Although every relationship is unique, they are characterized by having a healthy component. Research has demonstrated that relationships that promote personal growth and increase satisfaction significantly reduce stress and boost happiness.
Even though every romantic partnership is unique, there are some fundamental things that can be done to keep partnerships strong.
1. Keep expectations realistic
While it is true that any relationship will have its ups and downs, the best relationships have a balance in which both partners can thrive. This means being realistic about each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and allowing for time away from each other as needed.
Being aware of our expectations and making sure they align with reality is crucial for a healthy and fulfilling relationship. Here’s an important tip: try not to let movies, books, or social media dictate what you expect from a relationship. Remember that real-life relationships are unique and dynamic, and they can’t be exactly like what we see on screens or read about in stories.
Instead, focus on communication, understanding, and compromise. Remember that your partner is an individual with their own dreams, flaws, and emotions. It’s essential to acknowledge that no one can fulfill all our expectations, and that’s okay! Appreciating the good qualities and accepting the imperfections of each other can lead to a stronger bond.
2. Talk with each other
It can’t be said enough: communication is essential to healthy relationships. As couples get older, it is important to take the time to talk. This can be a difficult thing to do in this age of technology, but there is nothing more important than communicating with your partner.
- Take the time. Really be there.
- Genuinely listen. Do not interrupt or plan what you’re going to say next. Try to fully understand their perspective.
- Ask questions. Show you are interested. Ask about their experiences, feelings, opinions, and interests.
- Share information. Studies show that sharing information helps relationships begin. Let people know who you are, but don’t overwhelm them with too much personal information too soon.
3. Be flexible
Flexibility in a relationship means being able to adapt to change, compromise, and be open to new ideas and perspectives. It involves understanding that both individuals in the relationship are unique and have their own needs and preferences. This requires being willing to adjust and accommodate each other’s differences in order to maintain harmony and balance in the relationship. Flexibility also allows for growth, as it enables couples to navigate challenges together and evolve as a unit.
4. Take care of yourself, too
Caring for your well-being while being in a relationship is essential for its success. When you prioritize self-care, you are better equipped to contribute positively to the relationship. This can include maintaining personal interests, spending time with friends and family, pursuing hobbies, or simply taking time for relaxation and reflection.
By doing so, you avoid burnout and remain emotionally balanced, which ultimately enhances your ability to be an attentive and supportive partner. This balance also fosters independence within the relationship, preventing one from becoming overly reliant on the other for fulfilment and happiness.
5. Be dependable
Being dependable in a relationship means being reliable, trustworthy, and consistent. It involves following through on promises, being there for your partner when they need you, and communicating effectively. This creates a sense of security and fosters trust between partners. It’s important to show up for each other, especially during challenging times, as this strengthens the bond and keeps the relationship stable and healthy.
6. Fight fair
Conflict is common in interpersonal relationships. It merely indicates that you hold different opinions regarding a particular topic; it does not necessarily imply that you dislike one another.
- Cool down before talking. The conversation will be more productive if you have it when your emotions have cooled off a little, so you don’t say something you may regret later.
- Use “I statements.” Share how you feel and what you want without assigning blame or motives. E.g. “When you don’t call me, I start to feel like you don’t care about me” vs. “You never call me when you’re away. I guess I’m the only one who cares about this relationship.”
- Keep your language clear and specific. Try to factually describe behaviour that you are upset with, avoiding criticism and judgment. Attack the problem, not the person.
- Focus on the current issue. The conversation is likely to get bogged down if you pile on everything that bothers you. Avoid using “always” and “never” language and address one issue at a time.
- Take responsibility for mistakes. Apologize if you have done something wrong; it goes a long way toward setting things right again.
- Recognize some problems are not easily solved. There are some disagreements and challenges that cannot be overcome. You are two distinct individuals, each with your own set of values, beliefs, routines, and personalities, which may not always coincide. Although communication can go a long way towards helping people understand each other and addressing concerns, there are some things that have deep roots and may not alter considerably no matter how much you talk about them. It is essential to determine what you are capable of accepting for yourself as well as when a relationship is no longer good for you on your own.
7. Be affirming.
This is not easy, but it is important. The best way to show that you love another person is to affirm him or her in the good and the bad.
8. Keep your life balanced
This includes having good friendships, hobbies, interests and other relationships. It is important to have friendships and interests outside the relationship, too.
9. It’s a process
It might look like everyone around you is happy and connected, but most people share concerns about fitting in and getting along with others. It takes time to meet people and get to know them. Healthy relationships can be learned and practised, and keep getting better.
10. Be yourself!
It’s much easier and more fun to be authentic than to pretend to be something or someone else. Healthy relationships are made of real people.