Girl… We have officially entered into relationship week of the LOVE Series! This is, I believe, the biggest week of the series because I truly feel that relationships are the hardest part of life that we all are trying to navigate. There are some who are relationship masters. To those individuals, share your secrets in the comments below and help your fellow sisters out! I would not call myself a master, but I have made many mistakes (more like dated mistakes), and learned several life lessons along the way on what qualifies as a healthy relationship. Let’s dig in with a series of what healthy relationships include and don’t include.
Mutual Respect and Appreciation
There is no relationship if you cannot respect or appreciate one another. It is the bases for a solid and healthy partnership. This includes respecting each other’s time by showing up on time, being fully present, and doing activities both are interested in. It also means listening to one another even if you don’t necessary agree with everything being said. Respecting one another in public includes not arguing, criticizing, or embarrassing each other in front of friends or family.
As for appreciation, it’s always nice to hear praise, congratulations, how proud you are. Showing you care for each other with simple gestures, words, or gifts is so important. It is important that all of these actions come from a place of love not obligations or a tool for control later down the line. If you feel your partner says or does things to hold it over your head for later, that is not appreciation, it is manipulation.
Feeling Secure and Confident
You should always feel confident, secure, and at ease in your relationship. You should be free to be your authentic self, let down your guard, and know you are safe. Being secure in your relationship feels peaceful and calming, it means you have more time to focus on other things in life like goals and dreams. Feeling confident in your relationship means you both trust each other immensely and know that no matter what will happen, you have each other for support. You never have to question or have doubt, and you are both there for each other through the good and tough times. The love between the two of you is unconditional.
There never should be a moment where you are fighting for attention, feeling the need to prove your value or worth, or feel unlovable. Love should not be conditioned on reaching set standards or expectations. Also, if you notice you are constantly walking on eggshells wondering what will set your partner off, you are not in a secure setting. Lastly, if you notice that your partner is there for you ONLY when it is convenient for them not when you need them the most, it is a big red flag. If someone makes you feel any of these things, run! It is not a healthy or whole relationship.
Communication is key for a successful relationship. It avoids any misinterpretations, expectations, and assumptions. Being able to have open, respectable conversations is a sign of a health relationship. Again, listening to your partner even if you don’t agree with everything said is a sign of appreciation and respect.
Of course there will be arguments, but aggressive fighting (yelling, talking over each other, throwing things, comments that hit below the belt, screaming matches, and constant berating) is not normal. In healthy relationships, arguments last 15-20 minutes with a resolution in the end. Sometimes that resolution is being mindful of one another’s feelings and argeeing to respect each other. A person who really loves and cares about you will never want to see you hurt or in pain.
On the flip side, if you are in a relationship where you constantly feel unheard, they seem distracted when you speak, or if you are crying without your partner showing any sense of remorse, leave immediately! They are only in the relationship for themselves and do not care about your well-being.
A partnership should be equal give and take. Healthy relationships are centered around providing one another emotional, financial, and physical support. It should never be a one way street. There will be days you feel very off, and your partner is there to help you through. But the same should apply for when they are having a down day, and you are there to pick up the slack. It might not be exact eye for eye when it comes to each department, but as long as you are both contributing your strengths to the relationship, that’s what matters. The burden should not be left on one person’s shoulders alone.
Which leads to our next point. Healthy participation in a relationship includes both people pulling their own weight. Each person in the relationship should show some sort of responsibility in life, such as having a career, a home, and hobbies. Ideally, it is two whole people coming together to create a beautiful and equal relationship.
When There Are Red Flags
Here is the thing, you should always trust your instincts over everything else. If you feel something isn’t right, most likely there is something that isn’t right. One red flag is enough to end a relationship. Don’t wait for 5, 15, 30 red flags and about 5 years of mistrust before you leave. If you feel your partner is cheating, you’re most likely right. We don’t just automatically assume someone is cheating unless the signs are there.
Similarly, if you notice they are constantly late, seems to be lying even about small things, they have issues with drinking, or don’t have the same morals as your own, these are all red flags to honor. With 7.7 billion people on this planet, you will find someone else who doesn’t exhibit red flags.
The best questions to ask yourself regarding your relationship is this: “Am I happy and do I feel secure with this person? Or am I constantly on edge and needing to prove my worth?” If it is the latter, it’s time to move on. You should never feel unworthy of love or needing to prove yourself in your relationship. A healthy relationship should make you feel grounded, comfortable, and an adventure at the same time. It is never too late in life to start again if you need. If you feel like you are in a situation that is abusive and you are afraid of leaving, please check out The National Domestic Hotline for help.
Question Of The Day
What defines a healthy relationship for you? Let me know in the comments below, and feel free to share this post with anyone who may need it!