Being in a romantic relationship is one of the ways that people aim to live a happy life. While it might not be essential for your happiness, it can improve it in a variety of ways. However, it's not just any relationship that will give a boost to your life. Your relationship should be healthy if you want it to make you (and your partner) happy. But how do you know if your relationship is healthy or not? It often takes an outside perspective for someone to notice that they perhaps have some unhealthy aspects to their relationship. You can get used to some less than healthy traits and not realize that you could do better, either in your choice of partner or in your own behavior. Here's how you can make sure your relationship is healthy.
People in a healthy relationship should feel able to express their thoughts and feelings to their partner without being scared of the consequences. If you're hesitant to say what you really think to the person you're with, it could be a sign that your relationship isn't as healthy as you would like it to be. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that the problem lies with them. It could be that you're too much of a people-pleaser or that you try to avoid conflict too much. If you say what you really think, are you scared of the reaction you might get, or are you just reluctant to hurt their feelings?
Solve Arguments, Instead of Forgetting Them
Arguing in a relationship is perfectly normal. In fact, it's expected. If you never fight about anything, it could be a sign that you're not expressing yourself enough. When you do have arguments, it's important to properly address them. Some couples can fight, then make up without really addressing why they were fighting in the first place. In a healthy relationship, you should make sure you talk about your disagreements. You need to be able to calmly discuss the things you don't agree on, without shouting. Finding ways to compromise will often help to settle things.
Be Willing to Examine Your Own Behavior
Sometimes, you might notice behaviors in your partner that are controlling or unkind. It's important to address these, whether you choose to do it by confronting the problem or by leaving the relationship. However, it's also important to recognize that you too could engage in unhealthy behaviors within a relationship. It's a good idea to think about what pushes men away, such as being jealous for no reason or being too controlling. What you might think are ways to express your love could even venture into abusive territory if you're not careful with your actions. It's important to be able to ask yourself if you're in the wrong to recognize those unhealthy behaviors.
Make Sure You Enjoy Your Own Space
Spending time together as a couple is wonderful. It's great to go on dates, to end the day together, and eventually perhaps to move in together. However, just because you're in a relationship, it doesn't mean you're no longer your own person. Enjoying time apart, whether you're on your own or with friends or family, is essential too. Different individuals and couples might need different amounts of time to themselves. It's healthy to have hobbies that you do on your own, to have friends that are just yours and not “couple friends,” and even to go on vacation without each other if you want to. It's up to you to work out how much space you need to yourself and to allow your partner what they need too.
Make Decisions Together
As you become more intertwined as a couple, you start to take each other into account more when thinking about your life. You might start to check with your partner before you make plans to go out, in case they also wanted to make plans with you. When you're in a long-term relationship and start to live together, you might discuss things like finances together too. You don't always have to discuss every decision you make, especially if it won't realistically affect your partner in any way. However, if it's a decision that's going to affect both of you, it's worth talking about it as a team. The small decisions are worth thinking about too – if one of you always decide where to go for dinner or what to watch on TV, maybe there's an imbalance in your relationship.
Support Each Other
People in a relationship should support each other through tough times. Of course, the amount of support you expect depends on how long you've been together. If you've been with someone for a month, you probably don't expect them to help care for your ailing mother. There are plenty of different ways you might support each other when things are hard. Problems can range from long days at work to illness, and you can help each other out with emotional support or by doing practical things, like cooking and cleaning. What's especially important is that there's balance. That doesn't mean you will always both need the same amount of support, but that when you do need it, you both get it.
Deal with Their Imperfections
Some people say that you learn to love even the things that you hate about your partner. However, you certainly don't have to love the things they do that annoy you. You just have to be able to accept them, to an extent. Being in a relationship can change a person, but your goal shouldn't be to change all the things you don't like about your partner. You have to accept that there are always things they will do that annoy you. However, you should draw the line at anything they do that hurts you.
A healthy relationship isn't as easy to build as you might hope. You have to work at it, and you also need to be able to recognize when things aren't healthy and perhaps can't be salvaged.