Whether you’re a teenager who’s just starting to date or you’ve been married to the same person for 40 years, it’s natural to want a healthy relationship that leads to greater happiness and less stress. If the relationship you’re in is not harmonious, it’s possible you’re going through a rocky period that could lead to a breakup or divorce.
The following tips are designed to help you nurture a healthy relationship or mend one that’s experiencing unsteady times.
When two people like each other, they typically want to share what’s happening in their daily lives—both the good and the bad. You should feel comfortable talking about serious issues and concerns without fear of being judged. And you should be able to share fun and lighthearted moments as well. This not only helps alleviate stress, but it strengthens the bond between the two of you—one that will be there when times get tough.
Maintain your own interests
In any romantic relationship, it’s important to have friends and a life outside the relationship. You are a unique individual, and it’s critical to maintain your own identity. No one should have to sacrifice the things they love for another person. That means it’s okay—even healthy—to spend time apart pursuing your own interests and getting together with others.
Trust one another
A relationship void of trust is likely to end up in disaster. You should feel safe with your partner and never have to worry about being physically or mentally hurt. You should be allowed to make your own choices and live your life the way you want to live it. Keep in mind that a healthy relationship means you want the best for each other. When your relationship is strong and trustworthy, neither of you should have to worry about what takes place when you’re apart.
Signs of a troubled relationship
While occasional disagreements are likely to occur in any relationship, what really matters is how you address those conflicts. Couples who talk openly and respectfully and work toward a compromise will fare better than those who are angry and spiteful. Even if you don’t openly argue, there may be other reasons your relationship is struggling. Here are some warning signs to be aware of:
- One or both of you is avoiding the other, or you just naturally drift apart
- One person tends to say mean things and is generally not supportive
- One person tries to control or change the other person
- One person tries to pressure the other person into doing something that makes that person uncomfortable
- One person doesn’t feel like they’re being heard or that their opinion matters
- Communication between the two of you starts to wane or becomes nearly nonexistent
- Disagreements become more frequent, and it’s harder to agree on a solution
Remember, it’s normal to experience some challenges in your relationship. But if these problems become overwhelming, occur too frequently, or you have trouble finding resolution, it may be time to speak with a professional counselor.
Dr. David Lowenstein is a Columbus, Ohio-based psychologist with more than 35 years of experience. He conducts individual, family, and group therapy sessions in his German Village office and also via telehealth. Dr. Lowenstein is also available for expert forensic testimony, and for educational workshops and presentations. He is frequently called upon as an expert source for print, radio, and broadcast media. Contact Dr. Lowenstein at Lowenstein & Associates, 691 South Fifth Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43206, or call 614.443.6155 or 614.444.0432.