Does your relationship have what it takes to go the distance?
A healthy, loving relationship isn’t about knowing every single thing about the other person, especially about their past sexual relationships. It also isn’t about becoming the same person or being inseparable. A healthy, loving relationship is however about being committed to supporting, caring and loving the other person.
Tahnee Clark, Lysn online psychology services Head of Clinical provides us with 10 questions that you should ask yourself or your partner that will help reveal if your relationship is good for you.
Do we bring the best out of each other?
Often what we want and what we really need are not aligned. It’s common to chase attributes that are exciting or familiar as opposed to characteristics that will balance or challenge us. But you’ll know it’s right when you feel it.
The right person will bring the best out of you in ways you hadn’t imagined. They’ll add to your feeling worth and value. They’ll hold you accountable to your actions without harsh judgement. They’ll create space for you to make mistakes, reflect and amend. You’ll find yourself being the best version of yourself, and vice versa.
Do we have the same foundational values?
Sure, you might enjoy spending time with your partner, be attracted to them, admire their career and lifestyle, but are your morals, values and life goals aligned?
Understanding this early on can save a lot of torment down the line. Take the time to consider if you are both in agreement on what’s truly important to you, and whilst you might not always agree on everything, there has to be a level of understanding or commitment where these values are concerned.
For example, do you both appreciate common courtesy to others? Do you both have good work ethic? If having a family is a life goal of yours, make sure that’s something your partner wants in the future too. Or perhaps it’s a goal for your partner to spend time living overseas, so you’ll both need to know if this is something you’d consider in the future too.
For many, trust and honesty can be the foundation of a successful relationship. Do you have a general sense of trust your partner, and do they represent trust in return? Similarly, ask yourself if you can be open and honest with your partner, without judgement or fear of their response.
Do we have each other’s back?
Having each other’s back doesn’t mean blindly agreeing with each other even when you know they are wrong. You can still be loyal to someone while holding them accountable; this is how you help each other grow.
Having each other’s back is about always wanting the best for one another, and keeping your partner in the front of your mind in all the actions you take.
This means truly listening to each other, talking things though, continuously learning and exploring each other’s heart and desires, holding them when they’re hurting, sitting with their pain and acknowledging their feelings and helping them find solutions when they’re stuck.
Do we treat each other as precious and important?
You can replace your possessions like your clothes, car or even your house, but a relationship made to last is built on honour for one another. There is only one of you and one of them. People who treat their partner as precious and important build deep bonds of respect, fun and love.
This deep bond activates the release of oxytocin in our bodies which allow the relationship to strengthen. Oxytocin also increases generosity, confidence and self-worth. It also reduces fear and anxiety, physical pain, improves mood, and increases pleasure! WOW! Get me some of that loving!
Do we listen to each other, gain an understanding of what upsets them and try to improve?
Being honest is one thing, but do you really communicate effectively with each other? Communication is not about convincing the other person that you’re right. It’s about making them feel understood in order for them to understand you.
Having open and honest conversations with your partner can enable you both to successfully navigate life together. Ensure that you’re both able to see each other’s perspectives and at times, put yourself in the other person’s shoes to really understand how they feel and how things might be affecting them.
Do they create space for me to be me and do things that are important to me? And vice versa?
Everyone has their flaws and that’s what makes us unique (and sometimes endearing)! Do you choose your battels and know what’s truly important? A healthy relationship doesn’t try to intimidate of play a power game with the other person.
Sure, everyone could do with improvements, and great relationships allow mutual desire and space for growth, but neither of you should be a project. You don’t want to be in a relationship with the expectation of who someone could be, instead of being in a relationship with who they truly are.
Do we make each other feel secure and connected, whilst also independent?
A healthy relationship doesn’t play the game of wondering if that person wants to be with you or will leave when something better comes along. Similarly, we shouldn’t feel that we own or are entitled to our partners love. Love is something that should be honoured and respected both ways. A healthy relationship shows care and commitment in the things that are said and actioned on a day to day basis.
When we feel secure, we are more likely to be able to spread our wings and maintain other aspects of what makes each other who you are. You fell in love with each other for you who were. It can be hard to love ourselves, or be loved by another if we lose who we are in the relationships. Independence and a sense of self needs to be maintained.
Are they like a good friend?
Whilst your partner doesn’t have to be your only friend, they really should be up there as one of your good friends. Think about whether you both choose to spend a lot of time together and if you’re comfortable spending time with them in that way.
Friendship is incredibly important in a relationship as it gives you both the opportunity to truly get to know the person for who he or she is. Being friends enables you to learn things about the other person that you might not have learned without that close friendship connection.
Do you share the good or bad news with each other?
Ideally your partner will act like your confidant, a person you can turn to with exciting news, or port in the storm when things might not be going your way. Ask yourself if they are that person, for both good and bad news (not just the good)! When life gets difficult, you do need your partner to be there to lean on for support.
Do you celebrate each other’s success?
This has to go both ways without any envy or jealousy. Ask yourself if you are happy to celebrate your partner’s success and if they do yours. He may be into catching waves in the surf and you may be into your science degree. It doesn’t matter if different things make you both tick. The key is that you get that it’s important to the other person and you feel their joy and celebrate it with them.
The same goes with things you might both value. It’s not about who earns the most or gets the highest promotion. It’s about lifting each other up. As a couple, you’re both winners.