7 Things That Don’t Exist In A Healthy Relationship
“A healthy relationship will never require you to sacrifice your friends, your dreams, or your dignity.” — Dinkar Kalotra
Relationships are tricky, complex, and unique from one to the next. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether or not your emotional and mental energy is being put into the right relationship and oftentimes, we wait until it feels “too late” to make a decision. Below are seven habits that simply do not exist in a healthy relationship (of any kind).
Communicating negative opinions of the other person’s family
We all know that a part of building a relationship is opening up about the people that helped bring you to the place you are today — oftentimes meaning your family. While it is okay to speak openly with your partner about the relationship you have with your parents, your siblings, and other members of your family that has helped shape the person that you are, it is never okay to share your own opinions when they are negative. A part of choosing to open up is the silent understanding that only the person who is a part of the family has the right to vent about these relatives. If your partner chooses to express frustration related to a certain member of their family, it is not your responsibility to retort but to instead appreciate their willingness to be open and continue keeping your negative opinion to yourself. And let’s be honest, no one wants someone else speaking poorly about their loved ones and opening up is not intended to provide the other person with ammunition the next time you feel like going on a rant about something your sister or parent did to piss you off.
Pretending to like all of the same things
The phrase, ‘opposites attract’ is hardly bullsh*t. In fact, it can be the most promising dynamic when it comes to keeping things interesting. Some of the most successful relationships are those that have both balance and individual interests. Sure, it is important to have things you can enjoy doing together; however, when you need space and personal time, it’s nice to have individual crafts or activities that you can do to achieve fulfillment for yourself before returning to common ground. Pretending you are into the same things your partner is for the sheer purpose of avoiding potential conflict is going to bring the opposite to reality.
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To build off of the previous point, relationships do not require you to be on the same page about everything in order to be successful. Contrarily, by having separate opinions and beliefs, you can sometimes find even more value in the relationship through respectful disagreement. If it isn’t a topic that is detrimental to the relationship when on opposing ends of the issue, then it shouldn’t become the subject of your next fight. Perhaps even finding mutual agreement in the decision to table conversations related to specific subjects indefinitely could be a necessary approach. If it doesn’t hold relevance to the relationship and it doesn’t have the potential to impact future decisions you make as a couple, then it doesn’t have to be given a place in your dialogue.
Giving up time with friends and family
This is a huge point that many of us lose sight of during the ‘honeymoon phase.’ We have all done it: we get into a new relationship, become infatuated with everything it has the potential to be, and we replace every opportunity we have to reengage with loved ones with more time to dedicate to our significant other. Although genuine friendships and familial relationships will not allow this to hinder the opportunity to reconnect in the future, it can begin to leave a bad taste in the mouth of those who experience this regularly. It is important that you recognize the people your partner holds near to their heart from the moment they enter your life so you can then encourage those relationships to be nurtured just as you want yours to be. Not to mention, in doing so, you can easily use this as an opportunity to explain why continuing to have dinner with your girlfriends or watching the game with your boys is important and doesn’t have to mean they value time with you any less. Time apart can only make you appreciate the time you are together even more so give yourself the chance to miss each other.
Abandoning individual dreams
We have all heard at least one story in our life where someone brought the fulfillment of their dreams to a screeching halt in order to allow their partner the chance to live out theirs. Why does it have to be an ‘either/or’ and how on Earth are you to decide which is most deserving of priority? The secret is — you don’t. You both find ways to accommodate the necessary actions to achieve your goals and you use each other’s growth as the catalyst for success. Whoever you choose to be your partner should be made aware of the things that make you tick, where you see yourself in 10 years, and how you plan on getting there. If all of that stops the moment you slap a title on the relationship, then it is only a matter of time before issues begin to arise and resentment begins to set in. Your partner fell in love with the ‘dreamer’ and the ‘go-getter,’ not the ‘excuse maker’ or the ‘complacency in mediocrity’ version of you that will inevitably come to be if neither of you is continuing to engage in the things that will make your dreams a reality.
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The unwillingness to apologize
There is an art to accepting an apology one never received and many of us can attest to the truth within that statement. The truth is not everyone has it in them to admit their wrongdoings while in a relationship. This is the reason why one of you has to be the bigger person when sh*t hits the fan, even it it means recognizing the relationship might have a few broken parts that need mending — or, it could mean the relationship has run its course. Either way, a healthy relationship will include the willingness to apologize. If you have done something wrong or caused your partner heartache, whether it is intentional or not, it is important you recognize the moment as an opportunity to provide an apology and one that is as specific as possible. “I am sorry that I _______ and I recognize that it has caused you to feel ________. Please know that it was not my intention to make you feel _______ and I will make sure to ________ going forward so as to mitigate the risk of making you feel this way again. I sincerely apologize for my actions/words.”
We should have retired this habit back in grade school, yet for some reason, many of us find ourselves giving into the heat of a moment and scrambling for the most hurtful title to give to the person we love the most. Why is that? Because we know it will get a reaction out of them. Both the approach and the reason are entirely wrong and yet we continue to do it. When a relationship is rooted in genuineness and respect, it becomes nearly impossible to use the trigger words and names you know will cause the most emotional damage (not to mention detriment to the relationship). Above all, it demonstrates a tremendous lack of respect and the absence of name-calling should be a non-negotiable if you wish to maintain a healthy relationship.