Around the web there is post after post about how to know if you’re in a bad relationship.
Or articles that pinpoint what’s not working in a relationship or how to tell if a partner is cheating and on and on.
Most of the time when searching for these kinds of pieces I already knew somewhere deep down that I wasn’t in a “good relationship” and what I was hoping to feel from the articles was validation. I would finish the article and think “see, I knew it.” Somehow these kinds of pieces made being in an unhealthy relationship somewhat okay. They kept me in a state of lack.
What I needed to see though was the other side, the place that showed me what a healthy relationship looked like. As I observed happy couples and how they interacted something stirred inside of me, it wasn’t envy or jealousy, but opportunity.
I thought “hey, that’s what I want to feel too.”
The other side:
1. You look over and smile at your partner.
In the romantic phase of the relationship every time you see your partner you smile, maybe chuckle a bit.
You take in the funny things they do with delight. But as time goes by a lot of what drew you to your partner in the first place may become the exact quality that bothers you now. If you still look at your partner with loving eyes and smile at who they are, then there’s no resentment. No resentment equals happily ever after.
2. When they surprise you with dinner reservations or a concert and you’re actually excited about it.
Imagine you’re in your comfy clothes, ready to keep it a low key night, and your partner comes home or calls you up with a “Hey baby, I made us reservations at the Italian place down the street and then got us tickets to go see the Thermals.”
You look down at your attire then over to your love. Who wouldn’t want to go eat yummy food and listen to music with their sweets? Yes!
3. You want to hang out with them.
A lot of the reason why number two happens is because hanging with your partner is actually fun times.
Sometimes you could be out with your friends having an awesome time and when your partner shows up it just gets better. It gets better, because they’re fun to be with.
If it’s important to be able to laugh at yourself and not take things too seriously when you’re on your own, it’s just as important when in a relationship.
If you can be silly around your partner, make fun of yourself, laugh at yourself and at them then you know it’s on.
Forget screaming fights, not knowing how to make your partner feel better, power struggle or reading his/her mind, because in this relationship there’s talking.
When something doesn’t feel good someone says it and the other person listens and respects it. Each person is direct with their wants and needs making the relationship an open, loving and supportive one.
6. You’re grateful for their presence in your life.
When you see dirty laundry piled on the floor or maybe you can’t stand that they never put the new roll of toilet paper on the holder, you don’t get angry you get grateful.
You think how awesome it is that you have this amazing person in your life to leave laundry on the floor or who leaves the roll balancing there perfectly.
Meeting up with friends and not gossiping about your partner, means that all your needs are being met.
When people ask you how you are, you say things like excited, blissful, wonderful, warm, secure, relaxed, satisfied, radiant and optimistic. And above all else, the last thing you would talk with your friends about is your sex life—somehow that’s now sacred.
8. You take time to do your own thing.
Sometimes you may feel like being alone.
Maybe you want to go to the gym, take a walk, maybe you want to go see a lecture or an exhibition. This feeling is a great one because it means that what lights you up inside isn’t suddenly disappearing because you’re in a relationship. Doing your own thing makes the relationship healthier, because it’s you taking care of your individual needs.
When something good happens in your lovers life there’s no jealousy or envy, there’s only genuine happiness.
You want to celebrate the awesomeness of your partner because they deserve to feel good about their accomplishments.
10. You think before you speak.
After a nine or ten hour work day, your partner comes home exhausted.
All he or she wants to do is veg out. Instead of asking all kinds of questions or reminding him or her about family photos or when should we make a Trader Joe run, you realize that there is likely a better time for this kind of dialogue.
11. You let your partner be who they are and vice versa.
It is important that you can be all the versions of who you are with your partner, knowing that you as you are is enough.
One of the best quotes by motivational speaker Leo Buscaglia is “Don’t smother each other. No one can grow in the shade.”
We all want to be seen and heard and who better to give that to us, than our partner. The more you listen, the more you learn.
Just like there’s a look of love that you give to your partner, there’s also an embrace.
Hugging without pulling away or even laying together on the couch with arms around one another is relaxing instead of stressful.
14. You don’t put your partner in a box.
Going out to dinner, your partner always orders similar dishes, but then one night he or she asks for something completely different. Instead of saying something like “But you don’t like fish” you smile. You smile because he or she may not have liked fish yesterday but that doesn’t mean anything.
15. You let your partner love you.
You let your partner tell you they love you; you accept a compliment or a gift. You say yes to love because you know you deserve it.
Whenever I look over the above, it reminds me that relationships are supposed to feel good. And the more I have that notion running around in my head, the more likely I am to not only strive to be in a feel-good relationship, but let myself.
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Assist Ed: Gabriela Magana/Ed: Sara Crolick
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