A sex ed blog with more
Here is a list of some ways you can tell if you’re in a healthy relationship, ways to ensure that you have one and how to maintain it. There are plenty more, of course, but I think these are important.
1) The 3 most important things in a healthy relationship:
2) Sometimes relationships can end. Not because there isn’t enough love, but because it isn’t right and doesn’t work. When that’s the case, you’ll know – you can tell. Love isn’t always enough.
3) Compromise and change are natural, healthy and necessary. Compromise is often seen as negative, but it should be mutually beneficial and thus a wonderfully positive thing.
4) Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is empowering, liberating, and terrifying … but it allows us to be closer to those we are opening up to. It also shows considerable strength. Check out this stellar TED talk by Brené Brown or the one she did before it
5) Communication! If you talk about things, you will have fewer fights. Having a calm, honest discussion is far easier and more productive than an argument with lots of yelling. Hurt feelings can lead to anxiety, resentment and dishonesty. It can be intimidating to start difficult conversations, so try using topics you’ve read about or seen on TV. For example: I read an article about [insert relevant topic] yesterday. What are your thoughts?
6) People are not mind readers; be sure to communicate your needs in a nice way. A partner may not get it right away, but they’re far more likely to remember because they want to make you happy.
7) If independence is important to you, a healthy relationship will allow you to maintain your independence while giving you a soft place to land. My current partner allows me to be me while still taking care of me. For me, that’s key.
8) If maintaining independence is important, ensure that you each have stuff you like to do on your own aka have lives outside of each other. Have your own friends, your own activities; do things on your time off without a partner.
9) The only times you should ask for permission to do something are:
• You have a D/s relationship
• It’s roleplay
• You would like to use or borrow something
• You want to change your plans
Asking a partner’s opinion or preference is not the same as asking permission. If you are equals, and I sincerely hope you are, the need for permission granting will be rare.
10) Appreciation: acknowledge/thank/be grateful when a partner does things – not necessarily just for you. If you’ve spent the day cooking and cleaning, and a partner says nothing, you’d likely be disappointed, upset, or maybe even angry. Be sure a partner knows when you appreciate them. Little things make a big difference.
11) Planning dates everyone will enjoy is really important, especially if you live together. Get out there; have fun hanging out with each other. Staying in touch with why you like the person will keep your relationship strong and healthy.
12) When you ask a partner if he/she wants to do something, be willing to accept (gracefully) that the answer may be ‘no’. Using guilt will lead to resentment, which could end the relationship.
13) A healthy relationship does not involve one partner pressuring another to have sex or try new things in the bedroom. That does not mean that asking is problematic. Ask away! Just make sure that saying no is acceptable and appreciated.
14) A healthy relationship, be it romantic or not, is meant to make you feel good, welcome, and happy. Major bonus if you want to be better (whatever that might mean for you) for/because of your partner. A common exchange I hear: ‘You’re amazing!’ ‘I want to be amazing for you.’ Cute!
15) Humans are creatures of habit. Be careful that your habits and routines don’t mean/allow you to be “stuck in a rut.”
16) Before kids enter the picture, and some will say after, priorities should be:
• Your partner(s)
Interpret how you wish.
17) Chances are you’re going to be exposed to things a partner is passionate about. This is a good thing; remember that you don’t have to like cars because a partner does but be open to gaining an interest.
18) Support healthy passions. A healthy relationship is full of support for healthy dreams and passions.
19) If you need to talk to someone, pro or not, to better understand and cope with difficulties in your relationship, that’s okay. Personally, I think we should all be talking to professionals regularly to figure our shit out. Let’s face it, none of our friends want to hear us constantly complain about the same things. Talk about repetition.
NB: I am not saying that the things that we deal with are not important, simply that our friends are aware after we’ve told them the first time – and hopefully they check in on occasion.
20) If you’re in a healthy relationship, you will smile when you think about a partner.
A great book about relationships is Opening Up, by Tristan Taormino. It’s absolutely about open relationships, though it talks about healthy relationships and gives great insight into all relationships.