40 People Define a Fulfilling Relationship

We asked 40 people how they would define a fulfilling romantic partnership. Responses are anonymous, but they include people of various relationship statuses and differing sexual orientations over a wide age range.

Here is to love, 40 ways.

  1. Being able to be 100% yourself including your flaws, your joy, growing pains, big feelings, vulnerability and knowing that your partner accepts you and loves you. There comes a point where you come to recognize that your partner and yourself are always growing and changing. I think a fulfilling relationship is making the choice to continually be by that person’s side as they grow and change and to love them (and like them) in each season. I could probably write a lot more… but I’ll keep it short.
  1. I feel romance consists of small things. A hand hold, a kiss on the forehead, a random slow dance in the kitchen. Being mindful about the effort shown at the beginning of a relationship continues is romantic in itself. A simple text “I miss you” goes a long way. Romance is any small thing to break up the monotonous realities of everyday life. 
  1. Equal parts mutual respect, unconditional love and the recognition of the individuals autonomy. Free from external pressure or expectation, centered on the needs and wants of the members of the partnership, first and foremost. A relationship that encourages growth and evolution while remaining accepting and loving of the current circumstance.
  1. A relationship to me should be full of trust. Trust that there’s always someone who can give you just what you need. Comfort, an open ear or a small escape from reality.
  1. A fulfilling partnership for me is all about acceptance and compromising. You need to accept that you can’t or shouldn’t change a person; and be willing to compromise and be flexible. If you are with the right person, you will love who they are and you will find that compromising is healthy and enjoyable.
  1. A fulfilling romantic partnership has to be built on a solid foundation of communication and mutual self-respect. It really isn’t much different than what it takes to build a friendship. If both parties can articulate what they want and need, it will work, and it definitely helps if one of them is willing to be the person who fetches stuff from downstairs.
  1. When I think of a fulfilling romantic partnership, this is what I imagine:

