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Giving and receiving relationship advice can be tricky. Some people believe that no one knows your relationship better than you and your partner, so why would you need advice from someone else? Some people will give their opinion whether you ask for it or not, and some are happy to dish out relationship advice but would never think of following it themselves.
Perhaps the reason why giving and receiving relationship advice is tricky is because there are so many different variables to every relationship. The topic of relationships itself is vast and ever-changing. And that there are no absolutes when it comes to relationships; one couple might swear by never going to bed angry, while another finds that giving each other space to cool down is what works best for them. One person might think that their partner should always put them first, while another might believe that in a healthy relationship, both partners should sometimes be able to put their own needs and wants first.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to the advice people might give or receive about relationships, which is why it can be so challenging to figure out what advice is actually going to be helpful. This guide is meant to help you sort through all of the advice and determine what will be beneficial for you and your relationship.
What is a healthy relationship?
As you navigate the world of romantic relationships, having an idea of what a healthy relationship looks like is crucial in helping you form or build one. Countless articles, books, and blog posts claim to have the “secret” to a happy and healthy relationship, but the truth is that every couple is different, and what works for one might not work for another.
That being said, certain things and beliefs are considered universal constituents of a healthy relationship. For one, many people often hold the belief that a healthy relationship means never having any arguments or disagreements, but that is simply not true. Arguments and disagreements happen within all close relationships, whether platonic, familial, or romantic, as they are merely a natural part of human interactions. 1 What’s important is not whether disagreements happen but how they are handled. Some researchers even suggest that social exchanges that include arguments are related to both positive and negative outcomes for well-being 2, and that couples who take time to talk through their disagreements will have more success in navigating challenges in the relationship. 3
In general, a healthy relationship is one in which all partners involved feel comfortable communicating openly and honestly with each other about their thoughts, feelings, and needs. All partners should feel like they can express their opinions without fear of judgment or retribution, and that their opinions will be heard and respected. Healthy relationships are often characterized by mutual respect, consent, loyalty, trust, shared interests and outlook, sex, and friendship. 4
Engaging in healthy relationships can predict positive well-being outcomes such as increased self-esteem, empathy, and communication skills, as well as decreased anxiety and depression symptoms. 5 On the other hand, having unhealthy or low-quality relationships, which include higher levels of conflict, lower sense of control, and lack of ‘authenticity’, has been linked to poorer mental health outcomes. 6 The absence of positive relationships among young adults is also linked with loneliness and reduced satisfaction. 7
6 green flags in a relationship
We all know the red flags you should look out for in a relationship; when they’re rude to the waiter, always putting you down, or constantly checking their phone when they’re with you. But what about the green flags in relationships, the things that let you know you’re on to a good thing?
Knowing what to look for in a partner can help you avoid heartache down the road and help you build a strong foundation for a healthy relationship. The same way you wouldn’t want someone with many red flags, identifying green flags early on can save you time and emotional energy in the long run.
So what are some of the green flags you should be on the lookout for?
1. The relationship allows you to be your authentic self
In a healthy relationship, you should feel like you can be yourself around your partner without feeling judged or misunderstood. If they love and accept you for who you are, that’s a great sign!
Authenticity or acting in a way that aligns with your true thoughts, feelings, and values has been positively associated with well-being. 8 So if you find yourself being able to be your authentic self around your partner, it’s a good indication that you’re in a healthy relationship.
Of course, we all put our best foot forward when we first start dating someone, but as we get to know them better, our true colors start to show. If they still love and accept you even when you’re at your worst, that signifies a healthy relationship.
2. You understand each other’s feelings and emotions
You and your partner should be able to understand and empathize with each other, even if you don’t necessarily feel the same way. For example, let’s say you’re stressed out because of a big project at work. A good partner would be able to understand that you’re feeling overwhelmed and offer to help you out, even if they don’t feel stressed themselves.
Emotional interdependence, or the ability to feel your partner’s feelings, is a key characteristic of healthy relationships. 9 Partners continuously influence each other’s emotions, behavior, and cognition in a healthy relationship, which creates a sense of closeness and understanding. 10 Being able to relate to your partner’s emotions creates a deeper connection. It allows you to build a stronger relationship, and it has also been linked with higher individual well-being than those who don’t share this connection. 9
We all have different emotional needs, and some of us are more emotional than others, so it’s essential to find a partner who meets you where you’re at. If your partner is always dismissing your emotions or telling you to just “get over it,” that’s a red flag that they’re unable to understand or empathize with your feelings, which can be a sign of an unhealthy relationship.
