If you’re an adult, chances are, you’ve been in a toxic relationship.
If you’re like me, you’ve been in more than one. Also like me, you might have never known what a “healthy” relationship looked like.
When we’re teenagers, we have no idea what we are doing—in relationships and otherwise. We are not mentally mature enough to understand the dynamics of romantic relationships. We aren’t sure what we want because we don’t really know ourselves yet. We are led by our brains chasing what feels good because we want more. But, what feels good might not actually be good for us.
The happy romantic relationships we grew up with in movies and TV shows were normally far from the truth. If you asked me now how many of my closest friends are in healthy relationships/marriages, the number would be shockingly low.
I think that when we haven’t been taught what a healthy relationship looks like, we settle for ones that are not good for us. We might continue this pattern for years, or decades, because we simply don’t know any better.
After being in a few toxic relationships in my 20s, I ended up in an unhealthy marriage. It wasn’t until my divorce that I truly understood what a healthy relationship was and what that would look like.
So, what makes a healthy relationship? How do we know? Here are a few things that come to mind:
>> You talk about everything
>> You don’t keep secrets
>> You share the parts of yourself you don’t like
>> You trust each other
>> You support each other
>> You believe in one another
>> You have fun together
>> You respect each other
That last one—respecting each other—might be the most important one of all. I know that in my experience, respect wasn’t being served on both sides and so the relationship was a little lopsided.
Knowledge is power, yes? So, maybe if we start learning more about what is good for us, we might be more likely to search those things out.
Get to know yourself. Get to know your potential partner. Talk and talk and talk. Set healthy boundaries. Discuss goals together. Get comfortable with what a healthy relationship looks like and you both will be more inclined to find it.