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2 Signs That a Partner Is Showing Up for You

1. Do they initiate rituals of connection (including dates)?

Key points

  • Most modern couples are looking for shared effort in their relationship.
  • Initiation of rituals of emotional connection is a clear sign of effort.
  • Consistency in responding to a partner's bids also conveys effort.
Source: Jonathan Borba/Pexels
Source: Jonathan Borba/Pexels

In the changing landscapes of relationships, the level of effort that one puts into a relationship has come under increasing scrutiny. Given how subjective effort may be, let's explore two signs that there's an effort being made in your relationship.


Initiation is the first sign of a partner putting in effort.

Mutually sharing effort to initiate is particularly important for rituals of emotional connection.

These are the things that you do as a couple together often, like a hug or kiss on the way out the door. These small moments add to your shared emotional reserves and contribute to a positive perspective of the relationship.

If you’re in a relationship, ask yourself when the last time was that you initiated one of the following rituals of emotional connection:

  1. Reunions. When you come back to each other after being apart, hugs and kisses are a great ritual. Try sharing a six- to seven-second kiss that will boost the bonding hormone oxytocin and reduce the stress hormone cortisol.
  2. Stress-Reducing Conversations. This is a validating conversation about the day when a couple updates each other on their stress, gratitude, and hopes for the day to come.
  3. Dates. Whether at the start of a relationship or decades later, weekly dates are a straightforward way to sustain an emotional connection. Plan a date in a thoughtful way, perhaps trying a new restaurant serving your partner’s favorite food or listening to a cover band play their favorite music.

In a decades-long relationship, each person in the relationship will initiate these rituals many times over.

The experience of mutually sharing in the work of initiating is a good measure of effort.


The second sign of effort is consistency.

Long-term relationships are more like an ultra-marathon than a sprint. And as we come to know our partner over time, we’ll receive many "bids" for both instrumental and relational needs.

Understanding each other’s needs, wants, and preferences is just the starting point. As we go through daily life together, couples must follow through in a consistent way.

For example, if our partner asks for more quality time, we don’t just schedule a date night but continue to actively look for opportunities for talking or playing together in the weeks that follow.

Consistency is also important with functional or instrumental tasks that couples share. Whether it’s wiping down the countertop or making the bed in the morning, being a dependable teammate and showing up consistently is a key measure of effort.

At a time when many relationships are actively navigating away from traditional gender roles, there is particular importance and vigilance to how effort is shared. Mutually shared cognitive and emotional effort in relationships will likely become the hallmark of modern, healthy love.

Facebook image: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

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