Negotiating the road to a healthy romance can be one of the most challenging endeavors in our life. If our primary relationship with our partner is detrimental to our happiness, or worse—toxic—it can destroy the foundation of our wellbeing. Maybe that’s why so many people share their concerns about this with me. Whether you are married, in a long-term relationship, or even just beginning to date, knowing what makes a good and solid union can be the best tool you have to finding true happiness and contentment. So if you’re ambivalent about remaining in a relationship, or wondering if it’s wise to invest your emotions in a new one, here are some positive signs to look for.
1. You communicate thoughts and feelings to each other easily and often
There’s a good reason people say that being friends first is the best way to begin a romantic relationship. (I can vouch for that!) Do you feel safe sharing your thoughts and feelings with your partner, the way you would with a supportive friend? Do you receive in return a loving and thoughtful response, and the feeling that your partner will always have your back? And is your partner the first person you run to with good news, or even with bad? If so, then there’s a very good chance the two of you can forge a strong and supportive team. This will make facing life’s challenges less arduous, because you’ll bolster each other throughout them. You’ll also enjoy all the time you will be spending together, because don’t we all want to hang out with our best friends?
2. You trust each other
If you find yourself “checking up” on your partner because you have a feeling he is doing something naughty behind your back, then one of two things is happening. Either it’s true, and on some level you know it, or it’s not, but your own insecurities are rearing their ugly heads. Either way, something’s amiss and needs to be addressed. In a healthy relationship, trust is earned over a period of time and is based on the actions of your partner, the same way it would be for a close friend. When you are able to trust, you’ll be able to enjoy time away from each other without worrying that your partner is up to no good. If he has already proven himself to be an honest person who loves you and has your best interests at heart, trust will flow naturally, the way it should. If not, it may be time to move on.
3. You can fight without tearing each other down
Healthy fighting is an important part of a sturdy relationship. It should go without saying that it should NEVER be physical, but during a fight, it’s also very important that you maintain a level of verbal respect for each other. You can argue about things without attacking each other personally. It’s okay to disagree, but being truly disagreeable can be a real relationship buster. Name calling, berating, and “hitting below the belt,” should not be the way you express yourselves, because once the fight is over, you will always have those hurts between you—and those can last a lifetime.
4. Your mate enhances your life instead of draining it
It never ceases to surprise me how many people find that their greatest source of stress is sleeping next to them every night. Your home should be your castle, your comfort zone, your safe place, and if you are coming home to partner who sucks the life energy out of you, it can make it impossible to lead a happy and productive life. We all face obstacles, whether related to work, the illness of a loved one, children’s issues, etc., but if you have someone who adds love, dedication, and emotional support to the mix, hardships will feel more manageable, and good times will be even better.
5. You love each other for who you truly are
It’s important to determine if you are sincerely in love, or if your feelings are merely based on infatuation. The reason it’s so crucial, is that if it’s the latter, then you may be in for a rude awakening once the real person inevitably emerges from behind your fantasy. We all should feel comfortable being who we are, and know that our partner loves and accepts us for it. Nobody is perfect; the question is, can you live with her faults and baggage and not hold it against her? And can she do the same for you? Loving acceptance of your partner is one of the keys to a good relationship, and can help make sure that the bond you share only deepens with each passing year.
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