3. You communicate effectively
Communication is key in any relationship and is especially important in a romantic relationship. If you can communicate effectively with your partner, that’s a great sign! Individuals in romantic relationships have been able to recognize their partner’s self-focused emotions, such as envy and pride, through non-verbal communication. 11 So, if you can read your partner’s emotions and communicate with them effectively, that’s a sign of a healthy relationship.
There are many different ways to communicate, and effective communication doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to share everything with your partner. It’s about finding a balance that works for both of you. For example, some couples feel more comfortable communicating openly about everything, while others prefer to keep some things private. As long as you can communicate your needs and wants to your partner, you’re on the right track!
Communication and conflict resolution skills are vital in any relationship 5 and if you’re able to communicate and resolve conflicts with your partner successfully, that’s a great sign that you’re in a healthy relationship.
4. You respect each other
While this might seem like a no-brainer, finding a partner who respects you and your wishes is important. Mutual respect, or when you treat “each other tenderly, carefully, and cautiously”, is a key component in healthy relationships that’s been linked with some measures of wisdom and satisfaction. 12 A good partner will never try to control or manipulate you, and they will also respect your boundaries.
Does your partner always ensure you agree on things before moving forward? Do they listen to your opinions and feelings, even if they don’t necessarily agree with them? If so, that’s a good sign that they respect you and your wishes. On the other hand, if your partner regularly tries to control or manipulate you, or if they periodically ignore your feelings and opinions, that’s a sign of an unhealthy relationship.
5. You work around each other’s strengths and weaknesses
Finding a balance between your partner’s strengths and weaknesses will create a more harmonious relationship and help you both grow as individuals. If your partner is always taking charge and making decisions, you can help by providing support and offering your own opinions. Or, if you’re the one who’s always taking control and making decisions, your partner can help by providing support and offering their two cents from time to time.
This is why compromise is so necessary for any relationship. It allows you to find a balance between protecting your needs and being attentive to your partner’s needs, 13 and helps create a more harmonious relationship.
When both of you work hard to fill in each other’s gaps and support each other, it creates a stronger relationship that can weather any storm. Not only will doing so strengthen your relationship, but it will also provide an opportunity for both of you to grow as individuals.
Perhaps you’ve been told that you and your partner work great as a team. Or maybe you’ve been told that you complement each other well. Either way, you always find that you consistently deliver outstanding results when you work together.
6. You are each other’s cheerleaders
Nothing is more important in a relationship than feeling like you have someone always on your side. When you’re in a healthy relationship, your partner will be your biggest fan and will always be there to support you, no matter what.
Social support - or its perceived availability - has been documented to have positive effects on physical and mental health, 14 including reducing stress levels, improving moods, and increasing life satisfaction. 15 This means that having a supportive partner will not only make you feel good but will also have actual physical and mental health benefits.
Think about the last time your partner was there for you when you needed them. Maybe they offered words of encouragement when you were feeling down, or maybe they listened to you and provided a shoulder to cry on. Whatever the case, their support meant the world to you and helped you get through whatever it was that you were going through.
Although every relationship is different, there are certain things that all healthy relationships have in common. Did your relationship tick all the characteristics mentioned above? If not, don’t worry! There’s always room for improvement in any relationship. Just remember to communicate with your partner and work together to create a stronger, more loving relationship.
What is a toxic relationship?
Toxic relationships are characterized by patterns of behavior that are damaging to either or all partners. When some people think about toxic relationships, they think about violence or abuse. But toxic relationships can take many forms and don’t always involve physical damage. Victims of emotional abuse may even be more lonely and despairing than victims of physical abuse, as emotional abuse can be a precursor to the development and/or severity of illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. 16
Toxic relationships can occur in any relationship, including between family members, friends, or romantic partners. They can also happen in professional relationships, such as between a boss and an employee. Domination and discrimination are often the main ingredients of a toxic relationship, 17 and they occur in all types of relationships. 18 19
Toxic relationships are more common than you might think. Over 80 percent of Americans admit to being victims of emotional abuse, 20 and 84 percent of women and 75 percent of men report they know a toxic person in their life. 21 And they’re just as damaging as you might think - a study found that both emotional abuse and physical abuse contributed to depression and low self-esteem among victims 22 and that the severity of emotional abuse is a strong predictor of the frequency of physical abuse later on in the relationship. 23
So, how can you tell if you’re in a toxic relationship?
