While the early stages of a new relationship seem fresh and exciting, it is important for both partners to set Healthy Relationships patterns to establish a strong foundation upon which to build.
In the Beginning
– Build the all-important foundation of respect and mutual appreciation. Focus your energy on the small opportunities you have to appreciate the considerate things your partner does for you. Always be sure to thank them for even the little things, and try to ignore little mistakes.
– Explore what your partner likes and dislikes doing. Having a lengthy list of mutual interests can give you a lot of things to do together, and enable you both to expand on mutual interests.
– Be sure to apologize if you hurt your partner’s feelings or make a mistake. Apologizing will help to heal the rift in your relationship, and also help your partner to trust you more if you take responsibility for what you do or say.
As Time Goes By
Realize that relationships change, and that it is an inevitable part of life. Understand that changes in each of your lives can affect what you each need from the relationship, and welcome the changes as opportunities to make your relationship better.
Occasionally set aside some time for a heart to heart talk about what you each want and expect from the relationship to be sure that you’re both on the same page. Ignoring things that are difficult to talk about can lead to serious communication issues quickly and cause more severe problems.
Do not fall into the trap of feeling that you should never disagree about anything. Differences are normal, and discussing them and constructively addressing them will actually make your relationship stronger. Inevitably, there will be times of tension, anger, or even sadness between the two of you. These problems can often be caused by communication problems or unresolved issues. Resolving these issues requires honest communications and trying to understand your partner’s point of view, no matter how different that is from your own.
Healthy Relationships in Dating
Healthy communication is probably the key to success in most relationships, and these guidelines might help:
- Understand how each family handled communication and conflict, and openly discuss this with each other. If you decide that one, or both, of the families was not good at resolving conflict without inflicting pain on others involved, decide together to break that pattern and lovingly handle your differences.
- Sometimes, it is best to allow some time to cool off before addressing a problem. Let “cooler heads prevail” in that you’ll both have time to think things through, understand the outcome that you want, and avoid saying hurtful things in the heat of the moment. After some time to cool off, you’ll be better able to articulate what changes you feel are most important.
- Let your partner be himself or herself, and emotionally support them. Accept their differences and don’t expect them to only act in ways that you feel are appropriate. People show their love and respect in different ways, and being open to accepting that love, in whatever form, is key to a healthy relationship.
- Sometimes there are issues which you cannot agree on, no matter how much you talk it through. Instead of constantly having the same battle, try to compromise or find another way to avoid the issue. Agreeing to disagree can sometimes be a solution, as long as you’ve talked the issue through and not just ignored it.
- Being a great listener can go a long way towards a healthy relationship. Your partner will know that you care and prevent miscommunications that can end in a fight. Don’t interrupt when they are talking, really focus on them and not on your own response, and verify what they say. It is often wise to parrot back what they said, to ensure your reception was that they intended. “I think you mean….”
- Bite your tongue. Research and experience tell us that couples who do not say all the mean and angry things they’re thinking are usually happiest.
- Make it a “win-win” situation. Always think of how you can make the relationship better, not how you can “win” the argument.
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