Love is said to make you blind, and as clichéd, as it may sound, many will attest to this. When in love, you lose your ability to think, your sense of time, your cognitive skills, and all you see is the rosy sky, rosy trees, rosy sunsets, rosy peas, and what not! During the high tide of love, the world is nothing but beautiful picturesque scenery, and you are overwhelmed with joy at the thought of your lover thinking, “Wow, am I in a dream? Is this really happening?!”
However, as the effect of the ‘love hormone’ (oxytocin) wears off, the high tide recedes and the low tide arrives, the actual test begins. You begin to assess the state of your relationship. If the relationship is unhealthy, then it’s a sign of an impending disaster and can affect you and your partner mentally, emotionally and in some cases physically. (Note: If you are someone silently suffering abuse, find help here). So, how can we know if our relationship is healthy, happy, and uplifting!?
As we further examine the signs of a happy and healthy relationship, it is crucial to state that you do not use the information presented to enhance your cognitive dissonance, but rather understand that a relationship is a two-way street, and it is the equal responsibility of both individuals to make it a success!
1. There is no Alpha, only mutual respect:
In a healthy relationship, each person shares responsibilities based on what they enjoy, what they excel at, and what opportunities life and circumstances present to them. The relationship is well balanced, and each of you contributes equally to the relationship’s success. The relationship does not revolve around one person’s opinions and choices; instead, you listen to each other and find a happy medium that works for both of you. The relationship is based on the premise that your wants, desires, and interests are just as important as the other person’s.
The equation, Alpha + Beta = Love, can work only when one is being alpha and the other a beta as per the requirement of the situation. It is not every couple’s cup of tea to switch roles as needed because it necessitates a deep understanding of each other’s strengths as well as a great deal of mutual respect. But if there is a stated Alpha, then the relationship is a sham because then it is all about that one person and the other is just a tree, meekly standing bearing the fruits of the alpha’s emotion.
2. More harmony than conflict:
Have you ever fallen in love with someone whose mere presence filled your life with joy and peace? And have you ever been in the presence of someone who shattered your self-esteem and sapped all of your strength? These questions reveal the distinction between healthy and unhealthy relationships. While one creates an environment in which both partners can grow and thrive, the other becomes a negative force that pulls you under.
It does not imply that a healthy relationship is free of conflict, because that would be unnatural. Relationships are similar to teamwork, and conflict is unavoidable while working together. Everyone has opposing views, and that’s perfectly fine! A healthy conflict recognizes the underlying issue and addresses it respectfully before it escalates into something more serious. There is no act of insult or yelling during a healthy argument.
Accepting responsibility for your words and actions, rather than blaming the other. You both sincerely apologize when any of you’ve done something wrong and strive to make positive changes to improve the bond. You both set aside your egos and try to bring harmony to an extremely conflicting event.
3. Sense of self is retained:
While working as a team, it’s natural to lose your sense of self at times, but if you don’t remember who you were before the arrival of your partner then that’s a cause for alarm. You must remember that a relationship is a part of your life, not your whole life. Inculcating practices of self-love and care helps you to keep a track of yourself outside of the relationship.
In a healthy relationship, You respect each other’s beliefs and opinions, and you love each other for who you are as individuals. You are at ease with setting boundaries and are confident that the other person will respect them. You both celebrate your individual accomplishments, believe in each other’s hard work, and share a mutual admiration. Sense of self is mostly lost in the cases of codependent partnerships, where you place the burden of your happiness on your partner. It takes a lot of self-analysis to get out of such toxic habits because we have been fed this belief that you cry together, laugh together, but that’s not the case. The better way is that when you are sad, you look at the issue causing it. Your partner does not need to cry along with you but rather be your support in understanding the root of the sadness.
Giving each other space allows the two people to devote time to their relationship while also socialising with friends, staying on top of work, and spending time with family.
Interdependence is the best way to describe healthy relationships. Interdependence implies that you have a life outside of your relationship. Clingy or needy relationships are unhealthy as both people need to feel confident in themselves and at ease with their independence, which keeps the relationship fresh and interesting when you’re together.
4. No External influence:
You do not try to put social media validation pressure on each other. We have collectively pointed fingers at our parents to set us up for a rat race in front of our relatives, their coworkers, and our neighbors. We were always requested to perform and placed on a competitive podium. But what we don’t realise is that we are the same as our parents, except that we now seek external validation for being the best on social media. Trying to be the best couple amidst our circle, trying to exaggerate chemistry, showing off as couple goals even when you can’t come to terms on a single decision is like being together just because you don’t want to be alone.
In a world ruled by ‘influencers’, it is easier to act under the influence of society, peers, or just the current trend and that is not a healthy sign. Already the world of cinema has kept on contributing to unreal expectations and when these are not met, we become disappointed and start to compare our relationship with the “reel” ones. So, if the adorable pictures you post on social media are an actual snippet of the beautiful organic chemistry you both share, then that calls for applause!
5. Trust is at the core:
With social media and cell phones, snooping has become all too easy. But in a healthy relationship, you don’t have to snoop. This is partly because your companion has proven to be trustworthy. They’re dependable and readily available. You don’t have to beg for their presence on important occasions because they’ll already be there for you.
Trust is easy to come by in a healthy relationship. You don’t have to keep second-guessing your partner’s motives or worrying about their loyalty. However, this extends beyond believing they will not cheat or lie to you. It also implies that you feel safe and comfortable with them and are confident that they will not harm you physically or emotionally. You both look out for your best interests but also respect each other enough to understand the concept of making your own choice.
It’s unhealthy to constantly feel confused about your position in your partner’s life. It’s better to confront the situation and figure out which personal experience is contributing to your anxiety: is it your low self-esteem or is it your partner’s behaviour and constant gaslighting that’s putting a strain on your mental health? Because a healthy connection makes you feel calmer rather than worried. If you’re constantly looking over your shoulder with fear of them being disloyal then that’s not a sign of a healthy relationship.
6. Open and Regular communication:
You make it a habit to check in with each other now and then to see how your relationship is doing. Both of you feel secure and free to communicate your problems, disappointments, and frustrations, and collectively work towards finding a solution or make a compromise whenever necessary.
Good communication is a sign of a healthy relationship for two reasons:
- First, It implies that both partners can express their wants and needs in a way that the other person understands.
- Second, Both partners are able to hear and understand what the other person is saying.
You both express your feelings gently and directly, without resorting to passive-aggressive behavior, manipulation, or stonewalling. You don’t put things off or sweep them under the rug to avoid conflict.
A healthy relationship allows you to be the best version of yourself. It enriches your life, gives you a sense of security, and makes you feel more at ease. Anything that is not in line with this is undoubtedly unhealthy. The most telling sign of a healthy relationship is that you are not searching for articles online to better understand your partner’s behavior instead of confronting them.
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