Exquisite bouquets of flowers and spontaneous weekend trips to the countryside are wonderful and all, but there’s only one way to be sure that your partner actually loves you.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent countless hours in bed together, exchanging ‘I love you’s’ in breathless whispers as the sun slowly rises.
Or if you’ve formed an unbreakable bond with your partner’s family and extended family and all the pets that come with them.
Or if your partner is unafraid to pop your protruding spots and wipe stray strings of snot from your nose on a regular basis… Yep, things got graphic.
At the end of the day, the only way you will ever know if your partner truly, truly loves you, is if they stick by you through thick and thin.
We know what you’re thinking —
Of course, this sentiment might appear superficial and cliche.
‘You need someone who will stick by you through thick and thin’ sounds like a throwaway phrase people say awkwardly when they’re unsure how to console a person with a shattered heart.
But, bear with me here.
When somebody loves you, they will not leave you when things get hard.
And I’m not referring to those times when you have a few extra strings of snot hanging from your nose…
The rose-tinted lifestyle
When you and your other half are in a solid place in life — you both have widespread social networks, your jobs are individually thriving, and your exercise regimes have been officially nailed — it’s easy to enjoy life together.
When you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin, and content in where you are in your life, loving another human being feels lighter and more effortless. The rose-tinted glasses are on and the champagne is flowing (literally or metaphorically depending on your lifestyle habits). Not to mention the impromptu date nights, the steamy sex, and the jovial socialising with other couples are all a regular occurrence.
But what happens when your partner unexpectedly loses their job and spirals into a state of anxiety? Or sex goes out the window for a couple of months because your other half has a lot going on and isn’t feeling it? Or maybe one half of the partnership is suffering a bereavement and feels detached?
These are the times in life when people either fight for the person they love, or they expose how they actually feel about them (whether intentionally or not).
Fight or flight
Unfortunately, these instances of hardship often instill the ‘fight or flight’ mode in one member of the relationship, leaving them questioning: ‘is this really worth it?’ ‘Why can’t our relationship just feel fun again?’
Here’s the honest truth – when you love someone, you focus on battling life’s inevitable ups and downs as a team.
You don’t throw in the towel after a rocky period or a few arguments. You understand the lows as a natural phase driven by external factors, and you fight to work through it.
Those who love will stay and fight. Those who don’t will flee the situation as soon as it becomes ‘real’ and never look back.
The issue with this theory
The issue with this theory is that it often goes untested for years.
The honeymoon phase can last for up to one year, bringing with it a perfect bubble of nonstop happiness.
To add further insult to injury, it could be years before something negative actually happens that intervenes with the nature of your relationship and forces you to be vulnerable (a bereavement, a significant work issue, a major life change).
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should wait for something awful to happen before you trust that your partner truly loves you. You have to believe in their words and actions in order to feel happy and committed to the relationship.
Don’t worry about how you will cope as a couple when something bad happens. Build an honest and solid partnership and nothing will come between you when the time comes.
The power of communication
Nobody wants to get five years down the line before their partner finally exposes their ‘flight’ mode during times of trial.
Communication is the key to combatting this situation.
Pay attention to how you and your partner communicate about the more serious aspects of life. Do they take the time to offer you solutions when you talk to them about a problem you are facing? Or do they try to brush it off lightheartedly instead?
The same works for you. If you sense that your that partner has a lot on their plate, talk to them, support them, and don’t give them a limited time period to smooth their issues out.
Life cannot always rainbows and sunshine. Storms will come. And they will teach you who loves you no matter what.