5 Habits of Healthy Relationships

Sometimes dating can be like trying to navigate through a minefield. The emergence of ‘hook-up culture’ and the introduction of dating apps like Tinder have only made the already confusing art of trying to get someone to like you back even more overwhelming. What’s a side chick? How am I supposed to introduce myself to someone I think is cute? What if I’m a taurus but they’re a virgo? What key things make a modern relationship work? As for the last question, I have a few answers up my sleeve.

1. Youre open and honest with each other.
Unsurprisingly, studies show that the biggest part of having successful relationships — romantic or otherwise — is good communication. Talk about how you feel often, and ask them how they feel. Speak up about that little thing that bothered you today so it doesn’t become a big deal later on. Learn how to argue better. Nothing solves itself if all you do is scream about it, so take a deep breath and focus on a solution. Ask yourself: Am I still going to want this person in my life tomorrow? A good partner will listen to and respect how you feel, and remember:

2. You are generous with your compliments and affection.
If being verbally or physically affectionate with your partner feels like a chore, then something is wrong. You don’t have to be clingy or cliche. It can be subtle and still have a huge impact. For example, my boyfriend knows when I’ve taken time to look good, and he will say something, whether it’s just “Damn!” or “Those shoes you picked go well with that.” It makes my face light up every time no matter how often he does it. Similarly, to give a non-physical example, my boyfriend works a lot. So whenever I see him looking worn down or discouraged, I tell him, “I’m so proud of how hard you work.” That takes no effort on my part, but I can see that he appreciates it.

3. You make it a point to cut down on screen time when around them.
Today’s gadgets are so cool, right? We can use them for just about everything now. But in this modern, fast-paced world filled with a dozen different ways to communicate, it’s important not to forget the value of setting down your phone and giving all of your attention to your date. Yes, it is rude to text at the dinner table. No, it will not kill you to not scroll through Instagram every 20 minutes.

4. You have a physical or creative activity you enjoy doing together, and you love to try new things as a couple.
Sorry, but ‘Netflix and chill’ doesn’t count as a mutual hobby. Do you both like working out? Go to the gym together! Gaming? Play something on the Xbox together. It can even be something new that none of you have done before. Studies show that couples who try new things together on a regular basis are happier than those who don’t. It’s all about the novelty of the new. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and switch things up every once in a while.

5. You have your own lives outside of your relationship.
It’s okay to rely on your partner for emotional support. It is not okay to rely on them for all of it. Countless studies and specialists have said that people in happy relationships maintain other relationships and hobbies away from their significant other. That’s probably because having a strong sense of self and independence is critical for good mental health. Just because you enter into a romantic relationship does not mean your other platonic and familial relationships are suddenly secondary. Does maintaining all of these relationships take effort? Yes, but if you’re not willing to put forth that effort, perhaps you aren’t ready for a relationship in the first place.

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