5 red flags in a relationship
A red flag in relationship is warning sign that something is not right. Recognizing personal risks has been established as one effective preventive measure against dating violence, and learning to identify the warning signs in a relationship may help reduce your chances of becoming a victim in toxic romantic relationships. 24
Red flags in a relationship can be easy to overlook, especially if you’re in the early stages of dating or you’re otherwise infatuated with your partner. But it’s essential to pay attention to these warning signs, as they may later develop into more severe forms of abuse. Here are some common red flags to look out for in a relationship.
1. They cross your boundaries and invade your privacy
When someone repeatedly does things that make you uncomfortable or violate your boundaries, it’s a red flag that something is wrong in the relationship. This might include reading your texts or emails without permission, going through your belongings, or showing up unannounced at your home or workplace.
Establishing boundaries in relationships is important, as they serve as “property lines” to protect your emotions, values, behaviors, and attitudes. 25 If your partner regularly ignores or dismisses your boundaries, it’s a sign that they don’t respect you or your needs.
Individuals often do this because they don’t feel secure in the relationship, and they want to control you. This behavior may also stem from insecurity, jealousy, or past trauma.
It’s important to talk to your partner about the boundaries they need to respect. If your partner is constantly crossing your boundaries. If they continue to violate your boundaries after you’ve talked to them about it, it may be time to reconsider the relationship.
2. They put you down or make you feel bad about yourself
In a healthy relationship, your partner should make you feel good about yourself, not bad. This includes things like putting you down, making fun of you, or making you feel guilty for things that are not your fault. These behaviors could all fall under emotional abuse, as they serve to chip away at your self-esteem and make you feel bad about yourself. 25
Often, people do this because they feel insecure or threatened in the relationship, and they may also do it to control or manipulate you. This behavior is not only damaging to your self-esteem, but it’s also a sign that your partner doesn’t respect you.
When your partner regularly makes you feel bad about yourself, it’s important to talk to them about it. If they don’t listen or try to gaslight you by making you think you’re overreacting, it may be time to end the relationship.
3. They accuse you of infidelity
Do you constantly feel you’re being accused of cheating or your partner is testing your loyalty? Trust is one of the most important qualities for developing and maintaining long-term romantic relationships, and if your partner is constantly accusing you of being unfaithful even without substantial evidence, it’s a sign that they don’t trust you. 26
Jealousy can also be a reason why your partner might constantly accuse you of cheating. Have you been spending more time with your friends or family lately? Or have you been working long hours? If so, they may feel insecure in the relationship and lash out as a result.
In some cases, projection may also be to blame for this behavior. If your partner has cheated on you in the past or is cheating on you, they may accuse you of doing the same thing to make themselves feel better.
Talking to your partner about their trust issues or jealousy can help to resolve the issue. There are plenty of ways to build trust in a relationship, and if your partner is willing to work on it with you, the two of you can overcome this obstacle.
4. They try to control you
When your partner starts trying to control your behavior or who you spend time with, it’s a sign that they don’t trust or respect you. This behavior may begin by telling you what to wear or who to spend time with, but it can quickly escalate to more severe forms of control, like monitoring your social media accounts or checking your phone without your permission.
Controlling behavior is a form of abuse, and it’s not something you should tolerate in a relationship. They’re trying to take away your autonomy and isolate you from the people you love. If your partner is exhibiting any controlling behavior, it’s important to talk to them about it. If they’re unwilling to change, it may be time to end the relationship. 27
A healthy relationship is built on trust, respect, and communication. If your partner makes you feel bad about yourself or tries to control you, it’s time to talk with them. If they don’t listen or try to gaslight you, it may be time to end the relationship.
5. They have trouble controlling their anger
Do you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells around your partner? Are they quick to anger, or do they have a short temper? Love and anger can go hand-in-hand in romantic relationships, but if your partner’s anger is out of control, it can be a serious problem in the relationship. 28
Anger is a normal emotion, but how we express it can make all the difference. Someone who has trouble controlling their anger may lash out verbally or physically, and this can be really harmful to the relationship. If your partner has a history of anger issues, it’s important to talk to them about it.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be an effective treatment for anger issues, and if your partner is willing to see a therapist and work on their anger, it can be a good sign for the future of your relationship. However, it may be time to hit the road if your partner refuses to seek help or make themselves accountable for their anger. 29
No relationship is perfect, but if your partner is constantly exhibiting these red flags, it may be time to reconsider your relationship as you might be in a toxic relationship. Trust, respect, and communication are essential for a healthy relationship, and if your partner is unwilling or unable to address the problem in your relationship, it may be time to call it quits.
