Relationships absorb so much of our lives. From elementary school crushes, pre-teen middle school relationships, and high school sweethearts that you think will never end, to college and very real adult relationships, we are introduced to the concept of being in a relationship basically by the time we're able to understand language. With that being said, we can get so addicted to the ideas of what relationships are supposed to be like to the point where we involve ourselves in unhealthy habitual relationships, hanging on for dear life with the fear that ending relationships like this would destroy our chances of ever being happy. I know this because it used to be me.
Although it was incredibly hard for me to break old habits and cut off the unhealthy relationships in my life, I finally did. Through everything I've experienced, I finally know what it feels like to be happy and healthy in the relationship that I am in. But despite the fact that I overcame those difficult relationships and have established new and healthier ones, I know that there are many people out there who don't know how to reach that level of happiness that I have finally reached.
So, for all of you out there who need to hear it, here are 17 things that are key to a happy and healthy relationship.
1. Always being there for each other.
This is probably the most obvious point on this list. However, truly being there for the person you are in a relationship is so important. They are going to have bad days and you need to be there for them when they do. You will also have bad days and they need to be there for you. Be each other's shoulder to cry on. You will not believe how much sympathy goes into making each other happy.
2. Being able to enjoy each other's company.
Spending time with each other should not feel like a chore. You will know when you've reached happiness when you can literally sit in a room with somebody, doing absolute nothing, and still be content and happy just with the fact that you are with them.
3. Establishing trust and boundaries.
A relationship with a lack of trust is a relationship full of arguments. You need to learn how to trust each other and do what is needed to maintain that trust. This comes along with setting boundaries. If the person you're in a relationship with isn't comfortable with you doing something and it's reasonable, then you shouldn't be doing it, which brings me to my next point...
4. Reaching compromises and making sacrifices.
You are going to argue. No real relationship is fight-free. Although fights are normal, there is a healthy way to argue and an unhealthy way. Reaching compromises are a big way to keep each other happy. This means there is no 'winner' or 'loser' in an argument, but that you listen to each other's points and allow it to influence your results. This goes hand in hand with making sacrifices. Sometimes you have to make choices between things and your relationship. Even though many decisions aren't always relationship-altering, sacrifices show that you care about each other and are willing to make it work.
5. Supporting one another.
Supporting each other is huge in making one another happy. This can go as little as cheering each other on to reach minor goals, to physically going out and being there at events. For example, as a dancer, it means a lot to me when the person I'm in a relationship with is there in the audience supporting me in what I love to do. It's a small gesture, but it goes a long way.
6. Appreciating each other's interests and sharing things in common.
Even when you don't understand the things that your partner is passionate about, it's important that you still appreciate it. It's part of what makes them who there are. It's also important to bond over the things that two of you have in common. Shared interests will bring you two closer together, thus making your relationship so much healthier.
7. Being able to spend time apart.
As much as being able to spend time together is important, it is also vital that the two of you are able to spend time apart. It isn't healthy to not be able to function without each other. You should be able to sleep on your own or go do an activity without freaking out about not being around them. If you don't do this, you will create an attachment that is so clingy and toxic to the relationship that it will make them end up not wanting to be with you at all.
8. Communicating and keeping an open mind.
As cliche as it sounds, communication is key. Keeping each other up to speed as to what's going on in your lives limits the number of fights you will be having and takes away so much of the stress that goes along with relationships. You need to also keep an open mind and not be stubborn. Listen to the points that your partner is making and allow it to influence your thought process, as well.
9. Accepting each other for who you both are.
Do not try to change each other. If you were meant to be happy together, then you would be happy and accepting of who they are. Along with this, don't conform to somebody who is trying to change you. Accepting each other for who you two are is one of the most powerful secrets in maintaining happiness and strong relationship health.
10. Not being afraid to eat in front of each other.
This sounds silly, but is a major issue that is caused among so many relationships. For some reason, so many people fear eating in front of their partner. Why spend time worrying about how you look when you eat when you could enjoy delicious food together? I promise nobody is judging you for eating. If anything, you will be judged for not eating.
11. Helping each other maintain self-love.
Something I learned in one of my old relationships is that it's hard for people to love you if you don't love yourself. Self-love should come before anything, which means you should be helping your partner maintain their self-love. Compliment them. Let them know why they mean so much to you. Simple and small words are so powerful in contributing to the way one views themselves.
12. Remaining faithful and honest.
Honestly and faithfulness are two things that so many relationships seem to be lacking nowadays. In order to establish the trust and boundaries that I mentioned early, you need to be honest with one another, even when the truth hurts. Don't cheat. Don't lie. All that will do is destroy the person that you are with.
13. Knowing how and when to forgive.
Most people forget about forgiveness. People make mistakes. You have to learn how to forgive your partner when they mess up and know when it's necessary to not forgive. Don't say that something is okay when you feel that it's not and if you do choose to forgive, don't keep dragging things out and make the person feel worse about it. However, if somebody continues to make the same mistake over and over again, learn how to not forgive.
14. Making the relationship public, not a secret.
Your relationship should not be kept a secret. I'm not saying you have to showcase it to the whole world and throw it in everyone's faces, but you should be proud to admit that you're with the person that you're with. Showing them that you're proud to be with them makes them feel good, which will result in a happier relationship overall.
15. Listening to each other and remembering details.
Part of what shows somebody that you care and makes them feel memorable is listening to what they say and actually paying attention to it. Let them rant. Listen to their stories. Remember the little things that they say they love and show it to them later that you remember. Literally just listening to each other and remembering small details goes such a long way. Surprise them with their favorite candy one day or offer to watch their favorite movie. It feels good for somebody to recognize those sorts of things.
16. Being comfortable enough to be your complete self with each other.
Allowing yourselves to be your true selves with each other is vital in maintaining a happy and healthy relationship. It's not healthy if you're pretending to be someone else. You want them to fall for you and vice versa. Be vulnerable and be real. Your relationship will feel so free and genuine when you reach this level of comfort. Being with someone who is just as goofy as I am is such a great feeling and I wouldn't be able to feel that way if we weren't comfortable around each other.
17. Accepting each other's families and being accepted by them, as well.
I saved this for last because it is probably one of the most forgotten, yet most important points I can make. This took me an incredibly long time to realize, but now that I'm in a relationship that makes both my family and I happy, it means the world to me. Going around loopholes and trying to force your partner to be accepted by your family is so stressful and takes away so much happiness. To be completely honest, your family probably won't ever get a good vibe from them if it's being forced. Listen to your family's opinions and trust them, because in every single case I've been in, my family is always right because they see the things that I do not. It's also incredibly important to accept your partner's family. Don't judge them from where they came from or their past. Allow yourself to make an impact that goes beyond just your partner. I can guarantee that you will be much easier to accept if you're an accepting person, yourself.
At the end of the day, all anybody wants to be is happy and healthy. I've learned from experience that relationships play such a large role in mental health and everyday life. We are conceptualizing relationships at such young ages to the point where we put our mental health and stability at risk just for the sake of being in a relationship. We settle into harmful patterns in fear of never obtaining happiness. However, once you finally release those demons that drag you back into the same destructive path, that is when you will finally find that happiness. So go on and find your new beginning. Establish a relationship that is happy and healthy. Once you do, your mental health and sanity will thank you immensely for placing them in good hands.