1. Commitment to growth & building as a team.

2. Independence to embody self-love & freedom.

3. Communication to support & hear each other out.

4. Adventure to experience life & embrace spontaneity.

5. Compassion to provide empathy, peace & love.

  1. A fulfilling romantic relationship is about joy. Joy found in small, daily, mundane moments, that are fun or special just because you do them together. It’s also about learning about each other and supporting each other in all steps of life. It isn’t always big & magical. Fulfillment comes from understanding, support and joy.
  1. For me a fulfilling romantic relationship is one in which each partner inspires the other to be their best and try their best every day, in every aspect of their life. Partners who challenge each other and love each other unconditionally. Partners who love the other so much that they are able to love themselves and understand that, even on hard days, they are worthy of love.
  1. It is like coming home. It’s understanding with and without words, trust and faith in one another, belly laughter without judgment, and, above all, worth the hard work it takes.
  1. I would describe a fulfilling romantic partnership as having someone who will be your safe space and who will never invalidate your feelings. Someone who is not afraid to be vulnerable and leads with empathy and compassion. It doesn’t hurt if they are “hot AF” too.
  1. A fulfilling romantic relationship means elevating one another, with sincerity, to new heights one would otherwise have difficulty achieving on one’s own. 
  1. I would say being willing to work with each other on the little things, having patience and knowing the other person isn’t perfect. Remembering you are a team and contributing to that person’s happiness. Having strong communication and understanding of each other. Intimacy but not to the extent of making the other person uncomfortable or pushing boundaries. 
  1. I talked about this with my partner and we agreed that you have to learn your partner’s love language, communicate and make sure they feel loved everyday. 
  1. I define a romantic and fulfilling relationship as an intentional and expansive co-creation. It’s about being willing to do the work with one another by seeing the differences in one another and learning to not take triggers personally but as a reflection of where more personal growth is necessary. It’s not about watering each other, it’s about watering yourself together, harmoniously, with the intention to become the most expanded and most loving versions of yourselves. It’s completely letting your guard down and embodying every bit of yourself while the other hold space for the light and the shadows so that you can experience what it feels like to be whole, regardless of what that looks like.
  1. When you can be completely vulnerable in front of your partner and they show total compassion without judgement. Vulnerability is the ultimate form of intimacy, and it’s beautiful to have such a depth of intimacy with your partner.
  1. Feeling is mutual, never have to question it.
  1. The feeling of home but with another person. Fulfilling romantic relationship, to me, is a partnership that encourages growth and, in the same breath, creates space for peace, calm and relaxation. It’s the knowledge that you can be 100% independently, authentically you, and then, at the end of the day, you also get to lay down the burden and depend on someone else if you need it. It’s balance and harmony and care. Because love isn’t just about the fluffy fun sweet stuff, it’s, at its core, finding that “home” in someone else.
  1. When your partner understands the way you need to be uniquely loved and cared for. Patience, listening and respect are always present. When together, nothing else matters.
  1. A fulfilling romantic partnership is being with someone who accepts all parts of you; it values transparency and intimacy that comes from being vulnerable with each other. It’s safety to be vulnerable. It’s trust, loyalty and commitment. It’s being able to call each other out on bullshit because time is too precious for pettiness. It’s seeing each other through the lens of love which allows both to see what’s possible. It’s knowing that there are other options available and choosing each other because what’s possible together outweighs all else. It’s a balance between closeness and space, so each can grow as sovereign/autonomous beings together. It’s helping the other realize and live up to their potential. It’s about mutual respect, open communication and surrendering one’s ego to see each other for what is — pure love and magic.
  1. Respect. Truly understanding what respect means to your partner, and expressing that in everyday life. Romance and words of appreciation without actual respect will become hollow gestures. Respect will keep the spark and love alive.
  1. How do I define a fulfilling romantic partnership?

1. You’re both equally stoked about each other.

2. You truly respect and admire each other’s way of doing things, even if the approaches are radically different.

3. You both feel safe and free from judgement (while still open to giving and receiving feedback).

4. You are both fully committed to providing your partner the support and space to allow them to grow and change, and your love for them becomes a tool to help them reach the most full, vibrant version of themselves. You become accelerators for each other instead of sandbags.

5. You are both fully committed to building something together that you couldn’t even conceive of alone!

  1. The most fulfilling relationship I could imagine is not focused on love but focused on being perfect teammates for each other. They are comfortable with communicating about the good and the bad, they support and appreciate each other so genuinely that despite being two unique individuals, they are one in the same. They follow their own paths but always have a rock-solid partner to back them up, motivate them, be honest about their flaws and worship every quirk, goal and personality trait. I believe a couple that works on tackling life together and becoming each others #1 fans doesn’t have to focus on romance, because love is the wonderful, naturally occurring side effect of being a good team.
  1. For me, a fulfilling romantic relationship consists of two humans coming together out of love and attraction, trying their best to create a sense of security in that partnership while simultaneously embracing and cultivating their individual freedom and life journey.  
  1. The security feels like home – safe and welcoming, stable, always there, endless hot chocolate and comfy blankets. This can look like trust, good communication, showing up, giving and receiving in balance, and boundary respect. With a secure foundation, each partner can feel safe to explore the fullness of their own life as a whole being on a unique path. This ideally allows the fun and passion found in early stages of romantic involvement to continue as both are free to expand and bring new experiences and learnings home to the partnership.
  1. My definition of a fulfilling romantic partnership, as cliche as it may be, is dating my best friend. The type of relationship where you are equally as goofy and ridiculous together as you are serious and romantic. And, no matter what either person is facing, each day is made that much more exciting or less devastating solely because your partner/best friend is by your side.
  1.  Love that’s mutually reciprocated.
  1.  A romantic partnership moves through the butterflies to a place of peace. It’s where you land, it’s home, it’s safe. The joy comes from your partner’s laughter, from his willingness to accept your shortcomings, insecurities and crazy dreams. It’s the calm at the end of a hard day and the peace knowing this is the person that will keep you laughing when the road gets bumpy.
  1. I typically look for a few things in a fulfilling romantic partnership. I think the ability to lose track of time in conversation is a super, duper important element to me in all my relationships, it’s super basic, but I want the person to be interesting! Beyond that, physical attraction is obviously important and good chemistry.
  1. Romantic partnerships are fulfilling when both people feel complete WITHOUT each other. That way, you can care for one another from a place of generosity and desire, rather than obligation.
  1. Two people who choose each other – choose to be on the same team, choose to fight for their love, choose to be committed and choose to find joy together. 
  1. That’s quite a question. And, to be honest, I’m not sure how to define something as complex as love and romance. What’s romantic to one person might be a cheesy gesture to another. That’s one of the reasons that love is a leap of faith to me. Oh, but that first jump is so fun and the fall can be scary, but when you hold the right person’s hand, it all comes together. Idk if this made sense at all, but it’s an accurate representation of what went through my mind.
  1. For me, it comes down to whether or not you can depend on a person to be there for you through the good and the bad. Even if they don’t have all the answers or know what to say, you know they will always be there to support and love you, not because they have to but because they want to.
  1. This is my only response, because I’m bad with words, so I take them from other people lol.

