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  • Writer's pictureMagda

6 Pillars of Healthy Relationships

Updated: May 25, 2022



It can sometimes feel like a mission impossible to find the right person. Many of us spend hours on dating apps, going on blind dates set up by close friends, and even attending speed dating and singles events, just to get one step closer to finally landing 'The One' (if that's your thing of course!).


When it finally happens we tend to feel this massive wave of excitement. We want to shout out from the rooftops about how happy we are. Little things that used to bother us, annoy us much less. It is easier to get up in the morning in anticipation of that first text, you spend more time taking care of yourself to make a good impression. Ahh, these beginnings are priceless! We see everything through rose-coloured glasses during these first stages of a relationship. It is as fantastic as it is dangerous since it can end up blinding us and stopping us from seeing the relationship for what it really is, putting some of us on a journey to what I call ‘Relationship Purgatory’. A space from which you're not sure how to get out of, as you willingly put yourself in it in the first place. All the red flags you noticed at the beginning were overshadowed by something great, be it sex, compliments or maybe the other person’s company in itself.



We all know what toxic relationships can do to people. We've seen it way too many times, not only in movies but too often in real life too.

So how do we start a healthy relationship and what do we do when we realise the relationship we are in isn't healthy? Well, bear with me! In this post, I am going to talk about the six pillars of healthy relationships and point to some red flags we should watch out for. As much as I am focusing on romantic relationships in this post, you will see that all of these can be applied in any type of relationship - whether it be romantic or a platonic friendship.


Here we go!


Pillar 1

Communication


Good communication is key to making your relationship work. Partners in healthy relationships are capable of talking and listening to each other in a healthy manner. Each partner should feel comfortable talking about any subject with the other without fear of an argument or escalating conversation. This does not mean a disagreement will not occur, but if it does mean they are able to work through it together and share their feelings.


Communication Red Flags:

* Fear of sharing your views or opinions because you are afraid of your partner's reaction.

* Trying to talk about an issue you are experiencing in the relationship results in anger or an argument. (Indicating that the relationship may be one-sided)

* Talking about your feelings results in an argument.


Pillar 2

Respect


I cannot stress this one enough. Every person has the right to be respected. In a relationship, each partner should be valued and respected for who they are, their feelings deserve to be validated. A partner should never be looked down upon for their views, beliefs, gender, sexuality, interests or any other identity characteristics. When you enter a relationship it's important that you value the other person in the same way you want to be valued.


Respect Red Flags (or lack of it):

* When a partner disrespects you in a private or public setting by making snarky comments or gestures.

* Physical violence.

* Disrespect towards friends or family members.


Pillar 3

Personal Identity


It’s important to maintain separate identities within a romantic relationship. Where each member can maintain their own identity and all the stuff that makes them who they are. It is easy to spend every waking minute with your partner, especially when you live together, but is it healthy? No. Practice responsible individualism, where each person is in charge of their 'self-love supply'. It is simply allowing us to care for ourselves at the same time as caring for our partner. Spend time apart, do things separately. Do not change who you are for your partner, be an individual who loves another for being themselves.


Personal Identity Red Flags:

* You change your interests and hobbies to suit your partner's needs, forgetting your own (or vice versa)

* Your partner forces you to like or do things that you do not enjoy


Pillar 4

Honesty


It’s essential to be sincere with ourselves about our feelings and to be honest with the other person about what is going on in our life (or the relationship). I had several clients who complained about their relationship failing but, after closer investigation, we discovered that honesty was missing from their relationships. They went into it pretending to be someone they were not because they thought this is what the other person would prefer. They wanted to fit their partners’ expectations. It’s easy to pretend that you are someone you think your new partner will like at the beginning and for a while it might well work, but how long do you think you'd be able to keep that up? A month, six months, maybe a year? The truth always comes out. Be raw, open and honest. Don't hide things that may come out later because you fear losing that person. The truth always comes out so you're just delaying your suffering. So open up, talk freely, and be raw. If the other person doesn't like it, they were not meant for you.


Honesty Red Flags:

* You notice little lies from your partner early in the relationship but fear bringing them up.

* You pretend to be someone you're not to fit the other persons' expectations.

* You secretly expect the other person to change to fit your values.


Pillar 5

Equality


Equality in a relationship means that each person's needs are respected and met (to a reasonable degree of course) as opposed to just one partner dominating what they want or need. Romantic partners have a responsibility for the relationship and should care for it. Reciprocity is the basis of fair love, of healthy love. When we give love, we expect love. Inequality causes imbalance. So try to find a balance between yours, your partners and your relationship needs, and find that sweet spot that keeps everyone happy.


Equality Red Flags:

* One partner is demanding their needs to be met but does not do anything to reciprocate

* You are being disrespected by your partner because of your sex, religion or race (or vice versa)


Pillar 6

Trust


Trust in a couple means not having to verify everything the other person does and says. It is feeling like we can trust the other person to share the good moments just as much as the bad ones. Lack of trust can cause massive amounts of anxiety and may lead to tension in a relationship. Trust is the basis for all the pillars above. Without trust, the relationship is doomed to failure.


Trust Red Flags:

* You feel like your partner is hiding something

* You're hiding things from your partner

* You're anxious and worried every time you spend time apart

* You feel like you constantly need to check up on your partner when you or they are out



Remember that each relationship is different and the above is based on the basics I see as the most important in romantic relationships. There may be a few things you would add to it, or maybe some that you'd take away. Either way, remember you've got to do what's right for you. If you are truly happy you may not even need to look at any of these as you're sorted. However, if you're a person that continues to search for this little spark, a glimpse of love and understanding - these tips might really help you find a balanced and healthy relationship or may help improve the one you’re already in. Remember, take what you need from this. A definition for each of these pillars may be different to you than it is to me based on your beliefs and conditioning. Try to be open-minded and fill your heart with love. Good luck!


With Love,


Magda

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