Lauryn Hill sang, “It could all be so simple, but you’d rather make it hard,” on her hit song “Ex-Factor.” The line echoes with an act that a lot of us are guilty of: complicating our romantic relationships by taking the effort and maintenance required to foster a healthy relationship for granted. Many of us, particularly when we are young think that relationships are supposed to be easy. We’re under this false illusion that you just lay eyes on each other, fall in love, decide to be together, and that’s it!
And when things get hard, we take it as a sign that maybe this isn’t the right relationship or the right person for us and we quit instead of putting our best foot forward. This type of attitude is akin to planting a seed, allowing the flower to bloom, and letting it wither and die. The key towards knowing how to be in a healthy relationship is recognizing that they require work.
There are no shortcuts. Also, this effort cannot be a one-time, one-and-done type of thing. It requires long-term, sustained attention. The key is breaking it down in chunks and doing a little everyday so that it pays dividends in the end. If you’re looking to learn how to be in a healthy relationship and maintain a never-ending, concerted effort, we cover the why’s, do’s and don’ts below.
How to be in a healthy relationship : why it’s important
There’s really no point in not being in a healthy relationship. Sure, one could come up with bogus reasons to justify it, like not wanting to be alone, proving to your friends and family you can have a boyfriend/girlfriend and have a relationship (regardless of the quality), having someone to have consistent sex with, etc. etc. However, at the end of the day, one must accept the outcomes of tolerating a subpar relationship once it ends, and when it dies, the only victims are either the relationship itself, or you. Surely, no one wants that, unless they’re a masochist.
And if you’re doing it to just pass the time until something or someone better comes along, then you’re literally just wasting time, yours and that of your current partner, and you will eventually tell yourself, “I want a healthy relationship.” So in that sense, not having a healthy relationship is just a waste of your time and your energy. And all for what? Because you didn’t feel like making an effort?
There are more pros than cons to being in a healthy relationship. All that is required is minimal, daily effort. Also, the wonderful thing about relationship is that when you give to it, provided you’re with the right person, it gives back. You learn to be selfless and care about things more important than yourself, which becomes important when deciding to have and raise children.
Fostering a healthy relationship and a healthy dynamic also adds longevity, joy and meaning to your life. It’s been scientifically proven that these type of societal bonds – the ones that we choose to be in, as opposed to the ones we are born into – help us live longer lives, reduce stress, and improve overall mental, emotional, and physical health through the enjoyable experiences and bonds we create with our romantic partner.
The more you practice being in a healthy relationship, the more you learn about yourself, and what you expect out of yourself, your partner, and life in general. Healthy relationships simply teach you how to be a better, well-rounded individual, by teaching you kindness, selflessness and allowing you to practice giving and receiving love.
If you happen to be lucky enough to have your boyfriend or girlfriend want to stick around for the long run, then you’ve successfully avoided the risk of ending up old and alone. But if none of this resonates with you, then just do it for the sex… all the consistent, unlimited sex you will be having with someone you love and are extremely attracted to! If there’s ever a reason to motivate you to say, “I want a healthy relationship,” this would be it!
Good healthy relationship : Do not believe Hollywood !
But I can’t blame people for not knowing how to be in a healthy relationship or having misguided or unreasonable expectations of what it means to build a healthy relationship. In the age of unlimited, unrestricted, unfettered mass media, Hollywood, advertisers, and the entire media-industrial complex has their grubby fingers keeping us plugged into “The Matrix,” preventing us from learning for ourselves how to have a normal relationship.
Don’t believe everything that Hollywood places in front of you! The TV and movie industries don’t care about the societal ramifications of the stories they tell, the images the create, the pictures they paint, or the expectations they place on us. All they care about is MONEY and not what should a healthy relationship be like. And they will sell you anything to acquire it.
Art – from film to music to literature – can be created and interpreted in many different ways. With so much content created, there are many mixed messages that fall under the most general themes of love and relationships portrayed by Hollywood. But these stories are usually told, either, by a man, or from a man’s perspective. Hollywood and media companies in general are run by men, creatures whose driving force is, for the most part, sex, not how to be in a healthy relationship. Sex sells. Drama sells. Conflict sells.