How to make a relationship work
Keeping your relationship strong and healthy doesn’t have to be complicated, but it can require effort and attention. The successful establishment of romantic relationships has been associated with higher levels of well-being and a more fulfilling life, so it’s worth putting in the time and getting to know how to make a relationship work. 30
The quality of relationships can influence our physical and mental health in a number of ways, and love has been closely related to personal happiness. 30 31 It is associated with higher self-esteem, safety, satisfaction with life, positive affect, and achievement of personal and relational goals. 32 So if you want to make your relationship work, it’s essential to focus on the quality of your relationship and not just the quantity of time you spend together. On the other hand, poor-quality relationships have been linked to stress and poorer health and well-being. 33
So, how can you make your relationship work?
4 tips for building a great relationship
When it comes to relationships, quality is more important than quantity. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, some general tips can help you build a strong, healthy relationship with your partner.
If you want to reap the benefits of a healthy relationship, make sure to focus on the quality of your relationship and not just the quantity of time you spend together. Here are five tips to get you started.
1. Foster an environment where both of you are responsive to each other’s needs
When you’re a responsive partner, you’re attuned to your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and needs. You can communicate with them effectively and respond to their bids for connection. 34 This creates an environment where understanding, validation, and care thrive. 35
Being responsive to your partner shows that you care about them and are interested in meeting their needs. Individuals who see others as responsive become responsive themselves and perceive their partners as more responsive, resulting in high-quality relationships for both the partner and the self. 34
Of course, being responsive to your partner doesn’t mean you always have to agree with them or do what they want. It simply means that you’re open to hearing them out and considering their perspective. You also shouldn’t hesitate to express your own needs and wants. After all, a relationship is a collaborative effort, and partners need to be heard and respected.
2. Make sure you’re on the same page about your relationship goals
Goal-setting is vital in any relationship, whether you’re just starting or you’ve been together for years. When you and your partner are clear about your goals, you can work together to ensure you’re both moving in the right direction. Being on the same page about your relationship goals or having goal congruence won’t only help you weather any storms that come your way, but it can also be a way to ensure commitment and spend quality time together. 36
Setting individual goals as a couple and providing encouragement to each other can even make you more likely to achieve your goals, whether they’re personal or relationship-related, and improve psychological, physical, and relational well-being throughout adulthood. 37
Think about what you both want for the future and talk about it openly. Are you looking for a committed relationship? Do you want to get married and have children? What are your career goals? Once you know what you both want, you can start working together to make it happen.
3. Make time for yourself from time to time
Almost all relationship advice articles tell you that spending quality time together is important. And it is! Couples who spend time together are more likely to be satisfied with their relationship and feel closer to their partner. 38 But that doesn’t mean you should forget about your own needs and wants. Making time for yourself is just as important, too.
Self-care is essential for a healthy relationship because it allows you to recharge and take care of yourself physically and emotionally. When you’re taking care of yourself, you’re in a better position to take care of your relationship. In fact, if you and your partner/s all make time for self-care and maintain a positive view towards yourselves, your relationship is more likely to be more meaningful and satisfactory. 39
So go ahead and take some time for yourself. Get a massage, read your favorite book, or take a long bath. Relax and recharge, so you can show up for your relationship fully present and ready to give love and care.
Want to know how to work on yourself while in a relationship? Follow these tips on how to focus on yourself in a relationship.
4. Be honest with each other
Honesty is one of the most important foundation stones of any relationship. Being able to openly and honestly communicate with your partner is essential to maintaining a healthy, long-lasting relationship. Honesty is part of the comprehensive list published by the CDC that details healthy characteristics that should be a part of adolescent romantic relationships, and 79 percent of women agree that honesty is what keeps a relationship strong. 40
Of course, honesty doesn’t mean that you have to share everything with your partner or that you should always be 100% transparent. But it does mean being honest about your thoughts, feelings, needs, and wants and being honest about your past, present, and future.
Honesty creates intimacy, trust, and closeness in a relationship, so if you’re not being honest with your partner, you’re not allowing them to know and love you truly. Being open with each other also helps reduce the chances of misunderstandings and conflict.
4 ways to fix a struggling relationship
A struggling relationship can be frustrating, confusing, and heartbreaking. It can greatly affect your mental and emotional well-being, as well as your physical health. 41 If you’re in a struggling relationship, know that you’re not alone and there are ways to fix it.
