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We all seek them, but not all of us know how to create them. Most times, a happy relationship seems to be so elusive, so arduous, that we lose hope and put it on our clearly-not-happening list.
But healthy, happy relationships don’t have to be so elusive, really. They take work, yes. They need nurturance, absolutely. But most importantly, they need a fresh perspective, constantly.
Most of our relationships fail because we fail to look at them properly. We focus on the big things that we lose sight of the small, more important, more meaningful things.
We all want and desire a partner who’s attractive, intelligent, ambitious, funny, and respectful. We all crave a partner with whom we can create timeless intimacy and connection. We want that one person who chooses us, who never leaves our side, and who promises us the world.
All of these qualities (and many more) are wonderful and are arguably needed in our relationships so they can flourish and grow. But, oftentimes, we overlook other qualities that also make our relationships special and transform our partners into exceptional beings who may, in fact, never let us down.
Here are the top seven qualities that are too underrated in our relationships:
1. They don’t overcompensate. We’ve been told that if someone really loves us, they need to go above and beyond to meet our needs. I think this isn’t true. A healthy, emotionally balanced partner doesn’t always overcompensate. Yes, they might sometimes, and it would be extremely sweet, but when they don’t, we might need to revisit the way we see it. Overcompensation is sometimes rooted in a fear of insecurity or abandonment, and if it’s a quality that we need our partner to have, we might be the ones who are struggling with low self-esteem or abandonment issues.
2. They learn. Relationships are filled with mistakes and flaws, and it’s completely normal. But what makes them beautiful and unusual is how much we are capable of learning from what went awry. We often overlook improvement, and we should never forget how crucial it is. A healthy relationship means two people who are constantly improving and learning from their mistakes. Your partner is committed to you, but they’re also committed to the growth of the relationship they have with you.
3. They’re kind. This quality might be a no-brainer, but we often forget to appreciate it. With time, and because we see our partner on (almost) a daily basis, we forget to treat them with kindness. They become too familiar, too known, too predictable. So a simple “thank you,” “how are you feeling?” or “how can I help?” goes a long way.
4. They’re trustworthy. After so many failed relationships that brought the worst in me, I know how it feels to sleep at night worried and anxious about your partner’s whereabouts. With so much available within the snap of a finger, trust in modern relationships has become somewhat impossible to achieve. Consequently, if your partner is trustworthy, remember it’s a quality that’s not easy to find these days.
5. They welcome change. A partner who welcomes change and new situations with an open heart is a blessing. Like the Buddha said, impermanence and change are always possible and we can’t escape them. When we adapt to new situations and new ideas, we have the opportunity to grow and learn from what has disappeared.
6. They let you be yourself. We all know how hard it is to be in a destructive relationship that’s ripping our identity and taking away our most valued ideas, opinions, dreams, and purposes. We underestimate the importance of being with someone who gives space to who we really are, who let us be our utmost self, without limits or boundaries.
7. They’re comfortable talking about difficult and vulnerable issues. Because relationships involve two people who constantly feel emotionally exposed, there will undeniably be difficult situations and events that should be discussed and handled. A lot of relationships fail when one (or two) partner shuts down or blocks the other. Being vulnerable and communicative is a quality we’ve been forgetting to value.
There are many other qualities that make exceptional relationships, but we are often distracted, chasing behind the big ones. Let’s start looking at the small gestures and characteristics that speak louder than any mainstream ideas we might have about love.