There are reliable tools that can be used to create a healthy relationship, many of which have not been taught in our culture. If you want to have a really healthy relationship, follow these simple guidelines.
- Do not expect anyone to be responsible for your happiness. Accept yourself. Respect yourself. Love yourself. Take good care of yourself. If you really want, you CAN always find something to do that makes you feel good about yourself right now. Love yourself, so pursue your true needs. Light up your true desires. Ask yourself why you didn’t? Too often relationships fail because someone is unhappy and blames their partner for making them that way. Your life is ONLY under your control. Keep reminding yourself you are GOOD ENOUGH to have a happy life and a healthy relationship. Make yourself happy, and then share with one another.
- Make and keep clear agreements. Respect the difference between yourself and your partner. Don’t expect he or she agrees with you on everything. Reach mutual agreement or plan, and then commit to it. Leave the partner if you can’t reach any agreement or you find he or she always makes excuses for breaking the agreement or plan. If you say you’re going to meet your partner for lunch at noon, be on time, or call if you’re going to be late. If you agree to have a monogamous relationship, keep that agreement and/or tell the truth about any feelings you’re having about someone else before you act on them. Keeping agreements shows respect for yourself and your partner, as well as creating a sense of trust and safety.
- Use communication to establish a common ground to understand different points of view and to create a mutual, collaborative agreement or plan. You can either choose to be right, or you can have a successful relationship. You can’t always have both. Most people argue to be “right” about something. They say. “If you loved me, you would…” and argue to hear the other say, “Okay, you’re right.” If you are generally more interested in being right, this approach will not create a healthy relationship. Having a healthy relationship means that you have your experience, and your partner has his or her experience, and you learn to love and share and learn from those experiences. If you can’t reach any mutual agreement, that doesn’t mean either of you is wrong or bad, it only means you don’t suit each other.
- Approach your relationship as a learning experience. Each one has important information for you to learn. For example, do you often feel ‘bossed’ around in your relationship, or do you feel powerless? When a relationship is not working, there is usually a familiar way that we feel while in it. We are attracted to the partner with whom we can learn the most, and sometimes the lesson is to let go of a relationship that no longer serves us. A truly healthy relationship will consist of both partners who are interested in learning and expanding a relationship so that it continues to improve.
- Tell the unarguable truth. Be truthful to yourself and your partner if you want true love. Many people are taught to lie to protect someone’s feelings, either their own or those of their partner. Lies create disconnection between you and your relationship, even if your partner never finds out about it. The unarguable truth is about your true feelings; your partner can argue about anything that happens outside of you, but he or she cannot rationally deny your feelings. Here are some examples: “I felt scared when I saw you talking to him at the party,” “I feel angry when you hang up on me,” and “I felt sad when you walked out during our fight and didn’t want to be around me.”
- Do not do anything for your partner if it comes with an expectation of reciprocation. The things you do for your partner must always be done because you chose to do them and you wanted to do them. Do not hold your “good deeds” over their head at a later time. Keeping score in a relationship will never work: a person is less likely to notice and value all the contributions of their partner as much as their own.
- Forgive one another. Forgiveness is a decision of letting go the past and focusing on the present. It’s about taking control of your current situation. Talk about the issue and try to reach a mutual agreement on how to handle the situation in the future and then commit to it. If you can’t reach an agreement, it’s a bad sign. If you learn from the past and do not repeat the same pattern, it’s a good sign. It’s the only way to prevent yourself from more disappointment, anger or resentment. Respect your partner, when your partner tells you to leave them alone, do give him or her the time and space.
- Review your expectations. Try to be as clear as you can about any expectations – including acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and attitudes, especially attitudes towards money. Make sure you don’t expect your partner to fulfil every need in your life. One person cannot be everything to you. Everybody needs love, intimacy, affection, and affirmation, but your partner cannot alone give you all of that. You need to get some from your friends, from your family, but first and foremost, love yourself. Attempting to change someone else’s mode of processing or personality style won’t work — and will create derailments.
- Be Responsible. Here’s a new definition: Responsible means that you have the ability to respond. Respond to the real problem, to your true needs. It does not mean you are to blame. There is tremendous power in claiming your creation. If you’ve been snippy to your partner, own up to it, and get curious about why you are jealous and how you might do it differently next time. If you are unhappy in your relationship, get curious about why this situation seems similar to others from your past, and how you might create a better relationship for yourself rather than dwell in anger or resentment or try to change your partner instead.
- Appreciate yourself and your partner. In the midst of an argument, it can be difficult to find something to appreciate. Start by generating appreciation in moments of non-stress, and that way when you need to be able to do it during a stressful conversation, it will be easier. One definition of appreciation is to be sensitively aware so you don’t have to be sugar-coating anything; so tell your beloved that you love him or her, and that you don’t want to argue but to talk and make it better.
- Admit your mistakes and say sorry. Right after a misunderstanding or argument, tell your partner to give you some time to think of the wrong and right things that you and he/she did. Tell your partner to do the same thing and talk to them after 10-15 minutes. Tell your partner to give you time to talk and explain to them why you were angry, the wrong things you did, the things they did that you did not like and what you would like them to change. Ask your partner to do the same thing and give them a fair chance to talk and explain also. This will make your relationship stronger and help strengthen the communication between you and your partner.
