A healthy relationship is one that’s based on mutual respect, honesty and commitment. It’s not just about the two individuals involved; it also includes their family members, friends, work colleagues and other people in their environment. Find more info at em.com.
So how can you create a healthy relationship?
Here are six tips to help with this process:
Start by being honest with yourself
It may sound like an obvious point, but too often we avoid facing up to certain truths about ourselves simply because we don’t want to hear them at the time or they make us feel bad about ourselves. We know we should be more open and honest with our partner, but we still prefer to keep things hidden in the hope that eventually they will go away. But this never happens, which means it’s only going to get worse if we continue to ignore the truth.
The first step towards creating a healthy relationship is to start looking honestly at your own behavior and attitude. Are there any behaviors or habits of yours that need changing? Do you find yourself lying to your partner all the time? Is there something you would rather not discuss?
Try to understand your partner’s point of view
If you are having problems within your relationship then chances are you have both had different perspectives on various issues. Perhaps you didn’t agree when he wanted to move into his parents’ house for a long period of time; or you felt you were over-reacting when she said she was fed up with him coming home late every night; or you thought differently about what constituted cheating.
These kinds of differences can cause conflict. The key here is to try to understand why your partner feels the way they do. If you are able to empathize with your partner’s concerns, then you will be better placed to understand where they are coming from and hopefully resolve some of the tensions between you.
Be aware of your own needs
Your needs and wants must form part of the foundation of a healthy relationship. They need to be discussed openly and fairly so that both partners can contribute to solving any problems that may arise, and they need to be respected equally. This doesn’t mean you can expect everything you want, but instead you need to ensure that each individual gets the support and attention they need without feeling they are being pushed around – either emotionally or physically.
You also need to acknowledge that you need love and affection. You are human after all! So whether it’s sex, physical contact, communication or emotional intimacy, you must allow yourselves these basic needs as well. Otherwise, you won’t enjoy the experience of loving each other and neither will your partner.
Talk through problems
Communication is vital to making sure that your relationship thrives. Unfortunately, many couples who are experiencing difficulties tend to avoid talking about problems because they think they cannot solve them, whereas in fact they can. For example, maybe your partner has been a little short tempered lately and it seems as though nothing you say or do makes them happy. What is needed is for you to sit down and talk about exactly what is bothering them. Maybe you could ask them what they want you to do about this problem; or perhaps they would be quite willing to talk about the issue with you (if they trust you) and let you know what they think about it. Either way, getting the conversation started is half the battle.
Learn new ways of communicating
If you have always communicated in a very traditional way – perhaps through text messages or emails – then you might be surprised to discover that you can actually learn new ways of communicating. There are apps available on phones and tablets that can help to improve your relationship, such as Bumble, Tinder or WhatsApp. These services enable you to communicate with someone face to face, but in much the same way as texting does. Of course, using an app that allows you to communicate via video chat is even better. Apps such as FaceTime enable you to see your partner clearly and easily, and you can speak to them in real time.
Take care of your health
Healthier relationships are usually happier relationships, so make sure that you take care of yourself too. If you’ve got a busy schedule, take a look at the amount of exercise you’re doing and make sure you’re eating the right foods. Eating junk food and drinking alcohol is no good for your relationship, so cut back on these activities and focus on getting the nutrients you need from fresh fruit and vegetables.
Make sure you get enough sleep each night. If the person you love depends on you for company, then you need to be fully rested so that you can give them the best possible service. Lack of sleep will affect your mood negatively and make you irritable and less fun to be around.
Remember that you are in control of your life
This might seem like a strange tip to put forward but bear with me. Relationships are hard work. It takes effort to maintain a good level of happiness and satisfaction. If you feel that you are having difficulty maintaining your relationship, then you probably are. Why not try to make changes to make your relationship stronger? One way of achieving this is by deciding that you are in charge of your life. Don’t wait for your partner to tell you what you should be doing – make your own decisions and stick to them. If your partner starts criticizing you for the choices you are making, try to remember that they are just trying to protect their feelings. And remember that ultimately you are the person responsible for your happiness and success.