Hello bitLanders, how are you all doing? I am doing good, thank you and I hope you all are!
I was thinking about creating a blog about relationship but had no idea about how to begin it. I remember that in the past I was sketching some words in my notebook, some topics about how to behave in a relationship and so on, because I had the idea to create a small article and publish somewhere. I never finished it, but now I think it is the time to do it on bitLanders!
The blog is divided into three parts: I) communicating efficiently, II) treating each other with respect, and III) improving a hurtful relationship.
Healthy relationships allow you to express your individuality (both in the company and in the absence of the partner), stimulate the best side of both and encourage growth. Especially in the case of a recent relationship, the best thing to do is to lay the groundwork for a positive and healthy relationship from the beginning. By focusing on mutual respect and effective communication, it is possible to enjoy a good and satisfying relationship.This video broadcasted by Actualized.com talks about how to maintain a healthy relationship by showing three kinds of relationships out there. I found the video really interesting and the explanations it gives about the three of them. They really have to do with what I say in this blog.
Part I - Communicating Efficiently
1. Say what you think and feel: Do not expect your partner to read your mind or find out for himself/herself. If you have a need or want to express something, you need to communicate. It is not fair with you and your partner to stop talking about your needs. Similarly, do not keep to yourself things that bother you. If something is uncomfortable, tell your partner. If you do not know how to start a conversation, say: "I have something in my mind and I would like to share it with you." It's also possible to say: "There's something bothering me and I think we should talk about it."
2. Listen for real: A healthy relationship involves knowing when to speak and when to listen. Develop the ability to listen, do not interrupt and let your partner finish expressing his/her thoughts and feelings. Listen for real and do not try to reply when he/she is speaking. Use strategies of an active listener by paraphrasing the content and emotions your partner is expressing. Say something like this: "Let me see if I get it right. I understood that you're upset that I did not tell you what time I was coming home, and you wanted me to say something earlier to avoid worrying."
3. Set healthy limits: Boundaries do not exist to trap you - they are created so that respect is maintained and expectations are understood in the relationship. If something makes you uncomfortable, talk about it, about what needs to change, and how each one should change. If one partner wants to spend too much time together and the other does not, it is important to decide how long you should stay together and distant from one another. For example, you may want to establish social boundaries (separate one night per week to go out with friends or other activities). Do not let your partner control your life, and don't do the same. Imposing limits means respecting and yielding in order for the relationship to work well.
Photo credit: Pulse.ng
4. Speak clearly: Without clear communication, a relationship can quickly reveal the worst of people. Express any need or desire to your partner clearly. Do not make a fool of yourself, or say anything just to please the other if you are unhappy. Try using phrases in the first person to express your feelings, make comments, or share opinions. In this way, it is possible to express yourself clearly and directly, taking responsibility for what you think and feel and avoiding blaming and accusing others. To communicate properly, say something like this: "I think / I feel / I want ... when ... why ...". For example: "I get angry when you leave the door open because the room gets cold and windy."
5. Express emotions: Share your thoughts and feelings with your partner and be open to the feelings that arise. Show interest in your partner's emotions and support him/her in stressful situations. The emotional connection with the partner allows you to empathize with what he or she experiences. If you feel emotionally disconnected from him/her, start asking questions about feelings (and do not blame him/her or make guesses). By discovering what your partner feels, you may feel more compassion for him/her.
Part II - Treating Each Other Well
1. Create a basis for respect: Relationships can be fun and exciting at first, but it's still important to make sure they respect each other. Act in order to demand respect from your partner. Strive to treat yourself with respect always, even when one is angry at the other. Your partner's desires, thoughts, and feelings have value. Tell him/her that you take into consideration what he/she feels. Mutual respect is an important step in making a relationship work. Talk to each other to encourage respect in the relationship. Decide what is allowed or not in the relationship. You may want to implement rules for "fair fights". Some examples could be:
- Do not use degrading language;
- Do not blame the other;
- Do not scream;
- Do not use force;
- Do not talk about divorce or termination;
- Do not try to say what your partner is thinking or feeling;
- Stay in the present;
- Give the time for the other to speak;
- Cool the head when necessary.
