By Maysee Lao, UWO Peer Wellness Educator
Relationships are different for every couple. Some are still in the early stage with their significant other and some are super far into their relationship. Whether you have been in a relationship for one or 10 years, it’s important to have an overall healthy relationship with your partner. Healthy relationships require respect, trust, and communication, understanding each other, and freely expressing yourself. If you are in a relationship right now or hope to be in one in the future, include all of these qualities. Even if you are not looking for a romantic relationship, it’s still important to apply these aspects to any relationship whether it be with your friends or family.
According to loveisrespect.org, “The first step to building a relationship is making sure you both understand each other’s needs and expectations” In other words, the foundation of a healthy relationship is open communication. It’s crucial to share your feelings with your significant other when something is going right or wrong in the relationship. A lack of communication causes a lot of confusion. For example, if you were hurt by something your partner said, instead of passive aggressively giving your partner the silent treatment or keeping it to yourself and then acting surprised when they don’t get why you’re upset. Just tell them you felt hurt by their words or actions. Talk it out. After all, people cannot read minds so they can’t possibly know what’s going on in your head if you don’t express it. Expecting someone to always know what you’re thinking and feeling is unreasonable and can turn a loving relationship into a toxic one. Of course, we are human and sometimes it can be difficult to talk about our feelings.
We may not want to cause conflict and somehow tarnish that perfect image of our relationship in our head, but the reality is no relationship is perfect and every couple experiences conflict at some point. Talking through conflicts like being hurt by your partner’s words can help them understand why you feel the way you do and then both of you can find ways to resolve it. For this reason, learning how to express and share your thoughts that can lead to healthier relationships. Being able to express yourself freely also ties in with being able to be yourself while in a relationship. You should not have to change yourself so that someone likes you or approves of you. Although, there is an exception and that is if it’s someone who is changing for the better and/or it’s for themselves. Whoever you decide to be with they should love you for who you are.
No relationship is perfect, as stated before, but it is definitely important to be with someone who you can trust, who supports you, who you can talk to, and who accepts you for you. A healthy relationship is made up of so many other aspects as well, but even noticing that a few of the ones named are seen within your relationship, that is a start. It takes two to make a relationship work so whatever you expect from your partner, you must do it back as well. Being in a healthy relationship is important to your mental health and even your physical health. It brings positivity into your life and that’s overall so crucial.