Tell me if you’ve ever been in this situation: you’re out with your friends, just hanging out, maybe chatting at dinner or in your dorm room together. Then, offhandedly, you mention the person you’re in a relationship with. The whole room gets a bit quieter. You ask your friends what’s wrong and they start trying to give you advice on your relationship. Like how you should make sure you know where your partner is at all times or maybe how you should really look into getting them some better clothes. You honestly don’t know how to respond without feeling insulted.
We’ve all been judged at some point in any of our relationships about why we do or don’t do certain things.
As we all know, every healthy relationship needs to be built on trust, loyalty, and good communication. Each of these five points I’m about to list for you guys encompasses those very qualities.
Conflict with anybody, be it a friend, a family member, or even someone you are dating, is inevitable. Even if it’s only one small thing you disagree on, like whether or not The Walking Dead is better than Breaking Bad. Still, it happens all the time. Why? Because we’re different people with unique feelings and viewpoints. And especially when it comes to arguments about your actual relationship, it’s better to get things as out in the open as possible. In fact, arguing is one of the most crucial parts of any relationship. If you are taking the time to discuss a subject, it means you are actually communicating with each other, sharing your thoughts and opinions. Even if you both agree to disagree, it still helps you to learn more about that person. Many couples like to “play fight”, meaning they are arguing, but it’s more played for laughs between the two. They will smile at each other or their tone might change to something more flirtatious. This shows how much you actually trust that your partner won’t become offended or if they do, by accident, you know them well enough to tell the difference. However, I’m not saying you should start an argument for no reason. Getting into a “nothing fight” will probably do more harm than good. What I mean by a “nothing fight” is exactly what you might think; arguing over absolutely nothing. It is fighting just for the sake of starting an argument. This is where arguing can become unhealthy as you are not actually trying to work through an issue, you just want to unleash whatever angry you have on the other person.
Giving your partner private time.
We all love to be around our significant other most of the time, but every now and then it’s best to give each other some space. This doesn’t mean you should only hang out once a week, but maybe this next weekend, go out with your friends instead or visit a family member. It doesn’t mean you don’t want to be around your partner; it’s allowing the other to breathe. Before you dated your partner, you had your own personal life, hobbies and other friends. So did your partner. The phrase, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” applies a lot to this idea. If you are both around each other so often, you may start to become annoyed with the person quicker than you would normally. Socialization is a very basic human need, but variety is important. Just think; when you see your partner again, you’ll have more things to talk about with them and new stories to tell.
Being able to criticize each other.
Nobody is perfect and even though you may love someone, there will be some things you won’t like about that person or maybe something other people find annoying or upsetting. This is where honesty becomes vital in a relationship. Many times, the person may not even be aware about what they are doing. They may consider chewing with their mouth open to be perfectly normal. However, if you take the moment to explain to them how rude and disgusting that actually you find that, they may take your feelings into consideration. Of course, this habit only works as long as the person is respectful. Taking the scenario above, you wouldn’t say, “Hey, quit that! God, you’re so gross!” That may be what you’re thinking, but the person will be completely caught off guard and will possibly get insulted. Instead, a better way to phrase it might be, “Hey, you’re sort of getting food on my plate.”
Accepting each other’s flaws.
Just as it is important to speak honestly about the things you don’t like about your partner, it is also beneficial to accept things that cannot be changed. As long as the flaw is not destructive or a deathly serious issue, it must be accepted eventually. If you discuss the issue with your partner, explaining respectfully why it bothers you (their taste—or lack thereof—in fashion, their favorite tv show, their weird hobbies, etc.), you both may discover that it is not something that can be changed. For better or worse, that is only a tiny part of what makes that person who they are. These flaws should not be ignored, but accepted wholeheartedly. This is the best way to love the whole person.
Admitting attraction for other people.
I once heard my friend’s mother joke, “Just because you can’t buy, doesn’t mean you can’t window shop!” This was during a conversation about finding other people cute while you’re dating someone. Honestly, the way she put it was a bit unsettling and crude, but there is still truth to her words. Finding someone else attractive is not unhealthy, it’s human nature. Some are under the delusion that when you are in love with someone, you can’t feel attraction for anyone but that person. It’s very normal to have an attraction to another person, whether it is a random stranger or even a co-worker. It depends how honest you can be about your attraction. In turn, if you are the one hearing about this, don’t immediately be offended and hurt. As odd as it may sound, be grateful that your partner wants to be honest with you about their feelings. It means they trust you with something so personal, just as personal as it was for them to admit that they liked you or maybe even loved you.