1. You can be your total dorky self and the person won’t mind and, in fact, will probably love you more
You know those things you do, the ones that reveal your most inner, dorky, vulnerable self? When you’re all spontaneous and free of self-consciousness and just uniquely, earnestly you? Well, you can share these things with your person without fear of weirdness or rejection.
2. You can do nothing together and feel completely content and happy
Dating so often feels like a chase — to find the right place to go, to say the perfect charming thing, to have extra fun, to figure out what happens when you get home — but when you’ve found your person, you can just chill with them and feel safe and good.
3. They bust out kind gestures on the regular, because they want to, not out of some sense of obligation
Whether it’s sweet texts, surprise notes, your favorite guilty-pleasure snack, whatever makes you feel bright and smiley and “you”—a great partner wants to give those things to you just because they’re happy and excited that you’re in their life.
4. S/he isn’t afraid to call you out when you’re being unreasonable. But they also do it in a way that doesn’t make you feel badly about yourself.
Let’s be real. We all have our not-so-pretty moments. Sometimes it’s because the coffee maker broke down and we don’t know how we’ll ever carry on (until we buy a new one that is). Sometimes it’s because we’re tired and hungry and want to pick where to eat (even though it’s the fourth time in a row you’ve done this and it’s totally his/her turn). And sometimes we can’t help but act out —but the perfect person for you will probably help put things in perspective for you in a totally kind, understanding way.
5. You know how and when to give each other space
A person who gets you understands that alone time doesn’t mean “I don’t love you anymore” but just that you need to be alone sometimes and there’s space in the relationship for each of you to be alone and no one freaks out.
6. They understand your weird food things
So you think you’re maybe allergic to tomatoes because remember that one time when your tongue was swollen and felt weird after you ate them and also they just freak you out a little (who can really deal with cherry tomatoes. OMG)? Well the person you’re with, who gets you, gets this too and is considerate and not mean about it.
7. You’ve developed a secret signal at parties when either of you wants to leave
You’ll be across the room from each other, talking to different people and drinking your drinks when suddenly you’ll notice a wink or a nod or a covert yawn. And you’ll know this means “gah, I’m done, maybe we should go soon?” and maybe you’ll negotiate, or maybe you’ll decide it totally is time to blow this joint. Whatever it is, it feels natural and right and perfect.
8. There’s rarely a question about their relationship intentions
They get you. They love you. They want to be with you. There’s no game-playing. There’s just honesty and real feelings and a sense of longevity, even if it’s not marriage either of you are after.
9. If you’re really afraid of something, they’ll make you feel like a brave, brave lion
OK. I’m really scared of airplanes, like flying on them to get to faraway locations. If I had things my way and endless time off, I would totally drive or take a boat. So whenever my SO and I fly somewhere together, he reenacts the scene from Say Anything where John Cusack tells Diane Court everything will be okay once the seatbelt sign turns off (except he’s reassured me we’re still OK even when it’s on, and he also reminds me that the mechanics of an airplane are exponentially sound, which is a sweet lullaby to my ears). That kind of reassurance in times of scary stress is the greatest.
10. They’ll do small (but mighty) things for you when you’re crazy nervous or stressed out
Make dinner, help you figure out an outfit (even if they hate helping you figure out an outfit), listen to the 1,000th story about a work situation you can’t sort through—minor gestures that just mean the world to you and really help you handle your life.