In the early stages of a relationship, everything is wonderful. You want to spend every day together. You share everything and seem to spend the whole day smiling. But as the relationship develops, you may have questions about whether it is a healthy relationship or whether it is time to say good-bye.
The following are 6 ingredients to a healthy relationship.
Respect is defined as "a high or special regard" by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. But respect within a relationship is much more. It means you value the other person’s ideas, wishes and feelings. While that doesn’t mean you don’t have to adopt their ideas as your own or do whatever they want without any regard to your own feelings or wishes, it does mean that make an effort to take their wants into consideration. Both partners within a relationship should treat each other with respect.
Trust and honesty
Trust and honesty go hand in hand. Trusting another person can sometimes be hard, but in order to build and earn trust, honesty and integrity must be part of the relationship from the beginning. Trust is more than just believing your partner won’t cheat on you (although that is part of it). You need to know you can count on your partner to be there for you. As your relationship deepens, you need to be able to trust your partner to share intimate details of your life, without being judged or ridiculed. Deceit, even little white lies, are difficult to get over. Start in the beginning of your relationship to build trust.
Do you feel uncomfortable talking about certain issues with your partner? While some conversations may be difficult, it is important to feel that you can talk about any situation or feeling. You should be able to talk openly and honestly about your feelings, your dreams, your expectations, your problems and your achievements. Your partner should feel he or she can do the same. Communication is a two-way street and involves listening to the other person just as much as it does in speaking up for your needs. Respectful communication acknowledges both partner’s points of view without judging or insulting.
A life of your own
You may want to spend every minute with your new partner but that usually doesn’t lead to a healthy relationship. You probably had a life before you met him or her and had friends you spent time with. Neither of you should be expected to give up your own life (except for dating other people once you make a commitment to a mutually exclusive relationship), hobbies and friends. Your time apart will make you appreciate one another all the more and will give you something to talk about and share with each other.
It is important to support one another - in good times and bad. You may find your partner is always there to give you a hug and support when things are going wrong but shrugs off your accomplishments or vice versa, he may be always willing to celebrate your achievements but doesn’t want to hear anything about the bad times. Both you and your partner should provide a shoulder when needed and be excited during the good times as well.
One-sided relationships usually leave one partner feeling left-out, unappreciated and lonely. You both have different interests and different ideas. A healthy relationship takes both people into account. For example, if you like going to the movies, do you take turns choosing the movie? Or, when you plan on spending the day together do you always end up doing what one partner wants? Do you always hang out with one set of friends? Relationships should balance both partner’s so one doesn’t feel invisible.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.