For many people, part of life is learning to navigate our many social relationships. Beyond romantic ones, we have to maintain relationships with friends, families, communities, support networks, classmates, professors, coworkers, organizations we work with, and so on. This space will be used to post about relationships and how to interact with the many people in our lives in a healthy way.
The following are guidelines, edited slightly, from HealthyPlace.com (November 2008) for a healthy relationship with a partner:
- Love yourself first. Do not expect anyone to be responsible for your happiness.
- Respect the differences between you and your partner. Make and keep clear agreements and then commit to it.
- Use communication to establish a common ground. 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. 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. 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.
- Do not do anything for your partner if it comes with an expectation of reciprocation. Keeping score in a relationship will never work:
- Forgive one another. 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 behavior and attitudes, especially attitudes towards money. Make sure you don't expect your partner to fulfill every need in your life. One person cannot be everything to you.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Spend some quality time together.