What A Healthy Relationship Looks Like
Does yours measure up?
Being in a relationship is great. You have a ‘person’. Someone to have fun with, be intimate with, snuggle down and hibernate all winter with. Someone to listen while you complain about Jenny from work taking credit for your project, someone to make you feel better after a really rubbish day, someone to care for and care about.
Yes, relationships are great, but they’re also in no way essential or obligatory - and it’s important to be able to identify when a relationship is good - i.e. a positive influence on your emotional health and wellbeing - and when it’s not.
So what does a healthy relationship look like? There’s a few key pillars that should always be present.
It’s OK to feel jealous once in a while (that green-eyed monster? Oh, she hungry), but you and your partner should also trust each other enough to feel secure in your relationship. It’s not healthy or right if you feel like you can’t talk to another human being without them flying off the handle or giving you the cold shoulder.
At the same time, neither of you should be intentionally trying to make the other jealous on a consistent basis, either. If you feel the need to do that, there’s a fundamental problem at the heart of your relationship. Flirting with someone else in front of your current bae? Not cool. Cheating? Definitely not OK.
It’s a bit of a cliche, but if you don’t have trust, you don’t have anything. If you’re sitting at home wondering where they are, and what they’re doing, ask yourself why. Why don’t you trust them? Can this be fixed? It’s time for some honest conversation with each other, fren.
A healthy relationship should be fair and equal - AKA, both of you feeling able to speak your mind, both of you being willing to make compromises and both of you having a say in what you do, and how you live your lives together.
If one person gets their own way all the time, that’s not OK. If one person dictates how the other should behave or act. That’s also not OK. It’s really quite simple.
The late, great Aretha Franklin said ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me’ - and if what she meant by that was: ‘you better respect me or I’m outta here, son’, then she was bang on.
A partner should always, always, ALWAYS respects you and your wishes. We’re not talking him ordering a takeaway when you wanted to cook together - we’re talking the C-word and the F-word: consent, and free-will.
If you’re feeling pressured into acting a certain way, or forced into doing something you don’t want to do, you are NOT in a healthy relationship. You should be able to be yourself, without fear of judgement or repercussion.
Yep, really. You may well be totally in love and want to spend every moment together, but you need to make sure you both still have your own lives, too. Don’t forget to spend time with your friends - relationships end, but friendships are forever.
It’s also not healthy to be so wrapped up in one person that you make your life smaller and smaller to include only them. Life is all about balance, making time for yourself, and your interests and hobbies is also important. You’re relationship will actually be stronger for it
If your relationship doesn’t jam with the above, then take a long, hard look at it and yourself. Are you happy? Are you comfortable? Do you feel safe? Don’t stick with something - or someone - just because it’s easier than going through a breakup.
Yes, detaching yourself and disentangling your lives is hard, brutal even - but a few months of heartache is better than staying with someone who isn’t bringing you joy. It sounds cheesy, but you really do only have one life - don’t waste it on someone who doesn’t appreciate how amazing you are, and make you feel good.
- Words by Lizzie Cox.