Not All Healthy Relationships Are Created Equal
Not all relationships need to have the same characteristics to be considered healthy. In some relationships, there is a lot of verbal communication around needs, wants, conflict resolution, sex, boundaries, and goals. In these relationships, both/all members involved have set this as a rule for the relationship and have agreed that lots of verbal communication feel right for them. Some couples are super similar so constant communication is may be replaced with quality time or engaging in activities. Don't compare your relationship to theirs. In some relationships, there is a lot of physical connection. In this relationship, both/all members have discussed that what they need to feel the connection is hugs, hand-holding, sex, massage, Kisses, and hair tussling. Some couples don't require as much physical touch to fill their cup, they may feel perfectly connected in proximity. Don't compare your relationship to theirs. In some relationships, both/all members have discovered that what they need to feel growth is adventure, travel, new experiences, and documentation of all of their excursions. Some couples find comfort in the familiar or time working on their homestead. Don't compare your relationship to theirs. So... you see where I'm going with this? The most important part of the relationship no matter the type is RESPECT. When you respect your partner you create a safe space to have a conversation about wants and needs within the relationship. You respect their time, intellect, image, physical space, and values. Let's be honest... have you ever thought that your relationship was great, that is, until you were scrolling through social media and saw the things other people were doing and it sunk your heart? Maybe you saw a post or a video and you think "man if my partner and I aren't running a marathon together or doing couples yoga then is our relationship failing?" This is a cognitive distortion; a negative thought you have based on a negative perception of your experiences. This could be due to a trauma, a past relationship, poor self-esteem, or maybe a toxic family of origin. Instead of comparing your relationship to other people asks yourself these questions: Do my partner and I have the same shared values? Does my partner treat me with respect? Does my partner hold space for me to feel safe in having discussions about difficult topics? Have I come to my partner and asked for the things I need to feel secure? When I did ask my partner for the things I need, were we able to compromise? If you answered positively to these questions then you have a healthy connection. If you are still unhappy turn toward your partner and have open honest communication about why you feel something might be missing. Stop scrolling through insta couples or tik tok stars for models of a healthy relationship. It's perfectly fine to enjoy those videos but if that causes you to feel anxiety, jealousy, envy, or if it causes you to feel angry at your partner then there's something else going on. Lastly, you do not have to be in a crisis to attend couples counseling. A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist can help you navigate communication, setting boundaries, and defining your ideal relationship. Not all healthy relationships are created equal but they are created and they do take work.