When it comes to dating, there are plenty of articles about red flags, warning signs and and subtle cues to watch out for. Luckily, there are just as many green flags to look forward to.
Relationships can really be captivating and supportive, but it helps to know what to expect, otherwise we may find ourselves in the middle of toxic dynamics and dysfunctional patterns.
This is particularly true when we have never felt truly loved before. If we’ve spent years being the giver, feeling unloved or unlovable, then that’s what we’re used to.
I mean, how can we recognize something we’ve never encountered before? How can we recognize sincere, authentic love if we’ve never felt loved before?
I spent years ignoring some pretty basic red flags because they were everything I knew. I didn’t know what it was like to have someone genuinely interested in my thoughts, emotions, and well-being. I didn’t know what it was like to feel respected and admired. Basically, I didn’t know any green flags.
The familiar becomes then norm, no matter if it’s positive or negative. Now that I’m in a loving, secure relationship, green flags have become the norm, and I want to share some of them with you.
1. The communication flows effortlessly.
Effective communication is a clear green flag. If you feel free to express yourself, and if your partner naturally expresses what’s going on inside their mind, then the relationship has the greatest foundation it could ever have.
An emotionally mature person knows how to communicate their needs and wishes. There’s no push-pull, no mind games and no beating around the bush — which may be something new for you if you’re used to unstable, chaotic relationships that don’t make you feel safe.
When my partner and I started dating, I was amazed at how easy and transparent our communication was. I even told him my adoption story in one of our very first dates — something that only my closest friends know, but for some reason, it felt natural to open up with him.
Honesty and vulnerability take place spontaneously when you’re with someone who shows you what real communication feels like.
2. There’s no judgment.
Deep, authentic relationships stem from our ability to release judgments and accept the fact the each one of us has the right to express our inner realities.
When it comes to feelings and emotions, there’s no right or wrong. There’s no certainty or predictability. All we can do is allow ourselves to feel everything that arises and acknowledge our partner’s right to do the same.
“When you make someone else wrong, you hold the energy of needing to correct, convince, control, or change someone else. Someone should be or do the way you expect. Blaming, complaining, or condemning becomes acceptable. When you make yourself wrong, you hold thoughts of how you should be, and end up feeling not good enough. We now see ourselves and others as objects or problems that need to be fixed.”
Carolyn Hidalgo, in The Foundation of Love: Releasing Judgments and Expectations
To be honest, it’s incredibly hard to find people that let you be who you are and give you the space to show your true colors — but it’s possible, and it’s a very good sign that you’ve found a keeper.
3. They know how to handle adversity in life.
I’m sure you’ve met people that never take responsibility for their words and actions. They blame their boss, their co-workers, their parents, their ex’s, their friends — everyone but themselves.
These people don’t know how to handle adversity in life. They’re deeply unhappy and will drag you down with them every chance they get.
On the other hand, there are individuals who know how to stay calm under pressure and will make you feel safe and protected no matter the obstacles you’re facing. It’s not that they’re insensitive or heartless — quite the contrary, they use their inner realities as a strength and they turn inward for guidance.
This is the kind of people you want in your life.
If your partner or the person you’re dating is able to push through adversity, recognize their own shortcomings and find reasons to stay when things get tough — you have some great green flags right there.
4. Your boundaries are respected.
In the same way that you don’t know what secure love feels like if you’ve never felt truly loved before, you probably also have no idea what boundaries are if you’ve spent years dealing with people that don’t respect yours.
Boundaries can be a foreign concept for people who grew up in enmeshed families. If you spend years absorbing the message that your individuality doesn’t matter, and that you should always put others’ needs above your own, how could you possibly know how to draw boundaries between you and other people?
The good thing is, emotionally mature individuals will naturally respect your boundaries, even when you’re not setting your boundaries consciously. They will do their best to makes you feel respected and appreciated.
I’ve recently written a whole article on boundaries, but I’ll share with you this brief explanation by Stephanie Camins:
“Boundaries protect your personal self by setting a clear line between what is me and what is not me. A lack of boundaries opens the door for others to determine your thoughts, feelings, and needs. Defining boundaries is a process of determining what behavior you will accept from others and what you will not.”
Stephanie Camins, in Setting Emotional Boundaries in Relationships
Green flags can become the norm in your life too if you refuse to settle for anything less.
As we’ve heard so many times, we accept the love we think we deserve — meaning, the love we’re used to receive. This means that if you tell yourself you’re broken and unlovable, the relationships in your life will confirm these beliefs and make you feel broken and unlovable.
If, on the other hand, you know you deserve to find someone who loves you and fights for you, that’s exactly what you’ll find.
You don’t have to be a victim of your circumstances. The choice is yours.
6 Boundaries That Will Improve Your Relationships
#4 I understand that you’re upset but I have nothing to do with your anger.