Ah, that sweet one year mark – you made it! 365 days is quite a milestone in a new relationship, and it can give you some good insight into what’s to come.
Many people might say that how long you’ve been together as a couple is often kind of arbitrary. That being said, it’s pretty safe to say that hitting one year is a good time to reevaluate how things are going and ask yourself some tough, but important questions.
Has Your Relationship Evolved?
Even if you’re a completely open book or your relationship has progressed extremely fast, the difference between six months and one year should definitely be noticeable. Relationships aren’t meant to stay stagnant, and as the first year carries out, you typically learn more about your partner each and every day. As you learn about one another, your relationship grows and changes, and this is good!
This isn’t to say that the whole dynamic of your relationship should be unrecognizable, but healthy growth includes evolving in positive ways. Ask yourself if your communication as a couple has strengthened over the year. Are you more open with one another than you were six months ago? Are you asking for what you need? Are you still saying you’re fine when you’re not fine? If you’re saying yes to the former – amazing! If you’re saying yes to the latter, cut it out and reevaluate why this is the case!
Can You Be Yourself?
Too often, we find ourselves in relationships where one person is expected to change to fit into the other persons’ life, or we feel like we need to be who our partner wants us to be, not who we are. There’s a huge difference between trying new hobbies or working on yourself, and turning into someone you’re not – ride the right side of this line!
Even if you take a while to open up (guilty), it’s so crucial that you feel like you can be authentic with your significant other and that they can be authentic with you! This doesn’t mean you have to be peeing with the door open by the one year mark (but if you are, you do you), it just means you shouldn’t feel like you need to hide any parts of yourself from your partner.
Are You Happy, Or Just Comfortable?
This one’s important to ask yourself regularly at any stage of a relationship, but hitting one year is a good place to start! First dates aren’t always fun; getting past the initial awkward phase is often, well, awkward, and once you get comfortable with someone, it’s pretty hard to imagine going back to square one. From my experience, this is one of the main reasons so many long term relationships last longer than they probably should. Being content and used to a relationship is satisfying, but are you happy? Do you still have fun together?
This one can often be a tough blow if you’re answering no, but in all honesty, if you’re not happy, what are you doing? Your relationship doesn’t have to be the same as when you first met (hello, the honeymoon stage doesn’t last forever), but if you’re still laughing and still feeling that joy when you see your SO, you’re in a pretty good place.
Are They Adding Value to Your Life?
You’re probably reading this thinking “of course my partner adds value to my life, I wouldn’t be with them if they didn’t,” but spending the time to really think about this one can sometimes bring up shocking conclusions.
All of us hope to be with someone who adds value to our lives, but what does this look like in reality? It’s different for everyone, and value can mean all kinds of things. Things that add value to my life? Emotional support, laughter, adventure, and the ability to blend in seamlessly with my family and friends. Ask yourself what’s important to you; what are you getting out of the relationship? This might sound really selfish, but when it comes to love, it’s okay to need certain things! Make a list, check it twice (Santa Claus style) and make sure you’re getting what you need, within reason of course – notice I said need, not want ;).
Are You On the Same Page?
At this point in your relationship, you’ve likely had the typical conversations surrounding things like money, kids, marriage, religion, etc. If you haven’t, the one year mark is a solid time to do this. You 100% do not have to have the same views as your partner on all things in life, but depending on who you are and what you place value in, some of these things can be deal-breakers. If you haven’t had these conversations, spend some time thinking about what’s important for you and your partner to have similar views on, and don’t be afraid to bring it up!
If you have had the “what do you want” talk, you’ll definitely have a better idea of whether you and your SO are on the same page when it comes to the important stuff. The thing to keep in mind here is that, yes, opinions can change, but waiting it out hoping for a change of heart on these types of things can often lead to a lot of resentment down the road. Having a clear idea of what your relationship will look like in a few years’ time so there are no surprises is key to dissolving tension!
Do You See a Future?
Oof. The big one. This question can be terrifying because once you know the answer, there’s no turning back. If you’ve been in an uber long-term relationship, one year may not seem like much time at all, but 365 days is a lot of days to put time and energy into someone! Some couples just aren’t meant to last for the long haul and that’s okay, but if you’re looking for someone to build a life with, it’s important you’re able to see how that life will play out.
The most obvious place to start? With the question above. It’s hard to see a future with someone who just doesn’t want the same future as you, but it’s easy when you’re on the same page. It might be scary, but do yourself a favor and let yourself answer this one. When it’s all said and done, you won’t regret it.
At the end of the day, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to succeeding in a relationship. We’re humans, we’re unique, and we all want and need different things, and checking in with yourself to make sure you’re getting these things is the key to avoiding resentment. Your relationship might be great, but that doesn’t mean it’s meant for you. Reflecting on the hard questions both with and without your partner is the best (and most grown-up) way to make sure you’re on the same wavelength so you can live your best lives.