There’s no single answer to fixing a struggling relationship; every couple is different, and what works for one might not work for another. However, there are certain things that can help salvage your relationship.
Here are four ways to fix a struggling relationship:
1. Work on your conflict-resolution skills
One of the most important things you can do to improve your relationship is to learn how to resolve conflict effectively. When disagreements and arguments arise, it’s important to be able to discuss them openly and calmly without resorting to name-calling, threats, or violence.
Working through conflict in a healthy way can significantly affect your well-being and help you feel closer to your partner. 5 This entails knowing when to compromise and when to stand your ground, as well as being able to effectively communicate your needs.
This also means learning to take accountability for your actions and being able to apologize when you’ve made a mistake.
2. Set time for each other
In today’s fast-paced world, getting caught up in work, errands, and other obligations can be easy. But it’s important to make time for your relationship too. This means setting aside time each day or week to spend together, just the two of you.
During the time you allot for each other, you can talk, cuddle, watch a movie, go for a walk, or do whatever you enjoy together. Take some time to plan date nights, which has been shown to positively affect relationships and self-expansion. 38
Be present and attentive to your partner during your time alone. Make sure to put away your phone, and turn off the TV and other distractions so you can focus on each other.
3. Learn to compromise
In any relationship, there will be times when you don’t see eye to eye. Negative interactions between partners are often the result of an unwillingness to compromise, which can result in feelings of resentment and even breakups. 42
In order to avoid this, it’s important to learn how to compromise with your partner. This means trying to see things from their perspective and finding a solution that works for both of you.
It’s also important to remember that compromise doesn’t mean giving up what you want, and it’s about finding a middle ground that works for both of you.
4. Spend time with people outside of the relationship
While it’s important to spend time together as a couple, it’s also necessary to have some time apart by yourself and with friends or family. This gives you time to pursue your interests and hobbies and time to build a strong support system outside of your romantic relationship.
Having a strong network of friends and family can provide you with emotional support, advice, and help when you need it. They can even help build your resistance to stress, and be there for you when you go through a rough patch in your relationship. 43
So don’t forget to schedule some time for yourself and your loved ones, even if it’s just an hour or two a week.
Making an effort to improve your relationship can be daunting, but it’s worth it. By following the tips above, you can start building a stronger, healthier, and happier relationship with your partner. Just remember to take things one day at a time and to always communicate with each other. With a little effort, you can create a relationship that will last a lifetime.
How to end a relationship
When you’re in a relationship, it’s important to remember that you’re not just with your partner, but you’re also with yourself. This means that you need to take care of yourself emotionally and mentally, as well as physically. If you find that you’re unhappy in your relationship, or if you’re not being treated the way you deserve, it may be time to end things.
Ending a relationship is never easy, but it’s important to remember that breakups aren’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, they’re necessary in order to help you grow and move on to better things. In fact, being able to come to terms with a breakup and understanding why and how it occurred can predict increases in relationship satisfaction and decreases in future romantic partner-reported conflict for both adult men and women. 44
Breakups can have both positive and negative effects, depending on the context. Steady daters and those who have experienced several breakups may actually benefit from the experience, as it can help them learn how to deal with future relationship conflicts and improve their ability to communicate with romantic partners. They’re also more likely to be more satisfied with their life and feel less lonely during their adolescent years than those who were continuously single. 45
Head over to this article to get to know everything on how to end a relationship.
3 signs a relationship is over
When it’s time to end things, there are usually some clear signs that a relationship is over. Differences in values, interests, and goals are just a few of the things that can slowly tear a relationship apart. And while disagreements are normal, a slow decline in interest or a lack of effort from one or both partners is often a sign that the relationship is no longer working.
There are many different reasons why a relationship may come to an end, but there are some common signs that it’s time to move on. If you’re noticing any of the following in your relationship, it may be time to start considering a breakup.
1. There is a decline in commitment
One of the most common signs that a relationship is over is a lack of commitment from one or both partners. This can manifest itself in many different ways, such as not being interested in talking about the future or taking steps to improve the relationship.
Commitment is often cited as a strong predictor of whether or not individuals decide to stay in their relationships, so it’s definitely something to keep an eye on. 46 A decline in commitment can be a result of many different things, such as feeling like you’re not being appreciated or feeling like you’re not on the same page as your partner.
If you’re no longer interested in making an effort to improve your relationship, it may be time to end things.
