Women's Health Interactive Forums

  • If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.


No announcement yet.

How do you know if the relationship is "right"?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • How do you know if the relationship is "right"?

    Hi everyone

    So I've been dating my boyfriend for almost 3 years now, and he is my first boyfriend, love, etc. I am very happy with our relationship a majority of the time, but sometimes I have my doubts. I worry that I may not know if we are actually compatible because this is the only serious, long-term relationship both of us have ever had. I'm not always sure if certain things are typical relationship issues (simple miscommunication) or red flags that spell trouble further down the road.

    So how do you know? Is there ever a way of truly knowing? Can a relationship newbie really get lucky the first time around?

  • Well sure you can Pepperminty. Myself and wife have been together for 29 years with being married 27 years as it was pretty much love at first site for us both. Now 4 daughters later we are still happily married couple. So you our still happy with boy friend after 3 years. I think you may have found a keeper, so don't worry and enjoy your good relationship and not second guess yourself if you dating the right guy.
    When out driving always turn left. Then, should you become lost, you can find your way home by reversing the procedure and always turning right.


    • I am going to have to disagree with motorguy. Just because you have been together for 3 years, doesn't make this guy a keeper. Read some books on making relationships work. Any relationship requires constant work. Nothing is ever perfect, but it's how we work together to make it work is what really counts. When you and your boyfriend have miscommunications, how do you and he deal with it? Tell us some of the potential red flag situations.
      Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose - Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster (sung by Janis Joplin)


      • Communication problems are a red flag, because they can cause/worsen everything else.

        You can try asking yourself if you're being realistic about him and about your relationship. I'm not saying you aren't! It's just that I've noticed people have a tendency to be very forgiving in the first years without even noticing. We see him as what we wish he was, instead of who he really is. Do you love him the way he is, or would you like to change lots of things, or even just the one thing, but something which is important to you/him? Those are thoughts worth examining to know where you are in a relationship.


        • When is it that you have the doubts, and what is it exactly that triggers them? Both the posters above have good points: Communication is big. What may seem like a minor miscommunication now, may be a seemingly insurmountable obstacle in 5 years, when there are higher stakes.

          And keep in mind, these doubts & flags don't necessarily indicate that he's the wrong guy, either. They are focus points. We have to be aware of our weaknesses, the points that most need work, so we can stay attentive to them, so they don't become unworkable problems. I think if both of you are willing to give the proper effort to these areas, it may be just fine. So determining those areas in any relationship is a good idea, and working to keep them within a manageable range.


          • Thanks for the responses! I have been thinking about my relationship a lot lately, and been wondering about our compatibilit.y Like I said, I love him so much, and am happy with the relationship and where we stand a great majority of the time. But sometimes I am afraid that I let too many things go, like raindancer said. I can't imagine myself with anyone else, but I also don't want to wake up one day and realize I was clinging to something that was never going to work out.

            I'll try to describe the problems we've had as best as I can (beware, long post up ahead).. The biggest and first to come to mind is his drinking. We're still young (we're both 23) so maybe that has something to do with it, but he just does not know when to stop drinking once he starts, usually in social situations. When it is just the two of us, he is fine. But when we are with friends, he will not stop drinking until there is no more available booze. And he will never say no if someone offers him a drink. At first he will be fine, just a goofy drunk. But then he gets really sloppy and it embarrasses me. He says really stupid things that are not politically correct or just plain awkward. It makes me really mad, but by then he is too drunk to have a rational conversation with. In the morning he often doesn't remember the things he did or said but apologizes for making me upset. I would say about 90% of our fights happen because of his drinking. The last time this happened (only 3 weeks ago) I told him I don't want to hear any more apologies, I just want it to stop. He said he will try harder to control himself, and doesn't know why he lets himself get so drunk (I think I do, but more on that later).

            Another issue is he sometimes lies to get out of trouble.. When he does this, it is very rare, but it really concerns me. I am a very trusting person, because I myself do not like to lie. So I tend to just believe people if they don't give me a reason to mistrust them. The first time was when he lied about having a one-night stand with a girl before we started dating. I don't care about the one-night stand, but he had previously told me he only slept with two people before me and they were both from past relationships. A second time, also in the first year, we were having sex and the condom broke, but I didn't know at the time. He never told me, and asked me if I was still on birth control. I thought that was a strange thing to ask, until later that day when I noticed... you know.. in my underwear. I called him and was mad and asked him if he knew, and he said he didn't, that the birth control question was totally random. It wasn't until maybe 6 months ago (!!!) that he told me he actually did know, and yes, that's why he asked. I was mad, but it had happened almost 2 years ago and obviously nothing bad happened from it so I wasn't too mad. And now, he has been lying to his roommates (this may be a little confusing). He lives in a house of people that share a similar belief, and it is a requirement that you must believe in this in order to sign the lease. He does not believe it... But pretends he does. I did not like this from the start, and told him it really is making me second guess everything he says and does. Because if he can fake this every day and night with people he lives with, how much is he faking with me? He swears he is not lying to me about anything because he is only doing it to have a place to live. But it makes me nervous. Eventually he has told me the truth when he lies (or has he??) but I wish he would not do it at all! I worry because I think this kind of behavior is not correctable...