How to have a normal relationship doesn’t sell as much. are we to know what a healthy relationship looks like when these are the things Hollywood prioritizes to sell us, while at the same time dumbing down or ignoring the nuances of relationships, their ups and downs, the in betweens, and how you go from bad to good.
It’s not the survival of the defining moments that prove what should a healthy relationship be like. It’s the daily expressions of genuine affection, care, and well-being and the commitment to work through issues before quitting that make for a healthy relationship. But if you don’t believe me, you are going to have to find out for yourself with your own relationship, regardless of what you watch on TV or read on the internet.
What makes a healthy relationship : 5 tips from a professional
When we coach clients, we give them the tools they need to rebuild a healthy relationship with themselves, as well as show them what a healthy relationship is. Part of our coaching also includes tips on how to STAY together happily, towards building a healthy relationship. Here are just five tips that will set the foundations for that healthy relationship you’ve always wanted:
1/ Communication is the key !
Praise each other through expressions of attraction, appreciation, gratitude, engagement, and encouragement. It doesn’t require moving Heaven and Earth to tell your significant other that dinner was delicious, or that the new haircut is a good look, or that their time at the gym is starting to pay off, or that you love the way they smell particularly good that day.
It doesn’t stop the day in its tracks to tell your lover “Thank you” for that time you were having a really hard day and he or she listened to your woes. And it doesn’t take much to walk up to your boyfriend or girlfriend, give them a kiss and a squeeze, and say “I love you.”
2/ Think about your partner to be in a healthy relathionship
Empty out the dishwasher before the chef gets home to make something for dinner. Pick up some flowers or a bottle of wine before one of you accuses the other of slacking on the romance. Call the mother-in-law before she gets a chance to say how you don’t value the relationship. Plan a date before she asks you to.
Preemptive strikes are a sure fire way to keep your boyfriend or girlfriend happy and show them that you’re always thinking about what they want or need. They don’t even have to ask.
3/ You need to talk but you also need to listen !
This should be obvious, but… Listen, Listen, Listen. What’s a healthy relationship if you can’t effectively listen to each other? And do not interrupt just because you think whatever you have to say is more important than what your boyfriend or girlfriend is saying.
If you’re going to interrupt, make sure its just to clear up any confusion because you mixed up some facts of the story. At least it’ll show that you’re listening. Conversely, don’t blab on and on either. Remember that it’s a two way street.
4/ You have to respect his/hers decision
Do not coddle or infantilize the person with whom you’re in a relationship. Remember that they are their own person and just because they are with you, it doesn’t mean they have to be like you, do the things you would do, or think how you think.
When we care deeply about someone, we do anything in our power to protect them and keep them safe. But, we have to remember that their decision making processes aren’t ours. And we can’t forget her or she is still his or her own person, even if they are in a relationship with you.
5/ Talk about your problems
Always remember to keep the shelf clean. Having a healthy relationshipis not letting the junk pertaining to your relationship accumulate because you got too lazy to address it and put it away. If you have a fight, try not to go to bed angry. If you have a disagreement, settle it as soon as possible.
If there’s an opportunity for either one of you to realize you have the emotional maturity to say, “I can let this go” then just move on. Remember to never keep things inside, don’t let animosity sit on your shelf festering away at your relationship. Remember to keep the shelf clean.
You would only be doing your boyfriend or girlfriend and yourself a favor by encouraging and fostering a healthy relationship. Why do something if you’re not going to be 100% in? A healthy relationship is the only one worth having. They allow you and your partner to grow together into this unit you two have created.
And when you and your partner show off your healthy relationship, you will serve as an example for your peers. Whenever they go through relationship issues, they will come to you for advice on how to handle it. In the long run, you will also be serving as an example for your children so they themselves will know what’s a healthy relationship.
Your Love Epert