2. Imagining a future with each other is difficult
As relationships progress, it’s natural to start thinking about the future. This can include things like getting married, having kids, or even just moving in together. If you find that it’s difficult to imagine a future with your partner, it may be a sign that the relationship is no longer working.
In particular, having a declining commitment to wed has been established as a precursor to eventual relationship dissolution for both men and women. 47 So if you’re not sure if you see a future with your partner, it may be time to consider ending things. It’s important to remember that not every relationship is meant to last forever, and it’s okay to move on when you’re no longer happy.
3. Aggressive or violent communication
The way couples communicate with each during conflicts and disagreements has been linked to relationship satisfaction and stability, so it can be a major problem if you find that your communication with your partner has gone down the drain. 48 Perhaps you’re arguing more often than you used to, or maybe the arguments you do have are more intense and destructive.
Couples who use constructive communication strategies during conflicts tend to have greater relationship well-being, so it’s important to be able to communicate effectively with your partner and be able to express yourselves without resorting to violence or aggression. 49 If you find that you’re struggling to communicate effectively, you can try to work with a therapist or counselor to help improve the way you communicate with each other. However, if communication continues to be a problem, it may be time to end the relationship.
How to break up with someone
When it’s time to pull the plug on a relationship, there’s no easy way to do it. However, there are some things you can do to make the process as smooth and painless as possible.
The most important thing is to be respectful and considerate of your partner’s feelings. Avoid insults or put-downs, and try to avoid getting into a heated argument. It’s also important to be clear about why you’re breaking up and to avoid giving false hope by saying things like “we can still be friends” if you know that’s not what you want. Be specific about what you’re looking for in a partner and why the relationship isn’t working out.
If possible, break the news to your partner in person. This can be difficult, but it will allow you to have a more open and honest conversation. Verbal communication is more effective than written communication in this case, so try to avoid breaking up over the phone or via text message. 50
It’s also important to remember that you won’t be able to control how your partner reacts to the news, so try to be prepared for anything. They may become angry or upset, and they may say things that they don’t actually mean. Just remember that this is not about you, and try to remain calm and collected. Give them time to process the news and to adjust to the idea of being single again.
Ending a relationship is never easy, but it’s important to remember that you’re doing this because you believe it’s the best thing for both of you. With these tips in mind, you can hopefully make the process as smooth and painless as possible.
How to get over a break up
Depending on the person, getting over a breakup can take days, weeks, months, or even years. Individual differences and attachment styles can both play a role in how long it takes to get over a breakup. More specifically, secured individuals tend to go through relationship breakups with greater resilience, acceptance, and emotional recovery than insecure individuals. 51
Of course, regardless of your personality and attachment style, there are a few things you can do to try to speed up the process of getting over a breakup. First, it’s important to give yourself time to grieve and process the loss of the relationship. Don’t try to bottle up your emotions or pretend like everything is okay when it’s not. It’s perfectly normal to feel sad, angry, or confused after a breakup.
Journaling or writing about your thoughts and feelings can also be helpful. This can help you to express yourself and to make sense of what you’re going through. Instead of writing about the negative aspects of the breakup, try to focus on the positive things that have come out of it. For example, you may have more time to focus on your hobbies or to spend time with your friends and family. This is an effective technique for both men and women and promotes positive emotions including feelings of comfort, confidence, empowerment, optimism, satisfaction, thankfulness, and wisdom. 52
Therapy can help also you process your emotions and work through the pain. Talking to someone who can offer impartial support and advice can be incredibly helpful, and it may help you to realize that you’re not alone in how you’re feeling. If possible, try to find a therapist who has experience with relationship breakups.
Finally, it’s important to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally during this time. Make sure to eat a healthy diet, as what you eat can have a big impact on your mood and energy levels. 53 Exercise can also be helpful, as it releases endorphins that can improve your mood. 54 Avoid drinking alcohol or using drugs to cope with your emotions, as this will only make things worse in the long run. Most importantly, don’t enter rebound relationships just to try to forget about your ex or repair your self-esteem. 55 This will only delay the process of getting over the breakup and could lead to more pain and unsatisfactory relationships in the future.
By following these tips, you can hopefully make the process of getting over a breakup a little bit easier. Just remember to be patient with yourself and to take things one day at a time. With time, the pain will hopefully start to fade and you can begin to move on with your life and learn to love again.
