It’s back-to-school season, and while you may be returning to the same school or going off to college, it’s important to remember how important healthy relationships are as you get settled back into the groove of going to class, studying for tests, participating in afterschool activities and generally being busier than in the summer.
No matter your relationship status, one of the most essential parts of any relationship is communication. Talk about what you both want and what you both expect out of the relationship. For instance, do you both feel like the two of you should spend lots of time together, or does one of you need lots of space? Getting on the same page now means being able to enjoy each other and avoiding misunderstandings about what you both want.
Compromise is another important aspect of any relationship. You’re bound to disagree — in fact, disagreements are a natural part of healthy relationships. Finding a compromise between what the two of you want, however, can prove more challenging. If one of you needs time apart from the other for a while because they’ve got a huge project, for example, talk about ways to see each other without it interfering with the work. Remember not to get in each other’s face, call each other names, sulk or use the silent treatment. Listen to what your partner has to say. It might surprise you!
If you’ve been in a relationship for a while, maybe you feel like you’re in a rut with your partner. Every relationship can use a boost! Talk about activities you both like and do them together. It doesn’t have to be expensive — it can be as simple as a walk in the park. Use your date time together to talk about what you both like about each other, and why you both want to stay with each other. Even if you’re not in a relationship, you can give yourself a boost by planning a fun outing with friends or giving yourself a “me” day to do whatever you want.
Having healthy boundaries is another way to keep your relationship secure. Set boundaries together. You and your partner shouldn’t feel like this is a trap, nor should they feel like there’s a lack of trust. It’s about expressing what makes both of you feel comfortable. No one should be stopping the other from going out with friends without the other, blocking them from participating in hobbies and activities or demanding to know passwords to your phone, email, Twitter, Tumblr or more.
A relationship based on mutual respect and open communication will go so much farther than one rooted in power, control and mistrust. If your partner is doing things like yelling at you, humiliating you in front of your friends, acting super jealous or manipulating you into doing things you don’t want, they could be the early warning signs of abuse.
Not sure whether you’re in a healthy relationship? Taking our Healthy Relationships Quiz can help you!