Relationships Spouses & Partners 5 Green Flags in Relationships By Barbara Field Barbara Field Barbara is a writer and speaker who is passionate about mental health, overall wellness, and women's issues. Learn about our editorial process Updated on December 05, 2022 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD Medically reviewed by Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD LinkedIn Twitter Dr. Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and a professor at Yeshiva University’s clinical psychology doctoral program. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Thomas Barwick/DigitalVision/Getty Table of Contents View All Table of Contents What Are Green Flags? Trust Boundaries Communication Quality Time Gratitude We hear a lot about what’s bad in relationships, or about the so-called red flags. But what’s important to have in relationships that go the distance? This article will explore the positive indicators, or green flags, to look for that tell us that we are in a safe and healthy relationship. What Are Green Flags? While it’s smart to notice any signs of toxic behavior in someone you are dating (like ghosting, gaslighting and love bombing behaviors), it’s also important to pay attention to the good quality aspects of the relationship. Your partner might be taking actions that demonstrate a maturity and commitment to the relationship. These green flags signal that this could be (or become in the near future) a stable, secure, long-term union. Here are five green flags that indicate your relationship is on the right track. You Trust Each Other One of the benchmarks of a healthy relationship is deep trust in one another. Your partner is accountable. They follow through consistently—if they say they’ll pick you up, they are there and they are on time. Having trust in your partner is a vital green flag. Trust is an integral component of a healthy romantic relationship. You can rely on this person by not only sharing information about your daily life with them, but by sharing your vulnerabilities and desires with them, too. This level of trust fosters a relationship that is open, honest, and mutually caring. You Maintain Boundaries Because of the mutual respect you have for one another, you’re not jealous if your partner goes out with a buddy. Nor is your partner threatened when you need your alone time. Psychotherapist and coach Ivy Kwong, LMFT said it’s important to know, communicate, and honor your boundaries. Boundaries help define who you are, determine what behaviors are acceptable and not acceptable to you, and teach other people how to treat you. Communicating boundaries, needs, and desires with courage and clarity in a relationship and respecting the boundaries of others and your own is a green flag in relationships. — IVY KWONG, LMFT Boundaries in Relationships and Stress You Communicate Well Together If your partner is usually on social media when you speak, they are not showing signs of active listening. But if your partner always makes eye contact and gives you attention when you tell them about your day, that’s a sign of engagement and respect. During a conversation, if they acknowledge and accept your feelings and are being empathetic, they are also at the same time offering you emotional validation. That’s another important green flag. In healthy relationships, both parties must feel accepted and feel as though their private thoughts and feelings matter. "You show respect for yourself and another when you are open, honest, and clear about what you have the capacity for, what you don't, and what you would like to receive for support and care," Kwong says. "If you do not communicate what you want, you may not get it. So be honest about where you are at." You Like Spending Time With Each Other Every normal relationship has its ups and downs. Relationship expert John Gottman, however, says that thriving relationships such as a stable and happy marriage exhibit five (or more) positive interactions for every one negative interaction. Recognize the green flag if you are compatible and get along well most of the time. For example, your partner is the first person you want to share good news with and is also your close friend. Another sign or green flag is you really enjoy spending time together doing a variety of things (and even nothing). Maybe you can’t wait to hug your partner or kiss them again because you feel so connected to them. In addition to enjoying their company and having affection for them, if sexual intimacy is present in the romantic relationship, it bodes well for the continuation of the relationship. Findings of a study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships underscored the enhanced relationship between intimacy and sex. Closeness through intimate sex serves to bond a couple. The study also found the association between increasing intimacy and more sexual desire appeared to be the same in both men and women. Feeling close can come from affection and various forms of intimacy. If you have all 5 green flags in a relationship, you are likely in a healthy and rewarding partnership that can result in long-term happiness. Your Partner Is Grateful for You Intimate bonds in couples are strengthened if your significant other appreciates you. So, that’s yet another green flag. A scientific research study revealed that when participants in the study felt appreciated by their partner, they in turn cared about their partner’s needs, developed feelings of increased gratitude towards their partner and were shown to be more loyal to the relationship over the long term. Gratitude makes you happier, too. If you are showing the same appreciation and gratitude for your partner that you expect from them, both partners will reap the long-lasting benefits. 3 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Benson, K. The Magic Relationship Ratio, According to Science. The Gottman Institute van Lankveld J, Jacobs N, Thewissen V, Dewitte M, Verboon P. The associations of intimacy and sexuality in daily life: Temporal dynamics and gender effects within romantic relationships. J Soc Pers Relat. 2018;35(4):557-576. doi:10.1177/0265407517743076 Gordon AM, Impett EA, Kogan A, Oveis C, Keltner D. To have and to hold: gratitude promotes relationship maintenance in intimate bonds. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2012;103(2):257-274. doi:10.1037/a0028723 By Barbara Field Barbara is a writer and speaker who is passionate about mental health, overall wellness, and women's issues. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Relationships Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.