What makes a healthy relationship? | My Experience

By Unknown - June 05, 2018

Photo source: psychologies.co.uk

A healthy relationship. The elusive unicorn of the dating scene. Something I believe we're all looking for and that looks different to everyone. Life is a bumpy ride, so having someone by your side through it all, sharing the good times and supporting you through the bad is what it's all about right? Plus in my opinion, being in love is one of the best feelings in the world.

Now, I bet you're wondering what makes me qualified to offer any kind of advice on this subject, and to be completely honest I'm nowhere near qualified. I'm not an expert in relationships, but what I do have is a specific set of skills... (name the film reference!) On a serious note, I'd like to share the benefit of my experience, and hopefully, it resonates with someone.

I got into my first relationship when I was 19. I'd not had much to do with boys at this point, I wasn't very confident and found it hard to believe that anyone would like me or find me attractive. I'd had a silly crush on one of my brothers' friends (so cliche) for a few years but always kept it to myself as I was under no illusion that I had a chance. Due to my lack of confidence, I knew I was not going to meet someone the conventional way, that being on a night out or through a friend/work. So when a friend of mine told me she had started internet dating, I thought I would give it a go myself. No commitment, just chatting with people online seemed a good way to get started on the dating scene. Low and behold, the first guy I talk to I end up on a date with and as they say the rest was history.

I was with my ex for 6 years in total. It wasn't all bad, we had some good times in the beginning. We were in love for the first time and it was new, exciting and a little bit overwhelming at the same time. We fell hard and fast and it felt real. I had never felt like this about anyone before, so of course, I knew this was who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Our first couple of years were blissful. He lived about an hour and a half away from me during this period, so we missed each other like crazy. A lot changed in our professional lives that year, with jobs and relocating, but the one constant was each other and the life we were both working towards.

Things started to go downhill around the 3 1/2/4-year mark. We weren't living together but he had bought his own place not far from where I lived and so I was spending all my time at his place. We stopped having fun together, and I couldn't remember the last time he had made me laugh. This was around the time we went through our first rough patch, but neither of us had the guts to let go. We struggled on for another 12 months, living in denial and pretending things could go back to the way they were. Then things got worse.

I felt sick when I saw the messages. My legs turned to jelly and it was as close to an out of body experience as I have ever come to.

Of course, he played it down, and I believed him because I didn't want to believe that a guy I thought was my future would so something like that to me. I was naive and in denial and so desperately wanted to make it work. I ignored all my instincts, even though they were screaming at me to do the opposite, and I soldiered on. I made excuses in my head as to why we were only seeing each other once a week, why I could no longer go to his place. It was only when it was staring me in the face did I snap out of it. Someone I knew had seen him with another girl and it was clear they were more than just friends. That was it. I was done.

Over the next 11 months, I did a lot of soul-searching (and quite a bit of dating, online dating was now the only way to meet someone so, I was a dab hand at it). I learned that I was the one who had changed in the relationship. I had grown into an independent, strong-minded, opinionated woman and I had been stifled by him. Suddenly what I thought I wanted had been flipped on its head and I was looking for something quite specific this time.

1. Trust

2. Loyalty

3. Humour

4. Attraction

5. Similar morals and values

6. Someone who got on well with my family

7. Ambitious but not money driven


And the list went on. And you know what? That's OK. First piece of advice, don't let anyone tell you that you're being too picky. What does that even mean? I'm looking for someone who I am going to share my most intimate and personal moments with, who I'm going to share my body with, my thoughts, my feelings. Why wouldn't I be picky about that?

I was single for 11 months before I met my current partner and like I said, I knew what I was looking for. We took it slow at first, he had been burned in the past as well, so neither of us wanted to rush into anything. We spent 2 months getting to know each other, spending time together. It would have been so easy to fall into a relationship, the chemistry was there, but it built over time and it was so worth the wait.

I trust my partner with my life. He is as loyal as they come and I know that I am his number one priority, as he is mine. My god does he make me laugh, even when I don't want to. Also, have you ever wanted someone to put on clothes just so you can rip them off? To me, he is the sexiest man on the planet. My passions and values are something he loves about me, and he tells me so all the time. He fits in so well with my family, and they all love him to bits. He is so intelligent and wants to do well in his job, but not to the detriment of us or our relationship. He even covers things that weren't on my list. He pushes me out of my comfort zone (like starting this blog for example) and he has faith in me which makes me have faith in myself.

Don't get me wrong, he is by no means perfect. The boy has no urgency for anything, the house could be burning down and he would mosey on out the door at his leisure. But on top of everything listed above, and all the other things I love about him, the one thing we do that I think is key to a healthy relationship, which leads me on to my next piece of advice, communication.

We talk about everything. We talk about our day, what we had for lunch or if one of our colleagues pissed us off. We talk about things that are bothering us, we communicate about big life decisions or even small life decisions. I know I can go to him if I've got anything on my mind and he will listen and try to understand.

These are all things that were missing in my last relationship. Now some might say, isn't all of that obvious? Especially the first 2 on the list. And yes, I agree, they should be obvious things for us to look out for when choosing a partner. But how many of us have been in relationships, or maybe some who still are and can say that all of those things apply? Even if they did in the beginning, things change, people change and it's hard for us to recognize when you're on the inside that those things don't exist in that relationship anymore, or if they ever did at all.

For a final pearl of wisdom and something that I think is probably one of, if not the most important thing for a healthy relationship... get to know yourself before you try to get to know someone else. Take your time, give people a chance but don't rush things, find someone who ticks all your boxes. They're out there for sure, but how can you know what you're looking for in someone else if you don't know who you are as a person? What you want out of life, what you stand for, having conviction in your opinions and beliefs, knowing your best bits and not so best bits. This is all going to stand you in good stead when you meet the human you want to share this planet with. Trust me (or don't, because let's face it, I'm a stranger on the internet).

Until next time folks...

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