For as long as I’ve dated, I’ve always been the relationship type. I was never interested in one-nightstands, friends with benefits, or anything casual. However, I kept choosing men who were emotionally unavailable, commitment-phobes or playboys.
It wasn’t until I learned to truly love and accept myself for who I am that I realized while I may have wanted a healthy relationship, I never defined what a healthy relationship should look like.
Since I obviously didn’t have a clue, I went on the hunt for what traits a healthy relationship should include. What I found was:
Healthy relationships contain trust
Trust means more than keeping secrets and being faithful. When you trust your partner, you feel a sense of safety and security in the relationship.
Trust allows both partners to reach high levels of intimacy and closeness. It also allows for setting boundaries and knowing they’ll be respected.
It also means calling when you say you will and following through on promises. It’s impossible to build trust in someone who does not keep their agreements.
Healthy relationships contain mutual respect
Mutual respect, for me, means you admire each other as a person. You like and respect who your partner is, and how they carry themselves through the world. If you can’t respect the way a person lives their life, let alone admire them, it’s hard to keep any relationship going.
Healthy relationships contain accepting personal responsibility
I get it, life is messy at times and no one likes admitting they’re wrong or that they made a mistake or a bad judgment call. And, while it’s natural to want to assign blame when things go wrong, in a healthy relationship partners take responsibility for things they do to hurt each other, apologize, and make amends.
There’s no pushing of the blame off onto your partner.
Healthy relationships contain effort
Your partner makes time for you on a regular basis. He/she makes you a priority because they value your relationship. Even when he/she is swamped at work, they stay in touch. They take that five minutes throughout the day to say, hey I am thinking about you.
Healthy relationships contain communication
Healthy communication helps convey your needs wants, opinions and feelings to your partner in a calm, assertive and loving way. It also includes talking about your future together so you can create a shared vision of your relationship.
Don’t waste your time on someone who doesn’t include you in his or her future plans.
Healthy relationships contain independence
Your relationship with your partner shouldn’t be the only significant relationship in your life. Healthy individuals have their own friends, family members, interests and opinions outside the relationship.
Healthy relationships contain happiness
All relationships have their rough patches, but overall, your relationship should make you happy more often than not. At the end of the day, you have to feel happy about your decision to be with your partner. Isn’t that the goal in the end if the day, happiness.
So, as you go along your self-love and self-acceptance journey, remember to include an inventory of your relationships.
They, too, are part of the body you stand in.