I’ve been in so many toxic, fruitless, and unhappy relationships that tore down my emotional and mental wellbeing. I’ve wasted so much time trying to find the perfect person (i.e. soulmate), chasing perfect rom-com moments, and ignoring red flags. In hindsight, what I should have done was build the happiest version of myself, the girl who knows her worth and what she wants, so I could then build a healthy relationship with someone I had a connection with and cared about. There is no such thing as perfect, and I also no longer believe in soulmates. I used to, for sure. I would always get caught up in the feelings of a break-up and think that I would never find a connection with anyone else (I’m sure everyone does). That
feeling, of course, is simply not true. I believe the right people come along at the right times in our lives. I believe that each person we date is meant to teach us so that we can grow. I believe that healthy and happy relationships are built, not found. Love is a feeling, for sure, but it is also a never-ending choice that you have to consciously choose every day in a relationship. A healthy relationship, to me, is built on communication, mutual respect, compassion, support, and so much more.
The top 3 things that I’ve learned to focus on when creating a healthy + happy relationship are:
In my opinion, this is the most important quality of a relationship and should be the foundation. Your significant other cannot read your mind and honesty is always the best policy. If you feel like you can’t express your true feelings to your significant other, then what are you doing in the relationship? You should never be scared to talk about your feelings or express when something is bothering you. Communication is definitely always something I’ve struggled with. I have trouble articulating my feelings and shut down most of the time. I’ve always been terrified to create conflict because I’m terrified that it’ll cause me to lose people. I’ve come to realize that this is an irrational fear caused by anxiety. There is literally no way to not have conflict in any kind of relationship. The right people will react the right way to your feelings. You will not always get along or agree with your significant other, friends, family, coworkers, etc. Disagreements are 100% okay and will happen. What matters is how you communicate and resolve the issue.
Listen, this is a game-changer. Not everyone gives or receives love in the same way. I 100000% fall into the category of words of affirmation with quality time & physical touch in a tie for second. Have a conversation with your S.O. about how you want and need to be loved; it will make a world of difference. Think about it like this: you like bananas, and your partner likes oranges. If you gave your partner a banana just because you like them, they may not be receptive. But, if you gave them an orange, their favorite fruit, they would be more grateful. You may feel more loved through hearing “I’m proud of you” or getting a random text of them telling you how much they appreciate you. And they may feel more loved through holding hands and kissing. (For those of you who are curious about what the love languages are or want to take the quiz, I’ve linked it here.)
Self-love + Taking Care of Your Mental Health
These are also top priorities for me. In a relationship, you should take care of your mental health so that you’re able to be there for your S.O. in their times of need. You should learn to completely love yourself so that you are able to love your partner. You should be able to be your own person with your own hobbies, likes + dislikes, friends, outside relationships, etc. Put some boundaries into place by taking time apart from each other to recharge. Take note of your mental health and how it affects your emotions, as those will contribute to your relationship in some form. Be hyper-aware of said emotions, as your own anxieties and insecurities can breed doubts and the need for validation from outside sources. Be able to handle your mental and emotional wellbeing so you can reassure yourself and feel secure in your relationship.
Dating and relationships are definitely not easy; you have to accept that and come to the table ready to work together when it gets hard. Find someone who makes you believe in yourself when you feel like you can’t, constantly pushes you to be better, and respects the hell out of you. Find your person and build the healthiest + happiest relationship of your life. It’s possible!