This Is How to Have a Healthy Relationship
So, What’s A Healthy Relationship?
This might sound strange, but many people today simply don’t know what a healthy relationship actually looks like. Why? Well, partly because Hollywood movies and mainstream romantic novels have given people unrealistic expectations, but also because our social education has become ever more limited in recent years. So, for the record… what does a healthy relationship look like?
A healthy relationship is:
• Ever growing
No-one can be the soul of kindness, empathy, affection, and patience at all times; people, even people you love, will be selfish, or thoughtless, and they will make mistakes. A healthy relationship, however, is one which enables the discussion of issues as they arise, one in which problems can be discussed respect and empathy, and in which one party of able to apologize and the other is able to move beyond the issue if the apology is accepted. If your partner is, or if you are, possessive, controlling, disrespectful, resentful, or behaves in a way that undermines and isolates you this behavior needs to be addressed!
5 Ways to Build Healthy Relationships
This applies to platonic and familial relationships, too, by the way; the foundation of a healthy relationship is the same no matter what kind of relationship it is. Right now, however, we’re talking about romantic relationships and how to make them stronger, healthier, and more stable;
1) Set Boundaries: when you first start seeing someone it is key that you sit down and clearly lay out your boundaries and expectations for the relationship. This could be regarding the kind of relationship you have (open, casual, serious and committed), or your lives (if you have children, for example). These boundaries could be about when you see each other, what your date nights should consist of, whether or not your partner is allowed to aid in the disciplining of your children, or the etiquette for dealing with arguments. Whatever is important to you should be discussed at this point, but these boundaries should not be set in stone!
2) Communicate: no person is ever going to be perfect, this is why communication is so important! If your partner (or your friend, or a family member) does something to upset you it is key that you clearly and calmly tell them. They need the chance to rectify their behavior and make things right… after all, that’s what you would want, right?
3) Maintain Independence: you should never wrap up your whole life in a single person because if something should happen to the relationship you will find it very hard to cope. Both of you should have your own friends, spend time with your family independently of each other, and have hobbies and interests of your own. If your partner begins to isolate you, you must take notice of this behavior and seek help.
4) Cultivate Compassion: you will never meet someone who agrees with you on every single issue and topic in life. You must practice compassion and empathy. In short, make a point of trying to see the issue from your partner’s point of view before you start to lose your temper. This isn’t always easy, of course, but if you can practice this approach you will find that your arguments are less intense even when neither of you is willing to give up your position.
5) Take Responsibility: when something does go wrong, or you do make a mistake, step up and take responsibility. The healthiest and strongest relationships are the ones in which both parties are willing to take their share of the blame when things go wrong, and in which no-one keeps a record of past wrongs.
How to Deal With Toxicity in Your Relationship
We all have certain behaviors and factors in our relationships that are not healthy. The trick is recognizing them, dealing with them, and, on occasion, when to walk away from a toxic relationship. Unhealthy relationships fall into two categories; toxicity based on trauma or poor education, and toxicity which stems from abuse.
If your partner, or you, struggle with jealousy, paranoia, and insecurity because of previous bad experiences the first thing you must do as a couple is sit down and figure out what the issue is and where it lies. Secondly, you need to be on the same page in recognizing that, whether or not the behavior is maliciously intended, it is not acceptable or healthy. Sometimes such behaviors can be worked out with communication, compassion, and hard work, but now and then you may need the help of a therapist. This is especially the case if the behavior is exacerbated by mental illness. In these cases, seek medical help and remember to keep an eye on your own mental wellbeing; you cannot sacrifice your self-esteem and happiness to save another person from themselves. If your partner is controlling, possessive, and/or aggressive, however, your first step should be to distance yourself from them. This may seem extreme, but it is key to remember that abuse never begins at full volume, so to speak. You should always ask yourself ‘is this behavior acceptable?’, ‘how can we practice better communication?’, and ‘is my relationship healthy?’
Above and beyond all else, remember that you cannot change someone who does not want to change. If you are your partner frequently clash over their destructive or toxic behavior, and they maintain that there is nothing wrong with their action it could be the case that you need to leave them.
This is never an easy step to make, but your safety, and the safety of any children involved, must always come first.
So, are you ready to build healthy and lasting relationships? If so, you have all you need to make a start right here.