When you are first entering new relationship or evening in the dating phase, everything seems perfect – it seems as though nothing could go wrong. As you get to know your partner, you may find that not everything is as it appears on the surface. What you found attractive at the beginning of your relationship may feel irritating. Your partner’s possessiveness over you may seem toxic instead of heartwarming.
In any healthy relationship, it is essential to set boundaries. Ultimately, you need to remember that you are still your own person, and a relationship should not take that away from you. Here are some tips for developing and cultivating a healthy and happy relationship.
One of the key features of a healthy relationship is respect. Whoever your partner is, it is crucial that you treat each other with the respect you both deserve. Respect their rights, autonomy, privacy, opinions, and their entirety. Conflicts are extremely common in relationships – however, that should not mean that you treat each other with disrespect. As adults, you should always treat your partner the way you want to be treated.
As mentioned before, a good relationship will always have clear boundaries. Boundaries do not mean that you close yourself off to the other person. In reality, boundaries refer to your expectations for yourself and other people. Clearly defining your boundaries with your partner will allow you to cater to each other’s needs and desires more effectively. It also allows mutual respect to develop between people. Boundaries may include but are not limited to not being available for each other 24/7, not exposing them to their family, or texting back minutes within receiving a message. No boundary is too minor or too big – they are there to foster your relationship, not hinder it.
Unfortunately, talking about consent is still a fairly alien concept to some people. No matter how much you love your partner, having a deep conversation about consent is essential for a healthy relationship. Both of you need to be on the same page regarding romantic activities, particularly sexual ones. At this point, it is important not to make assumptions – explicitly talking about it clears away any misunderstandings and issues that may arise because of this. It fosters trust and respect within the relationship.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be attached to your partner at the hip at all times. If your partner is overly possessive about your time and refuses to let you spend time with other people, that is a red flag. The two of you should not be that dependent or controlling of one another. You must give each other the space to be alone. Sometimes, instead of having someone breathing down your neck, all you need is a couple of minutes alone to compose yourself. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to spend time with them, recognize that sometimes, they will need their own space, as you would yours.
These are just some of the ways that identify the keys to having a healthy relationship. Explore more ways more deeply with your therapist or coach. Having a healthy and loving relationship is possible for you and should be something that you expect.