Frequently asked questions about having a healthy relationship
1. Is taking a break in a relationship healthy?
If they’re done for the right reasons and with mutual agreement between both partners, taking breaks in a relationship can be healthy. If you’re considering taking a break, it’s important to talk to your partner about your reasons for doing so and to set clear boundaries.
For example, you may agree to not see or talk to each other for a certain period of time, or you may agree to only talk about certain topics. During this time, you’re not allowed to see or talk to other people either. If you want to take a break in your relationship, make sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons and that you have a plan.
It’s also important to note that taking a break doesn’t always mean that the relationship is over. Taking a break can give both partners some time to think about what they want and whether they’re willing to work on the relationship. Communicate with each other during the break to check in and see how things are going.
2. How often do couples fight in a healthy relationship?
All couples will inevitably fight from time to time, but how often can typically vary because of two variables: age and relationship length. 56 Newlyweds or couples who have only been together for a short period of time may fight more frequently because they’re still getting to know each other and learning how to communicate effectively. Couples who have been together for a longer period of time may fight less frequently, show more support for each other, and decrease negative communication. 56
It is also important to note that long-term adolescent relationships are remarkably different from long-term adult relationships. Teenage couples in long-term relationships, although viewed as very supportive, tend to fight more frequently than adult couples as time goes. These fights are generally about the same topics as adult couple’s fights, such as jealousy and control. 56
The bottom line is that all couples fight, but there is no standard number of times that is considered “healthy.” It’s more important to focus on how you’re fighting and whether you’re able to resolve conflicts in a constructive way, which can determine satisfaction and stability in your relationship. 48
If you’re concerned about the frequency of fighting in your relationship, try to communicate with your partner about it in a non-judgmental way. See if there’s anything you can do to improve the way you’re communicating with each other and resolve conflicts.
3. Is arguing healthy for a relationship?
Arguing is a natural and unavoidable result of the differences between people in any close relationships, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing. 1 In fact, being able to overcome these differences and communicate in a way that respects your and your partners’ interests can positively impact your well-being and those around you. 57
When constructive communication strategies are employed by couples during conflicts, it can result in greater relationship well-being and satisfaction. 58 And if you continually resolve your conflicts like this, you’re more likely to see your partner more positively and have a successful and stable relationship. 59
That being said, there is such a thing as arguing too much, which can lead to negative consequences. One study found that couples who spend more time arguing per day are less satisfied in their relationships and view their partners more negatively than couples who just talk things out. 60 So, it’s important to find a balance.
So arguing isn’t inherently unhealthy for a relationship, but it’s important to focus on how you’re arguing. Make sure that you’re communicating in a way that is respectful and try to see your partner’s perspective. If you can do this, then arguments can actually be beneficial for your relationship and help you develop strong coping skills that can prepare you for other challenges in life. 61
4. What are healthy boundaries in a relationship?
Boundaries foster or maintain the growth of intimate relationships by providing individuals with a sense of safety and space to explore their thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and beliefs without judgment or criticism. 62 Boundaries exist in all types of relationships, whether they’re with family members, friends, or romantic partners.
There are many different types of boundaries that can be established in relationships, but some examples include physical boundaries (such as needing personal space), emotional boundaries (such as being able to express emotions without feeling like you’re being judged), and sexual boundaries (such as setting limits on physical intimacy). 63
It’s important to have healthy boundaries in relationships because they provide a sense of safety and security. When you know what your boundaries are, you’re more likely to feel protected and respected in your relationships. 25 Additionally, healthy boundaries can help you avoid arguments and conflict by communicating your needs to your partner clearly and concisely.
If you’re not sure what your boundaries are, or if you’re having trouble communicating them to your partner, consider talking to a therapist or counselor. They can help you explore your needs and figure out how to establish healthy boundaries in your relationships.
5. What is cheating in a relationship?
Cheating or infidelity is defined as “a violation of a couple’s assumed or stated contract regarding emotional and/or physical exclusivity." 64 This phenomenon is nothing new and is a lot more common than people think - a 2007 meta-analysis of 50 studies reported a lifetime prevalence of infidelity in 34 percent of men and 24 percent of women. 65
Alfred Kinsey, a social scientist who first looked at this issue in the 1940s, found that there are two ways that people can cheat on their partners, which is either ’emotional’ or ‘physical’ intimacy with someone else. In a heterosexual marriage, if a woman believes her husband is more emotionally invested in his mistress than he is in her, then that affair is more likely to result in divorce, Kinsey found. This means that infidelities vary in their severity, but all of them can be damaging to a relationship. 66
When people cheat, it’s often because they’re not getting their needs met in their current relationship. This could be due to a number of reasons, but it can also depend on certain demographic variables, such as gender, age, and education. 67
6. Why do people cheat in a relationship?
There are many reasons why people cheat in relationships, but one of the most common is their declining satisfaction with the relationship. 68 This could be due to a number of factors, such as feeling neglected or unappreciated by their partner.
