This article was written by Chelli Pumphrey, a licensed professional counselor, and provided by our partners at YourTango.
In the beginning stages of a new relationship, determining how connected you are to each other can be tricky. Maybe you’re questioning if you’re really connected to your partner, or if he or she is as invested as you are in the relationship. Maybe you’ve hit it off physically, but you’re wondering if there’s more between you.
Instead of focusing on whether a connection is real with your partner, consider the depth and the width of the connection you have. Think about the main areas where partners can connect: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially.
In how many areas do you share a bond with your partner? How strong is it in each area? Where is it lacking? Take a look at these five important points of connection, and see how your relationship measures up:
1. You can connect on an emotional level.
A healthy emotional connection means that you have the ability and willingness to share your feelings with each other — especially the more vulnerable ones such as sadness, fear, shame, or loneliness. If you’re not vulnerable with each other in this way, your relationship may have some growing to do, or you may be dating someone who is not emotionally expressive.
Remember that the first several months of a relationship may feel ecstatic, full of intense feelings for one another. However, this feeling is likely induced by the feel-good chemicals in your brain that are released when you’re falling in love with someone. A strong, solid emotional connection takes time and effort.
It must also be reciprocal. If you feel intense feelings toward them, but you sense they don’t feel the same way, you may not have the connection you need for a healthy relationship.
Having open, authentic conversations about how you feel about the relationship and each other will help you determine if there’s a true emotional connection.
2. You build social connections in a similar way.
How do you relate to each other socially? How do you relate to the world as individuals and as a couple? Sharing mutual interests in activities, hobbies, and lifestyle can help in building a healthy social connection.
Do you spend time doing these activities together and actually enjoy each other’s company? Do you spend time with your partner’s friends and family?
Social connection can also be determined by how you relate to each other. If one of you is more introverted and the other is more extroverted, it can be a good complement and balance for the relationship—or it can create a disconnect. Evaluate how you relate to each other and to the outside world. If you feel like you can be good friends, you’re in luck.
3. You think and process things similarly.
Do you think alike? If you’re a rocket scientist dating someone who doesn’t think in analytical, intellectual ways, you might be bored with your discussions.
Finding an intellectual match can help connect you with both conversation and interests.
4. Your chemistry is undeniable.
Physical chemistry is really important. Sometimes, this may be the only connection, or at least the initial connection you have with someone.
If your relationship is lacking in other areas, you may worry about whether this is all there is with your partner. Its great to mesh on a physical level, but if this is all there is, the relationship may not feel authentic or secure for you.
5. You feel like you're MEANT to be together.
Have you met a kindred spirit? Depending on your spiritual beliefs or faith, this could be an important piece of a relationship.
If you feel a deeper level of connection, you may be with each other for a reason. It’s not uncommon for people to feel like fate or faith brought them together. Connection is multi-layered. Depending on who you are and what you need in a relationship, there can be other areas you need to feel connected to someone.
If you’re looking for a long-term relationship, the better the quality and quantity of connections you have, the better chance you have for a successful relationship.