i do not want to have you

to fill the empty parts of me

i want to be full on my own

i want to be so complete

i could light a whole city

and then

i want to have you

cause the two of us combined

could set it on fire

– rupi kaur

  1. I believe a fulfilling romantic partnership is based on each partner being committed to their own personal growth. When you work to fulfill your own needs, you end up with more to give. This overflow becomes your gift to your partner again and again. Your partner enjoys the excess but doesn’t rely on it since they are doing the same work. It’s an eternal dance of working, giving and receiving without dependence or expectation.
  1. A fulfilling romantic relationship is being with someone that challenges your beliefs but doesn’t change who you are. Someone who is there to support you to grow. And then there is the intimacy side. Where your bodies feel right together and nothing feels forced. Love is complicated, and no one understands it. But spending your life with your best friend should have challenges but should also be easy. If there is no common ground, the  relationship will probably not work.
  1. Challenging each other to be your best selves, while understanding each other’s flaws. I realized I was in love for the first time when my partner behaved in a way that I found endearing that would usually drive me nuts; they were just being themselves. Accepting each other for who you are while allowing your partner to grow, both together and individually.
  1. Probably just mutual respect.
  1. Defining a romantic partnership: 

1. Being in a relationship without expectations. Meaning, don’t expect someone to be something they’re not. 

2. Continue developing yourself and your own happiness. You can never contribute to another person’s happiness unless you’re happy with yourself. 

3. Communication. Always communicate and express how the both of you feel.

4. Sex. Must-have-sex. Make it adventurous, make it something that the both of you can think about throughout the day and it keeps the both of you coming back for more. Have sex randomly, it doesn’t have to be a schedule or certain time. Always try new things. Help each other in any way possible to reach climax.

*I think this is something couples struggle with most. Especially when men can not understand why some women have a harder time orgasming than others. 

5. Be each others’ safe zone. For example, if one of you is having a bad day, you can go home to that person, and they will comfort you in whatever way you need. 

6. Make each other laugh. Laughter is the BEST medicine.

  1. Wow, that’s a hard question to put into words. I think I’d say, being able to understand each other and “work” together to be fulfilled. As cheesy as it may sound, I think love languages are important to understand and work into how you treat each other/express love. 

And a bonus one! Just because.

  1. I define a fulfilling romantic relationship by committing to growth for both you and your partner. A couple will (ideally, I suppose) be together their entire lives. We are talking decades. People WILL change and grow over this time and both parties need to accept and help their partner grow rather than try holding them in place.

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