Relationships can bring a sense of belonging, joy and purpose to our lives. They also provide the social support and emotional security needed to face life’s challenges. But relationships must be balanced and healthy. If one partner dominates the relationship or is constantly putting their needs above those of the other, negativity can brew and lead to toxic behavior.
It is important to have your own identity and your own friends in addition to your partner. It is also important to talk openly about your needs and goals in the relationship so that you can both work on them together. It is okay to disagree, but do so respectfully and with consideration of the other person’s feelings. Trying to control your partner in order to make them happy will only backfire and damage their individual identity that attracted you to them in the first place.
The best way to build a strong, healthy relationship is to be genuinely interested in your partner and their experience, views, opinions and feelings. Listen to them without interrupting and take an active role in sharing your own feelings, experiences and perspectives.
Don’t sweep problems under the rug or allow them to grow until they become too big to solve. Be willing to seek help from a therapist or coach as you navigate difficult issues. Most importantly, cherish each other and love them – don’t be afraid to show affection or let those butterflies flutter in your stomach.