We all know what it is like when we meet someone new, and we fall head over heels in love with them. It does not matter what the do or say, as to you they are perfect. However, you should always be aware of what a healthy relationship consists of. This can keep you out of trouble. If you know the signs before you get into a relationship this should help you to attract the type of partner that you will actually be loved and cared by, and in return you can do the same and of course live happily ever after, just like you have always dreamed………well maybe not ‘ever after’ but for a long time at least, and at least you will be happy 🙂
So what is a healthy relationship?
A healthy relationship is a relationship where you feel happy, safe and secure. You completely trust your partner, you are not afraid of them, and they do not make unreasonable requests of you.
What makes a healthy relationship?
- Mutual respect. Do you respect each other? Do you listen and understand each others point of view? Do they know the real you and you know the real them? Can you be yourself or do you have to act like someone else. Mutual respect is a sign of a healthy relationship.
- Trust. You are talking to a guy, laughing and joking when your partner walks by. Do they act jealous and ask you if you are sleeping with each other/seeing each other behind his back, or do they say hi and join in the conversation, completely trusting you. If there is trust between the two of you this is a sign of a healthy relationship.
- Honesty. This goes hand in hand with trust. If you do not or cannot tell the truth then you cannot expect your partner to trust you. Most people know when another person is lying, even if not straight away. Are you open with what you are doing or who you are with or do you feel you have to cover this up from your partner. Do you feel they know you are lying but you justify it because you feel your partner will be upset with you? If you cannot be honest this is a sign of an unhealthy relationship
- Support. In the good times and the bad. Some people thrive on drama and are great when the going gets tough, but forget to be supportive in every day life when you need that extra encouragement to finally sign up for that college course you ve always wanted to do or take a part in a local play. Offering support to you consistently is a sign of a healthy relationship.
- Fairness/equality. Give and take. Do you spend as much time hanging out with his mates as you do your own, do you take turns in choosing which movie you are seeing at the cinema, or who will be making tea. If a power struggle starts and one of you are constantly trying to get your own way then this is not fair, nor is it equal and this is a sign of an unhealthy relationship.
- Separate identities. In a healthy relationship, everyone needs to make compromises. But that doesn’t mean you should feel like you’re losing out on being yourself. When you started going out, you both had your own lives (families, friends, interests, hobbies, etc.) and that shouldn’t change. Neither of you should have to pretend to like something you don’t, or give up seeing your friends, or drop out of activities you love. And you also should feel free to keep developing new talents or interests, making new friends, and moving forward.
- Good communication. Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars. You’ve probably heard lots of stuff about how men and women don’t seem to speak the same language. If something is wrong and your partner asks you, stay calm and speak to them about what is upsetting you. There is no use in bottling up your emotions and feelings as it achieves nothing. If you are not ready to speak, tell them you would like a little space, but you will discuss it with them shortly. The right person for you will allow you this time to gather your thoughts and emotions. If you can communicate effectively this is a sign of a healthy relationship.
By now you should understand what is seen as a positive, healthy relationship. If you believe you are in one of these then a big ‘hi 5’ to the both of you and long may your happiness continue. If you have read this and feel you may be stuck in an unhealthy relationship maybe it is time to consider if the relationship is worth taking forward. Should you have found yourself in an abusive relationship where your partner is controlling or you have been groomed into things you are in a loving, healthy relationship, then you need to get out of it and quick. Stay strong, find local professionals to help you and you will be ok. Nothing in life can survive if it is toxic.
I had my first child at 17, needless to say I was nt married and the relationship did not last. By 28 I had given birth to my second and third children. I still was not married, nor did the fella ever intend to propose, mainly as he knew he had some sort of control in this matter, and all I ever wanted was the happily ever after. So I planned the wedding, and when our third child was 6 months old, we got married. I was never proposed to, and he never said he wanted to marry me, but he did. I am now divorced. Single again and have been for two years. I am dating, for the first time in my life. I meet men, go on dates and if I want to see them again I do, if I don’t then I don’t. For the first time in my life, I realised I actually had a choice in relationships. My children are older now. I go out with friends, I go on holiday with them, weekends away to festivals and allow myself that time to let my hair down. I am truly living a single life. With three older children in tow. They of course also get my time, but as I am sole carer, with not much of a break I allow myself some freedom now and again. I benefit, but so do they.
I had a career at 21, working in a law firm, receiving a large pay check at the end of each month and a decent annual bonus to boot. At 30, I left, I’d had enough of the rat race and returned to university. I am a student. I also work, part time.
I had a house at 21, albeit with a mortgage but it was mine. After a failed engagement and then a failed marriage and all the financial implications that came with that (thanks ex-husband for eternally lumbering me with your debt) I now live in rented. Although it is not all bad, as in actual fact this is the first house that actually feels like home to me, since leaving my parents home some 15 years ago.
At 21, despite having a child, I had savings. Maybe this was because it was before the recession hit us, I do not know. But I now no longer have savings. Another way I have gone backwards…..?
I felt at one point I had it all. Husband, children, career, money. But I did not. I did not have my freedom, nor my happiness. I was sad, and despite being surrounded by my husband and children I felt lonely. Nothing fulfilled me. I felt like a shell, an outline of a person with nothing inside. Empty.
I used to be very creative, but all of this had fallen by the way side to make time for my career and my children. I was desperately trying to hold everything together and it worked for a couple of years, but once the cracks began to show, no matter how much I tried to plaster of them, it was just a temporary fix. I had to strip back to basics, and reassess my life. At first I thought I had thrown everything away, until I realised I had in fact just began to clear everything away. The things which I no longer needed in my life as they served no purpose, and in fact made me very unhappy. However, I am happier now than I have ever been. I still have problems in my life I have to deal with, but I do not ‘struggle’ to deal with them. I am not constantly stressed out and have managed to develop a ‘whatever will be, will be’ attitude. I believe sometimes we are so conditioned by society that we believe the house, car, husband, children, career blahdy blah is what is going to keep us happy. Having lived that live, it did not work for me, and I know plenty others that it has not worked for either.
If you feel unhappy, it is time to assess your life. Do not be frightened, as you have to do this, for yourself. You have a duty to live life in the most happiest, fulfilling way that you can.
I had difficulty allowing myself time. I felt guilty, feeling as though I had to be there for my children 24/7. So I not only felt guilty when I went out for dinner with friends, or for a weekend away at a spa, I felt guilty when I went to work! Working 10 hours a day in a law firm, meant most days I did not see my children for more than an hour a day-combined from before and after work. It made it more difficult for me to accept as when I tried to explain it to my husband, he was so money driven (mainly as I paid his bills) that he failed to even consider a reduction in my hours. So when I was finally brave enough to take a look at my life, and after my now ex-husband had left, I know the next thing on my list was my work. I had always been interested in people and what made them tick, so I chose to do Psychology. I left my work, which had always served as a security blanket and I took the giant step of becoming a student. This freed up a lot of my time, and now I can take my children to school every morning and collect them from school three days a week. The guilt of not being a ‘proper’ mother (this way my ideal of the type of mother I wanted to be) to my children has gone. Which now means I can also take time out some weekends, guilt-free.
Your steps do not have to be as life changing as mine, I am in no way advocating that every one packs in their jobs and gets divorced. This worked for me, and I am still in transition after two years, but every day I am a step closer to where I want to be. So even though I looked as though I was going backwards, (and believe me, many people questioned me, and some thought I was in mid-life crisis) I actually just cleared the decks so I could move forwards. I AM HAPPY.