- Know yourself and be honest with yourself and love yourself — first! Only then can you truly appreciate and love someone else.
- Take good care of yourself. Treating yourself with respect and love is as important as respecting and loving your partner. Conduct yourself with dignity, even if you’re very familiar with one another.
- All good relationships are based upon mutual respect. If you do not feel respect for your partner, or believe your partner is losing respect for you, then consider ways of rebuilding it immediately. Respect is the key. If you have true respect for one another, then nothing can go wrong. You just have to find the right person to respect, this is the hard part.
- Ask questions, clarify, don’t assume. Do not talk if your mind is not clear or full of anger. When you feel hurt, do not say “you don’t love me / you never loved me” or “let’s break up” or “when do you want to break up?”. You will regret one day. Tell him or her you feel hurt, and ask for clarification first.
- Treat your partner the way you want to be treated. Be gentle and kind. Apologize if your partner feels hurt. Apology does not mean you are bad, it only means you care. When you are full of anger, it will surely burst out of your mouth if you open it. Calm down first, then think it through, then try to talk. When your partner asks to be left alone, do not blame or criticize. Show your respect and support by give him or her the time and space to calm down and think it through first. But do not leave any unsolved problem for too long.
- Be the first to tell your partner, either positive or negative. Trust is as essential as respect. If you want your partner to trust you, trust him or her first. Letting your partner play guessing games may lead to misunderstanding and frustration. But, don’t just tell him or her the issue, also talk about your plan to solve it.
- Strike while the iron is cold. Know when to be reflective and invoke principles. When the house is burning is no time to teach fire safety principles.
- Communicate with your partner. Without communication, there is no relationship. Stay in touch by, for example, calling your partner even if it’s just to say ‘hi’ and ‘I love you’.
- Avoid any activity that could cause your partner to experience doubt, suspicion or distrust – build your credibility and earn trust and respect by always communicate truthfully and proactively, and always keep your words. In this way, if something happens which looks incriminating, your partner will believe you if you claim you are innocent. Past behavior predicts future actions – building a solid foundation of trust and integrity will take you far. However, ultimately your life and where it takes you is more important than your obligations to someone else. If there is trust in a relationship, you should be able to do what you want. You aren’t responsible for making someone else jealous.
- Always make sure to show your partner that you appreciate him/her. Whether it’s calling them to check in, say I love you, or just spend your Saturday night together. The possibilities are endless.
- Know when to say no, and know when time and space are actually constructive tools.
- It is not always a good idea to answer certain questions with absolute truth if they bring emotional harm. “Do you sometimes think about your ex?” and “do I look fat in these pants?” are both loaded questions. In a relationship, answer questions honestly, but with tact and grace. For example, “I think you have other pants that look better on you” is a helpful answer, instead of simply “they don’t”, or “they do make you look fat”.
- Remember what you don’t do is as important as what you do.
- Avoid flirting with others, especially previous partners or coworkers. Doing so may spur romantic feelings for another. There is nothing wrong with having friends of a gender you are attracted to; just keep flirting out of the friendship.
- Tell your partner how you really feel about your ex and why you’re no longer romantically involved. Don’t ever lie or cheat on your partner, however one of those questions it’s best not to answer totally honestly is “do you still think about your ex?” If you have fond memories, don’t dwell on them, and assure your partner that while you occasionally remember places you went or things that happened, you are so much happier to be with your present partner. Period. Don’t launch into a rehashing of the old days with the ex, or talk at length about the good times you had together or things you did together.
- ‘It can help to learn the difference between Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships’ – That way you can see potential problems as and when they arise (Remember – its likely you would see something Unhealthy at some point so don’t be alarmed or shocked as there is no perfect relationship because we are all human and fallible). If you see something Unhealthy in your relationship try and work out why this is and see if you can work towards resolving it.
- Keep your expectations about the relationship realistic. Marriage should not be on your mind if you’ve been dating for a week, for example. Nor should you think that the relationship is going to solve all of your problems, or that you’ll never be lonely again, or anything like that. Relationships can be wonderful things, but be realistic about them. Just as one can feel lonely in a crowd, one can also feel lonely occasionally when in a relationship – that doesn’t mean the relationship is bad, it only means you’re feeling a little down. Don’t ascribe too much importance to it unless these feelings linger and begin to dominate your days and nights. If this happens, seek help; you may be spiralling into a depression.
- Do not assume that any one relationship will be perfect. It is human to experience disagreements and emotional pain. Working past these issues may be an ongoing struggle.
- Do not call it quits when you do argue. When in a state of anger, we can not rationalize and often find ourselves losing control by saying things we don’t mean. Hang in there and try to work it out before finalizing a break-up that you will regret afterwards. That said, if you find you are arguing more and more, examine the possible reasons, and talk it over together.
- There is no such thing as a PERFECT relationship. Sure, most of the time you’ll be compromising. But don’t get shocked or overly depressed because of arguments or fights. This will come for SURE. Without arguments and fights, your relationship will NOT grow stronger.
Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Have a Healthy Relationship. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.