The number one thing discussed in all therapy sessions is relationships. I can have a client come in with anxiety about work, grief of a family member, symptoms of depression from trauma, goals to increase mindfulness or wellness, and without fail the discussions inevitably go to the problems in their love life. Women absolutely want to find a healthy and lasting relationship and often compromise so much along the way that they lose time and faith in the right thing coming along.
Relationships, yes, are complicated. But they are no where near as complicated as some of us try to make them out to be. Yes, they do take time, work, and effort, but none of that is useful if the relationship is toxic. So here is a short questionnaire and guide to a healthy relationship:
- Do you feel comfortable telling your significant other how you feel (about him/her) without fear of judgement? If not, then ask yourself if you want to be with someone that you can’t say, “Hey, I really like you,” or “Hey, I felt really stressed when you did _____.” Chances are, if you cannot tell someone the simple feelings, then you won’t be able to tell them the complicated ones.
- Do you really like the other person? Do they like you? Do you question if this is the right person to you? If so, then probably not. Are you still keeping your eye out for what else is out there, then this is probably not the one for you.
- Do you find yourself distracted constantly, worrying what the other person is thinking, doing, or when they will correspond with you next? If so, then you are missing out on your whole life! Do you want to be with someone who takes that away from you? If you are in a healthy relationship, then the security is there that they aren’t doing anything to hurt you and they will get in touch with you soon, because they are thinking about you too!
- Do you find yourself rationalizing sketchy words or behaviors? If so, STOP. Your gut is telling you the right answer. Listen to it. There is no reason to rationalize or justify something if it is healthy.
- When you have an argument, do you resolve it? One of the most important characteristics of a healthy relationship is how well you can resolve conflict. If you don’t resolve it, then each fight that you have will inevitably lead back to the first one. When you do resolve it, then you grow closer as a couple, feeling a deeper trust and connection because you were able to get through something challenging.
- Is there more hurt than happiness? If yes, then it’s time to end the relationship. Love doesn’t hurt. If you have chosen someone to share the most intimate details of your life with, then they should treat you better than your best friend. If your best friend wouldn’t treat you that way, then your partner shouldn’t.
With this list, there is no rationalization or “what if.” This is the black and white stuff. There are plenty of shades of grey once you pass those hurdles. So stop wasting your time if your relationship isn’t hitting that criteria. Most importantly, stop building unhealthy relationship habits. You’ll find that relationship. But you have to set that standard for yourself.