Healthy relationships are a significant component of one’s self-care and overall wellness. We are all dedicated, driven young women on the path to success, but that often leaves little time to focus on relationships. I’ve identified a few key ways to maintain healthy relationships while making and keeping time for yourself.
I want to start with the most natural variable first: communication. I know, I know…we all know the importance of communication. However, it is easy to think you have this one in the bag and then take a step back and realize you may only have it…well…half in the bag. To communicate appropriately, you need to make sure that you and your partner are talking through (not yelling about) issues. That means listening and trying to understand their point of view, too! For example, let’s say you saw your partner comment a heart on another person’s Instagram post, and it made you jealous, angry, and uncomfortable. Instead of secretly looking through their phone to see what else might make you feel the same way, tell them that you saw it and that it made you uncomfortable (calmly, I promise it will help). In a healthy relationship, both parties will validate and communicate about all issues, including jealousy.
Most people don’t think that consent plays a role once you are in a relationship. But think about it, even if you have known someone for a while, if they want donuts on Tuesday, that doesn’t mean they want donuts every other day of the week. In other words, you don’t always know what the other person is thinking, and they don’t always know what you’re thinking. Which brings us back to communication. Talk to your partner about what they want and make sure to ask them and listen to them every time you engage in sexual activity, watch a movie, or anything and everything—make no assumptions. And make sure they do this for you, too! If you don’t want to do something, let them know. It’s okay not to want to be sexually active with a partner, and they need to be okay with it as well.
In every good relationship, at some point, you and your partner will want some space, which is normal. It’s super important to keep some friends and activities for yourself. For example, maybe you and your BFF go to a spin class every week. Keep that for you and you only! Also, make sure you have some time alone as well, you can use it to catch up on your favorite show, take a bath, or just about anything as long as it involves only you. This will help you to make your relationship more about working together, not “being one entity.”
Relationships are most healthy when both people can talk about anything that’s bothering them, respect their partner’s boundaries, and keep some time for themselves. We are often told that your partner is “your other half,” but, in my opinion, you are a whole without your partner. Make sure you keep sight of that. Relationships can be exciting and can make you happy, but both people need to work to keep them that way. By incorporating the above three variables into your relationships is an excellent step towards the goal of fostering respect in every relationship, romantic and otherwise.
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