Photo credit: Jack Ito PhD Marriage and Relationship Coach
2. Enjoy each other's company: A healthy relationship should make both of you feel valued. Often relationships are built from small things that accumulate. Identify the things your partner does for you and thank him/her. Instead of focusing on mistakes, focus on everything positive that it brings to your life. When you notice something, talk to him/her and show appreciation. Ask your partner what makes you feel loved. Write a note or card or strive to say "thank you" often. Show that you like the other. Say this for example: "When you notice what I do for you, I am very happy."
3. Make the most of the time you spend together: It's easy to move from one face-to-face conversation to digital communication. Still, sometimes it is possible that there are misunderstandings or that the non-verbal communication ceases to exist. Spending a good amount of time together can help strengthen the relationship and bonding between the two. Try to find activities you can both do together. It can be quite simple, like having a cup of coffee in the morning or reading together at night. Experiencing a new activity together can also be a fun and exciting way to spend time together. You don't have to do anything crazy - even going to dinner at a different restaurant or trying on some new cuisine can be an interesting experience.
4. Make room for each other: No one can fill in all the gaps and play all roles for each other. Let your partner go out with friends, with family and have their own hobbies. It is important for everyone to have their own friends and activities performed independently. At the beginning of the relationship, you may even want to spend all of your time together, but respect each other to let the other spend time alone without thinking it means anything negative to the relationship. Support to your partner so that he maintains his/her friendships. Avoid giving up on your friends and pushing your partner to do the same. It is important to have friendships and the emotional support they provide. Similarly, do not let your partner dictate whether or not you can see your family.
5. Expect changes: Know that the relationship is likely to change. Allow yourself, your partner, and your relationship to grow. Acknowledge that change is a new opportunity for growth. Change is inevitable, so accept it and accept that the relationship will adapt. When changes happen, take a deep breath and deal with each one at a time.
Photo credit: lovepamky.com
Part III - Improving a Hurtful Relationship
1. Go to a therapist: When you realize that things are wrong and you want to improve them, suggest to your partner a couple's therapy. A professional can help you two to break harmful behavior patterns that can trap you, such as shouting, blaming each other, isolation, assumptions, and lack of effective communication. The therapist can also help with an emotional withdrawal, change your behavior and your view of the relationship. Taking therapy does not mean that the relationship is doomed - it just means that you are willing to do something to improve it.
2. Free yourself from mutual dependence: Conflicting behavior in a relationship of mutual dependence can materialize when a person allows or encourages irresponsibility, immaturity, vices or lack of care about the partner's health. If you authorize it, you may feel guilty if you do not help, even if your attitude hurts the partner in the long run. Dependency usually has roots in childhood and can involve repressed feelings (not talking when you need to, being quiet to avoid fighting) and the inability to say "no". You two can isolate yourselves from other people and not have friends outside the relationship. Learn more about mutual dependency and take the time to identify counterproductive behaviors (yours or your partner's). You can choose between individual therapies or for couples.
Photo credit: Heart Women & Girls
3. Respect your partner's privacy: Being in a relationship does not mean having to spend all the time together or sharing everything. Respect your partner's need for privacy and space. If jealousy arises, remember that this feeling is not always directly related to your partner's actions. Do not require the passwords of your partner's social networks or emails. Respect his privacy and trust him. It is not healthy for one couple to be monitoring each other's behavior all the time. The basis of this may be jealousy or control, which are not healthy components in a relationship.
4. Pay attention to warning signs of abuse: Relationships should be based on respect and equality, not on power and control. You may overlook some attitudes in the beginning, but disrespectful behaviors give a way to the relationship. If your partner is possessive and insulting, yelling, humiliating or disrespecting you in any way, stay tuned. There are no excuses for abuse. It is a choice that the individual makes, and you do not have to be the victim.This video made by Brad Browning brings some good tips about how to keep the relationship healthy. Not all of them are the same tips I presented, but it is interesting to watch.