In today’s society, we see all types of couples on social media and television; and most of us are holding them to the standards of #Relationshipgoals. Some have been together for a while and others for two hot seconds. We have a tendency to praise these unions or relationships because of the status of the partners or what they stand for and not for the QUALITY of the relationship as a whole. Money, fame and material things don’t equate to a happy relationship and aren’t even a measure of love. One can have all the money and things that come along with it and still be extremely unhappy with themselves and in their relationship.
I always say, “In today’s society we’re quick to get physically naked, but not so quick to get emotionally naked.” Could you imagine how different relationships would be if people went into them with the intention to be authentic, leave their imposters behind and honesty was the norm?
Many know what the characteristics of an unhealthy relationship are all too well but have no clue what it’s like to be in a healthy relationship. This lends the slightest idea of what it would be like to experience one. I intend to break down three signs that you’re in a healthy relationship to provide more insight into the characteristics, expectations, and behaviors that will be present.
Communication is the number one ingredient in any healthy relationship and often affects other areas of your life such as finances, intimacy, conflict resolution, parenting/family planning and more. Healthy communication with your partner leads to vulnerability and, ultimately, amazing connection. This includes the ability to be open about your feelings, wants, and desires. Being able to respect your partner’s point of view and opinion, even if you don’t always agree, will lead to it not turning into a fight or huge argument. Remember, all involved want to feel heard and understood. Checking in with your partner nightly, weekly and monthly really helps you stay on the same page and facilitates transparency. If you tried these things and still find it difficult to navigate communication with your partner, you may want to seek a professional to help.
Simply put, being in a relationship doesn’t mean you disappear. Yes, things have to change and balance is necessary, but you as an individual person still exists. Autonomy means I have my likes, dislikes, friends, and things that I enjoy. You have your likes, dislikes, friends, and things that you enjoy doing and we have the things that we like to do together, mutual friends, rituals or traditions that we share together. It’s essential that you’re able to have “me” time so that you can have a break from your partner. I don’t care how much you love your partner, you’re going to want some time apart to breathe, reflect and just be. This time apart isn’t a punishment or a deficit. It helps create balance in the relationship and creates the “miss you factor” for couples that live together on a consistent basis. Some create this autonomy by having a “ladies night or man outings,” while others go a bit further and have “girls’ trips or guy getaways.” Only you and your partner can determine what will work best for you. It is recommended that both partner’s needs are taken into consideration when planning out the time apart, but also remember to keep the relationship a priority and make quality time for one another.
If you’re in a relationship and feel that you aren’t “allowed” to spend time alone or with non-shared friends, you are in need of an autonomy makeover. This could be what saves this relationship or restores happiness within this partnership.
In-to-me-I-see. This word has various meanings depending on whom you ask, but for the most part, it’s often confused or tied to sex. You can have intimacy without sex, just like you can have sex without intimacy. Intimacy is the closeness, bond, and connection that one has with another or others. In a healthy relationship, this could look like affection, enjoying each other’s presence, kissing, hugging, touching, cuddling, flirting, foreplay and other things that may or may not end in the act of intercourse. Intimacy makes for a “like” factor in a relationship as well. It’s great to have a strong friendship and foundation in your relationship. The possibilities are endless.
There are more things that solidify a healthy relationship and there is no one-size-fits-all checklist to determine if your relationship is healthy or not. These three things are a good way to see where you are in your current relationship or what these things looked like in previous relationships. If you need help improving your relationship, there are tons of resources out there and therapists that would love to assist you as well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chasity Chandler, LMHC, MCAP, ICADC, CST, CDWF
Owner/ Licensed Clinician/Certified Sex Therapist/Speaker/Author/Authenticity Coach, Center for Sexual Health & Wellness, LLC
772-208-7834 | Fax 772-607-5295 | [email protected]