Dating is hard right now – arguably harder than it’s ever been. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through bad dates, one-night stands, and toxic relationships that wither away after a few months. A healthy, long-term relationship is possible.
What Makes a Relationship Healthy?
No two relationships are the same, but here are some key ingredients for a healthy partnership that lasts:
- Respect. At the heart of a good relationship is mutual respect. No matter how similar you are, there will always be differences. If you respect these differences and see your partner as your equal, you’ll go a long way.
- Stability. On again and off again relationships are emotionally draining. A healthy relationship should be steady and stable. This doesn’t mean things are always great, but it shouldn’t feel like a game of pinball.
- Selflessness. In a healthy relationship, both individuals are willing to put aside their own best interests for the interests of the partner.
- Attraction. Let’s not forget about the importance of attraction – both physical and emotional. Attraction won’t sustain a relationship, but it certainly keeps the flame alive when there are challenges.
If you find yourself in a relationship with these four characteristics, it has the ingredients to be a successful, long-term partnership.
How to Find a Healthy Relationship
If you’re already in a healthy, long-term relationship, congrats! If you’re still looking, here are some useful tips:
1. Know What You Want
Selflessness is a big part of building a healthy relationship, but it’s paramount that you begin with your own best interests. In other words, zero in on what you want in a relationship and a partner.
When searching for a partner, it’s helpful to have two lists. One list consists of deal breakers. These are factors that you won’t compromise on under any circumstances. The other list consists of wants. These are factors that are nice to have but won’t automatically disqualify someone.
2. Know Where to Look
If you’re looking for a healthy, long-term partner, you probably won’t find someone at a strip club or dive bar. (There are exceptions, but you get the idea.) You’re much more likely to find someone at a networking event, church gathering, or house party with friends. Be mindful of where you’re looking for partners.
3. Uncover Important Details
There are certain things you notice about a dating partner right away. (How they look, how they talk, what level of self-confidence they have, etc.) But these are just surface level details. You need to dig in and find out who they really are at their core. Consider:
- Religious beliefs. If spirituality and religion are important to you, you’ll want to uncover these details. A person’s religious background and understanding shapes their worldview and will impact you in one way or another.
- Zodiac sign. Someone’s zodiac sign says a lot about their personality and demeanor. (Taurus individuals, for example, don’t like to make the first move. When you understand this, you’ll take their interactions with a grain of salt.
- Family background. A person’s family shapes them. Did they grow up in a single-parent household? Have their parents been married for 40 years? Do they have kids from a previous marriage? Do they have lots of siblings, or are they an only child?
4. Listen More Than You Talk
How do you uncover details like these? You ask questions and then you zip your lips! Listening more than you talk will help you understand someone so that you can determine if you’re a good fit.
5. Be Direct
Beating around the bush does you no good. Be direct in your question and interactions, especially early on. This will prevent you from starting a relationship that you have no business being in. It’ll also establish trust earlier on in the partnership, which bodes well for long-term stability.
6. Bond Over Mutual Interests
Find activities and hobbies that you both enjoy. Bonding over mutual interests allows you to get to know each other in a fun and familiar environment. This accelerates your relationship and gives you something to both coalesce around.
Putting it All Together
While there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship, you can increase your odds of a healthy, long-term relationship by implementing some of the tips outlined in this article. If nothing else, it’ll help you avoid the bad apples.