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What is a healthy relationship?

Relationship is co-creative, forged through ongoing interaction between two people. The health of the relationship depends on the skills and emotional intelligence of both people, as well as the degree of trust that there is basic respect and love. The benefit of that belief: trying again. Communication about needs and feelings is hard.

Most people grow up witnessing unhealthy family interactions and need to learn relationship skills. That need often shows up in romantic connections because of the intensity of the drive to be understood at an emotional level, and unconscious reminders of earlier struggles - especially in the family of origin.

In a healthy relationship each assumes there will be differences, conflict, misunderstanding and confusion at times. There is a lot to learn about another human being, and most of us don’t even know ourselves why we said/did that thing that just sent the other off the rails. It is normal to trigger self and other in the beginning stages of relationship (I.e: the first year or two).

Relationship is humbling. We are all works in progress. If, after cooling down, you can take turns listening to each other’s feelings without interruption, you will learn how to keep from triggering a defensive, fighting stance in the other. The conflict then becomes an opportunity for a better, more loving connection.

Self-awareness and empathy are the two cornerstones of love. If you can notice that you’re getting stressed out (the job, the news, your mother/father/sibling, etc) and let the other know that it’s not because of them, you are practicing healthy relationship skills. It’s even better if you can let them know what they can do that would specifically help. Telling the other you need space when you get too angry to listen is another example of self-awareness. Nothing works when we’re hot.

Empathy is the ability to care about the other’s feelings and understand how s/he could have them - even if they are not your feelings. This can only be achieved through listening openly and without interruption. If you are trying to get the other to understand your feelings at the same time, the conflict will escalate.

Healthy relationship requires apology with action: showing the other you mean it. Behaving differently.

It also requires lots of fun! Making sure you get away together to tune in to each other. Taking time to check in about your experiences, feelings, needs. Getting silly. Goofing off together. Playing.