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25 Things All Couples in Long-Term Relationships Understand

Certain things happen when you're in a long-term relationship - how many of these 25 signs you're in it for the long-haul apply to you?

Woman in bright pink dress walking next to man in a wheelchair wearing a brightly coloured jacket, as part of a couple's shoot to mark their long-term relationship

There’s a certain point in every couple’s relationship where the ‘long-term rules’ suddenly apply. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when this is, but if you’re there, trust us, you’ll know.

We’ve rounded up the 25 things every couple in a long-term relationship know to be true, from being working-from-home buddies to having a great connection in bed (when you can be bothered, that is) - how many of them apply to your relationship? If you know you’re with the one, why not share this list with your partner and see if they agree with the points below?

25 Signs You're in a Long-Term Relationship

1. There is No ‘Mine’ and ‘Yours’

Whether you’ve said it in your wedding vows or not, this becomes an unspoken rule for all couples in a long-term relationship after a certain point. There is no ‘my leftover pizza’ or ‘your bar of chocolate’. Everything is fair game - oh, sorry, no, everything is shared.

2. You Drop Those Barriers

Remember those uncomfortable evenings in the early days, desperately trying to hold off from letting rip in front of your partner while cuddled up on the sofa together? There’s no going back now. The limit does not exist when it comes to gross bodily functions. Saying 'I'd give it a while, if I were you,' as one of you leaves the bathroom is considered romance nowadays.

3. You Stop Saying ‘I’ and ‘Me’

Woman in leather jacket with curly hair wrapping her arms around her boyfriend, who is shaved headed and wears glasses, kissing him on the head
Unsplash/Justin Follis

It’s a seamless transition from ‘I’ and ‘me’ to ‘us’ and ‘we’. When someone asks you what you did at the weekend, you don’t even hesitate before replying ‘we’ did this’ or ‘we went here’. It just feels so natural to think of and speak about yourselves as a unit. 

4. You Share Friends

Your friends love them just as much as you do (almost). And you look forward to hanging out with your partner’s friends too. Your friendship circles have merged and your social life is a lot easier to balance!

READ MORE: 40 Fun Double Date Ideas Everyone Will Enjoy

5. Family is an Overarching Term

You've been together for so long, their family is truly your family and vice versa. Your mums have a WhatsApp chat and your pretty sure your partner's family might just even prefer you to them. And that's totally fine by you!

6. You Use Each Other’s Things

You think nothing of wearing their clothes, and they will borrow your moisturiser without a second thought. It’s not weird at all to help yourself to their stuff, and you know they won’t mind because it works both ways. 

7. Your Sex Life is Out of This World

You know each other better than anyone else in the world, so you know exactly how to get each other off - when you can be bothered, that is. You’re so compatible and comfortable with each other in bed, it’s effortless!

8. But You Have Your Sleep Boundaries

Two women in bed laughing together as one touches the other's face

No matter how great the sex is, you both respect each other’s sleep space. Physical intimacy is great, but having your own space in the bed is something else entirely.

9. You Know Each Other’s Finances

In the early days, there might be an element of mystery when it comes to your finances. But once you’re in it for the long-haul, even if you have separate bank accounts, you still know each other’s financial affairs - how much both of you earn, how much you save each month, and how much you spend on Pret lunches, even when you vow every month you’re going to start making your own. 

READ MORE: 29 Important Questions to Ask Your Partner

10. You Have a System

You know they will always cook dinner in the week, and at the weekend you always handle the menu planning. You have a system when it comes to division of labour at home, and it keeps everything running smoothly. 

11. You Know When to Give Space

Sometimes you just know when your partner needs some time alone, and they recognise when to give you space too. That comes from knowing someone super well!

12. You Know How to Cheer Each Other Up

Tall bearded man kissing woman on the forehead. The woman has her eyes closed and has dark curly hair pulled back into a ponytail
Unsplash/Jakob Owens

You know that a cappuccino truffle bar from Marks & Spencer’s will always make them smile, and they know you love a bath bomb. You know the little things that will brighten each other’s days, and you make the effort to deliver on them. 

13. You Speak in Sync

One of you will go to say something at the same time as the other, or they’ll say something and you’ll say ‘I was just thinking that!’ Your long-term relationship is so evolved that you can basically read each other’s minds. 

READ MORE: The Five Love Languages and How to Understand Them

14. Sometimes, Staying In is Everything

You’ve turned staying in together into an art-form. You know exactly what true crime documentary you’re going to watch, you know what their pizza order is and you know exactly where you sit on the sofa together. There’s nothing like staying in. 

15. Sometimes Your Outfits Sync

Ever come downstairs in a stripy top only to see your partner has donned stripes too? You’re so in sync with each other, even your sartorial changes are aligned. If you’re not at that special long-term stage yet, one of you might feel like you need to change. If you’ve gone past the point of no return, you’re riding out those matching looks. No shame.

16. You Celebrate Each Other

Whether it’s the big stuff, like a promotion, or small stuff like finally completing their tax return - you mark special moments together. 

17. You Get Asked if You’re Getting Married 

Male same sex couple embracing and laughing together
Unsplash/In Lieu In View Photography

If you’re already married, you will have been asked this all the time before you actually got married. ‘So when are you two getting hitched?’ is something all friends and family will ask you all of the time.

18. You Do Weird Things for Each Other

You have helped them wax their monobrow. They’ve helped you to get rid of a particularly bad ingrown hair. Once you’re at that point in your relationship, you just get on with it. 

19. You Have Your Own Language

You have special names for things that only you understand, and codewords to escape social situations. Sometimes you can’t even remember how the names came to be, but now they’re forever part of your everyday dialogue. 

20. Sometimes You Don’t Need Language

Sometimes you can say what you need to say to your partner with just a look - and they can respond with a tiny facial movement, and that exchange tells you everything you need to know.

21. You Have Pet Names for Each Other

You might not have cutesy couple names for each other like ‘baby’, but you definitely have names for each other, and they have a weird and hilarious backstory. 

22. You’ve Got an Instant Plus One

Couple in leather jackets and sunglasses laughing together. The man has his arm around the woman and she is holding his hand
Unsplash/Becca Tapert

Your partner is always your default plus one whenever you get one! You have zero stress about who you’re bringing to anything you’re invited to - but you have the hard and fast rule that whoever’s friends with the host is the designated driver. 

23. Big Conversations Aren’t All That Big

It’s not scary to talk about the future, whether it’s the dream house you want to buy, names of children or that retirement goal of living by the sea. You can talk about your future without it feeling awkward or scary. 

READ MORE: 31 Essential Things to Discuss Before Getting Married

24. You Enjoyed Working From Home with Them

Most of us got to see a whole lot more of our significant others throughout the pandemic, and that was no big deal! It was a joy to have a co-worker that knows exactly how you like your tea and that you can’t stand fish being microwaved for lunch.

25. They're Your Best Friend

There’s no one else you’d rather hang out with, because no one else in the world gets you like they do, or makes you feel the way they do. And that’s pretty special. 

Feeling the love? Make sure you read our 25 relationship tips from real couples and dating experts to ensure you're looking after your precious long-term relationship.