By Marissa Hart
Hey friends! With Valentine’s Day just passed (and plenty of discount candy available now!), I thought it would be a good time to talk about relationships. Relationships are literally something we can’t live without; not just with significant others, with friends, coworkers and professors. It’s really important to form healthy and beneficial relationships.
To have a successful relationship of any type, there are a few healthy traits to keep in mind. The biggest one anyone will tell you is that there needs to be communication. (Stop rolling your eyes at me! I’m serious!) Talking with your partner about things that bother you, whether internal or external, is super important. If your boyfriend still doesn’t take out the trash when it’s his turn, you need to actually tell him. Giving him passive aggressive notes or comments isn’t going to solve anything. If your girlfriend interrupts you when you’re talking about how you guys need new towels, tell her you need her attention. You need to be honest with your feelings and frustrations; it’s a matter of respect for you and your partner, and both of your needs.
Something I’ve learned in my relationships is that if you establish an honesty policy right away, things tend to go smoother. If something is wrong, it makes it easier to open a conversation about it, and take a step to solving the issue. Something else that helps is being open right away with your intentions for the relationship. When I first started dating my fiancé, one of the first things I told him was that I was dating to find a spouse. I wanted something real, something not based in sex. Where that had freaked previous partners out, Connor agreed that that’s what he was looking for as well. If I hadn’t said anything, our fundamental goals might have been in conflict. Can you think of a relationship where your goals were totally different than your partner’s?
Another hugely important part of any relationship is trust. You’re your own person, and you have thoughts, hobbies, friends etc. of your own. If they’re really wary of people you’re around, to the point of texting/calling you a lot, that should be a red flag. A relationship is an added layer to you. You don’t need to answer for yourself every minute; or why you cut your hair, changed your profile picture, didn’t text back right away, like that color, band, or food, etc. Letting someone know where you are or what you’re up to is totally different. They care about you. They want to make sure you’re safe and in a good place emotionally, mentally and physically. They need to be able to tell you if they’re unsure about something. And the same goes for you: if you get weird vibes from one of her friends, tell her. Maybe she goes and hangs out over there instead of having the friend in a space shared with you. If you feel like something is really bothering him or giving him anxiety, offer to listen. Partners need to be able to express (cough: communicate!) that what is being said or felt is out of concern. It’s about respect and trust.
There’s one more thing that I think is worth mentioning while we’re talking about relationships: sex. Sex is awesome. But feeling like you need to repay someone for a nice dinner or gift with sex is a guilt trip. It’s a big part of manipulation, which violates trust within the relationship. You don’t owe sex to anyone. Not your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, friends with benefits, stranger who bought you a drink at the bar, anyone. Sex needs to be consensual and be emotionally safe for all involved parties. For more on safe, consensual sex, look at source 3. And, lastly (last thing): trust and communication are especially important in the bedroom! If you don’t like something, say so! If you’re getting it on with someone and they change their mind about it, let them. It’s not emotionally safe for them if you don’t (and if you changed your mind, you’d want them to stop, too. Be fair!). Talk about preferences beforehand, and enjoy the experience.;)
Enjoy the candy on sale! I am.
general healthy relationship info:
Consent and Sex:
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