Relationships are tricky. How do people even know what a healthy relationship looks and feels like? Remember, in relationships, we most often pick someone different from us. Both people can sometimes feel vulnerable in the relationship. Other times one partner is sure of the relationship being strong and the mate doesn’t feel the same way.
It can be common for the couple to individually be in their own timing of what they want in the relationship. They may have different expectations of each other. Remember how vulnerable you sometimes feel in a relationship?
Before we dive into what healthy relationships look like, let’s first take a look at some signs of an unhealthy relationship.
Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship
I’m going to just list some of the more common behaviors seen in an unhealthy relationship:
1. Someone is always complaining about something.
2. One partner often makes arrangements with friends without consulting the other.
3. Often the mate berates or bullies the other person.
4. One person withdraws from the other, and won’t discuss “why” with the mate.
5. Cheating becomes a part of the dynamic for at least one of the partners.
6. A partner does not ask for what they want and need from the other, yet remains unhappy.
These are just some of the more common dynamics that are unhealthy. Now let’s see what a more healthy relationship should look like.
Each person is kind to the other.
They apologize when they’ve hurt their partner in some way.
Each one is loyal to their mate.
- They ask for what they want openly with their person.
- In a healthy relationship, each person looks for ways to please their partner because they love them and want them to feel loved.
- They would never make outward gestures of flirting if it would hurt their partner.
- They often enjoy some of the same activities and most often share the same food choices.
These are just some of the behaviors that demonstrate what a healthy relationship looks and feels like.
Look at How You Most Often Feel in the Relationship
Do you often feel sad, alone, berated, or put down often? Or do you feel that your needs matter to your partner?
Is your partner respectful of you around other people? Do they demonstrate that they want you to be happy? Are you feeling emotionally safe with your mate and that they wouldn’t hurt you physically or your feelings deliberately?
Do you look forward to seeing them at the end of your day or do you worry about what mood they’ll be in when they come home?
No relationship is perfect, but it’s important to feel valued, appreciated, and cared for by the other person. Do they apologize when they were wrong or hurtful in some way?
All of these examples will determine in many ways how you feel in and about your relationship.
Communication: Is Your Mate Open to Discussing How You Each Feel?
Can you both talk about things that are important to you? Or do you hold back on what you really want to say for fear your mate will be angry and pull away from you? If you feel hurt can you both tell your mate? If one of you says something that hurts the other’s feelings can you each apologize to the other?
Things can’t get better without good communication. If you can talk things through stay away from right/wrong or better/worse. No one wins when someone feels they must be right.
What if Your Mate Doesn’t Want to Make Things Better?
It takes “two” to make the relationship work. Sometimes people are afraid to work in a relationship for fear of failing. At times someone may fear that the partner will still leave, even though the mate was trying to make changes. It can easily feel very vulnerable to put a lot of effort into something, only to find the person still doesn’t want to make it work.
You can’t have a healthy relationship on your own. It takes two people. And it won’t work in a healthy way if both people aren’t seriously trying.
If you both put solid time and energy into a relationship it’s very possible for you to move towards a healthy life together, that is fulfilling for each of you. Here are some tips to help you on this journey:
- Make a plan to sit down calmly and try to talk through how you each feel and why.
- Before you begin, make a list of what you most want the other to understand.
- Most important: Stay away from right/wrong, good/bad, and blaming. Otherwise, it becomes a battle. And no one will win!
- If it becomes difficult for each of you to hear the other out, stop and plan to continue another time. In the meantime, each thinks through again what they most care about in that conversation.
- If you can’t seem to talk it through with a resolution, that’s ok. It just means that you both need more time to work on the issues.
- You must have come together for some pretty good reasons. Sometimes we forget this and lose connection with one another.
- Try to concentrate on what you most value in your mate. And tell your mate those things every so often.
- It can be very helpful to seek the guidance of a trained psychotherapist. Most insurance plans seem to cover therapy these days. They most often will pay a good portion of the cost.
Relationships are not easy to navigate even under the best circumstances. But if you truly want this relationship to work, you both need to put the effort into it. There’s no way around that. Hopefully, this gives you a glimpse into how relationships can flourish. It’s not always easy, but with the right person, it is totally worth it!