            Lastly, he craves acceptance from everyone. I think this last one is the reason for most of the "bad" things he does, the over-drinking and lying. He wants everyone to like him. He won't say no to anything (like drinks) because he fears looking "lame." He makes up white lies so that people will like him and won't find out about what he feels is distasteful about himself (aka the one-night stand). He will sometimes tell me that he gets mad at himself for doing something so small like accidentally knocking over someone's cup or forgetting to ask if anyone wants water because he thinks they won't like him as much any more... I've asked him that if someone is so judgmental as that, then why would he care about their approval in the first place? But he just can't explain. He wants to be amazing in everyone's eyes...

            It's seems really bad as I reread this.. But really, these are only 3 things that truly bother me, out of so many other things I love about him. I just worry, are these 3 things really BAD things that can break our relationship? Or are they issues of immaturity that will go away as he grows?


            • Some of the things he does that I love:

              He encourages me to follow my dreams, supports my decisions and never talks down to me and has never ever called me a mean name. He has such a kind, generous heart, and is usually very good-natured- almost always smiling or laughing. He has a great sense of humor, and can always get me to laugh no matter how I am feeling. He is so passionate and hard working when it comes to his beliefs and his work, and loves helping people, especially those who are less fortunate. We have tons of long, interesting conversations. I am almost never bored when we are together. And he has seen me at my absolute worst, and never left my side during that time, and still loves me even though I was a complete mess.

              It is for these that I am willing to overlook the other 3 things... But it doesn't stop me from worrying. Will I still be able to overlook them in 2 years? 5? 10?


              • That's good to hear. Of course people change, and we can never see the future. But if you trust him so far, that is a big consideration. Meanwhile, it is good if you can also talk about possible eventualities, like what if one of us got sick or something like an accident which no one wants happens. Then you see how he thinks or plans to act should something happen. Also, it would help to see him deal with his own immediate family, like parents or siblings if any.


                • His drinking would give me the most concern. I agree that his age can excuse some of it, but if it continues, addictions like alcohol will being you nothing but problems. He needs to learn how to drink responsibly without getting drunk. It is a matter of respect for you as well. This is something the two of you need to work through now before the marriage occurs.

                  Relationship communication is very important, even critical, to maintaining a relationship. Dream is right, the two of you should read some relationship books to master the art. My favorite is "Hold Me Tight" by Dr. Sue Johnson. She also has a new book out about love, but I do not recall the name. I think she has a website. I am sure Dream can give you a few recommendations as well.

                  Good luck to you both.
                  "The only consistent feature of all of your dissatisfying relationships is you." Despair.com "Dysfunction"


                  • Thank you sam and effy! I will definitely be checking those books out.


                    • The drinking & lying are both big issues in my mind.
                      Sure at your ages, the drinking may decrease as he gets a little older, but it may increase as well. We don't know. I think the fact that he can't say no to alcohol & he drinks until there's nothing else available, are alarming and I'm not sure that is due to age. That sounds like a problem with alcohol. Drinking until you don't remember things, the fact that you say 90% of your fights are because of drinking, all these things are horrible indicators of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. How often does he do this?
                      It really is a gamble you're taking, to see if he comes through this phase with a healthy relationship with alcohol. My bet would be he doesn't. I know lots of college kids, and just beyond that age, who can drink socially, but responsibly, and still have a great time.

                      The lying sounds like a problem too. The fact that he can lie daily, basically living a lie with his housemates. The fact that he withheld the truth from you for 2 years - something that had to do WITH YOUR OWN BODY! for crying out loud! If he doesn't respect you enough to share that info with you, that affected you both, what kind of integrity & honesty do you ever expect this man to have? What a lousy thing to do to someone you're in a relationship with. Sure, he asked about the contraception, but why not just say, "Oh, well, the condom kind of failed, just so you know"...or something equally lame to share the pertinent info.
                      And by this time, y'all had been together only 6 months. Point is, you had a reason to know that, and a right to know it. He disregarded you.

                      One thing you can trust, is that this man will lie in any instance to protect himself, or provide gain for himself, even if it could potentially be harmful for you, and even if you have a right to know! He's dishonest, he's lacking integrity & character.
                      Personally, I would be running away. I have higher standards & expectations of a man in my company on a regular basis, and these behaviors would never make it.


                      • Thanks everyone for the input! You have all made very good points and have given me a lot to think about. I'm not sure quite how to express what I'm feeling/thinking into words yet, just wanted to post something so you all knew I didn't run away and hide lol.


                        • Very few relationships work forever. You can't be afraid of them ending one day or you'll never have happy relationships. Stay with someone for as long as you are happy. Maybe some day there will be too many problems to fix and stay happy but why live your life according to the unhappy moments? No one has a 100% perfect communication relationship. You decide the level you are happy, the level where you need to do some more work, and the level where it should end.



                          Womens Health orange logoGet The Newsletter

                          Receive our passionately crafted, medically reviewed articles and insights — the stuff nobody else talks about but you want to know — delivered right to your inbox.

                          Latest Activity On Our Forums


                          Latest Topics On Our Forums