Several risk factors have also been associated with cheating, such as having an insecure attachment style, anxious or depressed individuals with unsupportive partners, intimacy issues, certain personality traits such as neuroticism, alcohol consumption, income discrepancies, and even religious affiliation. 69 70 71 72 73 74 75
While cheating can sometimes be a result of a larger problem in the relationship, it’s important to understand that ultimately cheating is a choice you or your partner makes - and the person being cheated on has no control over that. If you’re struggling with infidelity in your relationship, it’s seeking professional help to address the underlying issues can be incredibly helpful.
7. What are the characteristics of a cheating woman?
A cheating partner may act differently in several ways. However, when it comes to women who are more likely to cheat because of unsatisfactory emotional connections and seek the feeling of closeness from somewhere else, there are some common signs you can look out for. 76
The first is a withdrawal from the relationship - she may become distant and start to pull away emotionally as she starts to invest more in the other relationship. She may also become less interested in intimacy with you, or start to make excuses as to why she’s not available.
You might also notice that she becomes more critical of you and your relationship, and is always looking for ways to start an argument. She may also start to dress differently or take more care with her appearance, which could be a sign that she’s trying to impress someone else.
If you suspect your partner is cheating, the best thing you can do is talk to her about it. If she’s unwilling to address the issue, then you might need to consider seeking professional help to save your relationship.
8. How can I get over insecurities after being cheated on?
Moving on after a breakup can be incredibly challenging, as it can be difficult to overcome feelings of insecurity and self-doubt. But it’s not impossible - and there are things you can do to help yourself heal and move on from the pain.
First, understanding that the breakup wasn’t your fault can be crucial in helping you to let go of any feelings of self-blame. Remember that you didn’t do anything to deserve being cheated on and that your partner’s infidelity is a reflection of their character and issues.
It can also be helpful to talk to a therapist or counselor, who can provide you with support and guidance as you navigate your way through the breakup. They can help you to understand and manage your emotions, as well as give you practical advice on how to cope with the situation. Being able to the reasons behind your breakup can help you in dealing with partner-reported romantic conflict in the future, as well as an increase satisfaction in your future relationships. 6
Finally, surrounding yourself with positive people who care about you can make a world of difference. Whether its friends, family, or even a therapist, having a strong social support can be crucial in helping you to heal, deal with stress, and move on from the pain of being cheated on. 77
9. How can I confront a cheater?
Holding a confrontation might be the last thing you want to do after finding out about infidelity in your relationship. But it can be an important step in helping you to move on, as well as giving you closure and a sense of resolution. Direct communication (whether positive or negative) can also facilitate change in a relationship. 78
When you’re ready, sit down with your partner and calmly explain how you feel. Avoid accusatory language, and try to focus on how their actions have made you feel. It’s important that you give them a chance to explain themselves, as this can help you to understand the reasons behind their cheating.
Once you’ve both had a chance to speak, decide together what kind of future you want for your relationship. If you decide to stay together, be honest about what you’re willing to do to rebuild trust. And if you decide to end things, do so with respect and kindness.
No matter what you decide, remember that you have a right to feel angry, hurt, and upset. Cheating can be a traumatic experience, and it’s important to give yourself time to grieve and heal.
The best relationship books to help you survive and thrive
Whether single or in a relationship, it can be tough to navigate the waters of love. These books offer advice and guidance from experts and real-life couples alike, giving you the tools you need to make your relationship work. These books will surely provide some valuable insights if you are looking for a way to spice up your love life or simply learn how to better communicate with your partner.
- Love: The Psychology of Attraction: A Practical Guide to Successful Dating and a Happy Relationship
- Single, Dating, Engaged, Married: Navigating Life and Love in the Modern Age
- The Power of Four Bases for Relationships: Can You Hit a Home Run in a Relationship?
- Communication and Relationship: A Guide to Deeper Connection, Trust and Intimacy to Improve Communication and Strengthen Your Bond as a Couple
- Couple's Bucket List: 101 Fun, Engaging Dating Ideas
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