Let’s be honest ladies – most of us want love. Not the quick, here and now, friends with benefits relationships that only tithe us over for a while. I’m talking about a storybook, happily ever after, “this is the man of my dreams” romance that will last us for the rest of our lives. Trouble is, love is so hard to find!

Relationships are complicated affairs. Even the best relationships carry doubt, fear, anger, and maybe even a tinge of jealousy. In that steaming hotbed of unfiltered emotions, one of the biggest risks we run is confusing Mr. Right with Mr. Right Now. When we’re caught up in the moment, we feel completely fulfilled by what our man may be giving us. In the back of our minds, though, there’s always a lingering doubt about how long it will last.

True talk ladies – there’s no easy way to know for sure. Everyone is different, and what may last for ages in one relationship is only good for a few months in another. With that being the case, there are still some common signs you can look for. If you need help figuring out whether you’ve finally found the love of your life, keep reading.

How to Know if It’s Just a Fling or a Forever Romance

It’s All in the Look

We’ll start off with a really simple one to kick things off. If the main attraction between you and your man is physical, it’s probably not a forever deal. Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing bad about having the hots for your guy and he for you. In fact, it’s essential. But if you’ve been in a relationship for some time, and all you’ve got going on is physical intimacy, that’s just lust, not love.

The Telltale Signs of Physical Lust

Funnily enough, you can spot a mainly physical relationship more from what’s not apparent than what is. If you notice a lack of the following, don’t count on this one lasting forever:

  • A real emotional connection, i.e. both of you either aren’t keyed in on the other’s feelings or simply don’t care.
  • Deep, meaningful discussions about topics other than your next hook up
  • Activities that you do together aside from intercourse

It’s a One-(Wo)man Show

This is another sign that will make itself painfully obvious sooner or later. If you’re the one doing all the work to keep the relationship going, then it’s probably not going to work in the long term.

You’d think that this one, in particular, would be enough to clue most women into the fact that it isn’t mean to be. Sadly, there are many women who remain committed to men who don’t share their enthusiasm for the relationship. It’s not just between dating couples either. Some experts suggest that up to 83% of married couples aren’t happy in their relationship. For many women, feelings of inequality are the root cause of their marriage woes.

Options for Dealing with a One-Sided Relationship

So here’s the thing: you can be madly “in love” with someone, beyond just lusting for them, but if they don’t return your feelings, it’s not real love. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed. If you’re in a one-sided relationship, you can try a few things to mend the situation:

  1. Start a conversation about your feelings. Make it plain that you feel like you’re not getting back what you’re putting into the relationship.
  2. See a relationship therapist. The problem may not be a lack of love from your partner – just a lack of awareness. Learning to communicate can help them show you just how deeply they care
  3. It may sound catty, but seriously: if the above two methods don’t work, try slacking off. If your partner notices your lack of engagement and starts talking to you, that’s a good sign that they legitimately care about your relationship. If they don’t, it’s an indication that you aren’t worth their time.

The fact that you have some options is good news. The bad news is that they don’t always work. No matter what you do, if your partner just isn’t committed, there’s not much you can do except end the relationship for good.

What You Put Up With Says a Lot

No matter how “perfect” your man is, he’s going to do some things that bug you. Like, in a big way! Don’t feel bad – he’s going to have the same feelings about some of your traits. What’s key to look for is how willing you both are to put up with what bothers you about each other.

In serious relationships that last through the years, couples are willing to endure their partner’s failings without trying so hard to change them. If you find yourself thinking, “I’d be better off without this,” instead of, “This sucks, but he’s worth it,” that’s probably a fling.

Notice, I didn’t say neither of you ever complain. Everyone needs to vent, and being able to easily discuss your deepest feelings with your partner is a great sign of long term love. The difference is that, for both of you, the bad comes nowhere near to outweighing the good in your relationship.

You Don’t Want Anyone Else…Mostly

So, confession time: this one can be tricky. I’m not saying that nobody can find the one person who fulfills their every desire. I’m saying it’s very rare. If we’re being honest, I think all of us have thought about how life would be if we’d stuck with our high school crush or married that workmate we shared coffee with. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in a bad relationship.

Harmless Fantasy or a Sign to Move On?

The reason this sign can be confusing is that many women feel like if they ever think about being with another man, especially if they’re married, it’s a sign that their relationship is on the rocks. That’s not necessarily the case. Here’s the key – you can think about other men all day long, so long as it always comes back to the man you’re with. If that’s the case, then you’ve landed yourself some quality life-long love material. If you conclude that life could be better with someone else, guess what? It could very well be.

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