn’t and he’s not self-conscious about it. His face absolutely lights up every time someone uses an unfamiliar word. He takes such obvious pleasure in learning. It’s an admirable trait and was an early sign that he was somebody I wanted to spend a lot of time with. u/address_unknown
We'd been dating for about a month and one day out of the blue he turns to me and goes, "I could take apart and clean the drain pipes under your sink if you want. I noticed the sink is a bit slow to empty". Completely unprompted. That's when I knew he was a man who wants to build something with me. u/Jane9812
I grew up in an angry, volatile home. Anything could make the “adults” snap and go on a rampage. When my then-boyfriend, now husband, and I came home to find a major leak in the bedroom ceiling, which had leaked all over the bed and caused significant damage, he just flatly said, “Well, sh*t.” And called the building manager. No screaming, no throwing things, no blaming anyone, just a calm acceptance and then action to rectify the problem. We’re going on 16 years married and 20 years together.
I’m sorry so many people had similar experiences to mine growing up. Can’t reply to all the messages, but digital hugs to you all! It can and does get better, but you’ve got to work on yourself too. Otherwise, you just repeat the patterns which were modeled for you. u/Chockbox
When the other ladies at my workplace were airing their complaints about their spouses, I couldn't think of a single thing to contribute to the conversation. u/ecmc
I had the same issue at work. All the guys in the plant were bitching about their wives and I'm just like "Well when I get home I'm going to make her dinner and then we're going to watch sh*tty action movies while cuddling on the couch until bedtime." I can't imagine a life where I know that my wife makes me miserable and we both know I make her miserable and we don't change anything. u/GobertIsMyDaddy
It always makes me uncomfortable to listen to other guys, mostly older guys, complain about their wives and how annoying/controlling/whatever they are. Life is crazy and unpredictable and if someone agrees to share their life with you long-term I think that's beautiful and you shouldn't go around bad-mouthing your spouse to other people. Speaking of flags, it's a big red flag when I see somebody do that. I had a coworker at my last job who always went out of his way to complain about his wife to the rest of us and it made us super uncomfortable. u/benetgladwin
Before my wife and I was dating, I very quickly noticed that she always invited the loners to join in the conversation. If she noticed someone we knew sitting alone she'd always extended an invitation to join or ask their opinion. u/Countertouristswin
He drove 2 hours on his birthday to pick me up when my mom abandoned me in a parking lot, brought me home and sat with me while my parents and I tried to talk things over. My stepfather started screaming obscenities at me for no real reason, he helped me pack everything I owned in his truck and I moved in that night. After dating for two months. It's been two years, and we got married last month. u/jcw10489
Before my first marriage, I often thought that maybe I should cancel the wedding... and the marriage didn't work out. I never had that thought going into my second marriage. Not one, single time.
That's a pretty hardcore green flag, right there. And obviously, potentially a red flag, too, if you're entertaining a fair amount of doubt prior to a wedding. - Reddit
It's the little things, really. He will always respond and pay attention to me when I called his name, even if it's for mundane stuff like me wanting to point out there's a snail on the pavement. -Reddit
My husband does the same, and I respond when he asks for my attention as well. This thing has actually been found to be not as little as we’d think. John Gottman’s relationship research discovered that newlyweds who were happily married 6 years after their study “turned towards” bids for connection 86% of the time, while those who had divorced by 6 years only did so 33% of the time. u/Kazaba
I have Crohn's disease and was always kinda shame to be with someone even if it was just for a night. When I start dating her, I thought I won the lottery, with zero fear of what she would think because she was always so good to me and supportive, even in the bathroom hahaha. Best girlfriend ever. u/Cigbraz
The first time we had sex I got my period and didn’t realize it until we were done and I went to the bathroom to pee. It wasn’t a ton of blood but I know it was enough to have gotten on him and the sheet. I walked out of the bathroom and he was standing in the doorway of the room and said something like, “is everything okay? Did you get your period or something?” And then we both smiled big and started cracking up and he was totally cool and sweet. The next morning he invited me to go sheet shopping with him because he “needed new ones anyway and wants me to like the ones he picks”. That was about 9 years ago. -Reddit