Healthy and close intimate relationships

The sense of belonging we can gain from a relationship contributes to our feelings of self-worth. However, self-worth cannot be derived from someone else. A healthy intimate relationship reinforces your own self-acceptance and belief in yourself.

  • You have common interests, especially leisure time and recreational interests. (However, a few differences can add excitement)
  • A sense or romance or magic between you and your partner. A quality of attraction. This is usually strong in the first 6 months. The relationship then requires the ability to renew, refresh, or rediscover the magic as it matures.
  • You and your partner need to be well matched in relative needs for togetherness. Conflict can arise if you have a greater need for freedom than the other, or if one of you has a need for protection that the other does not want to provide. Some partners may hold a double standard- in other words, they are unwilling to allow you what they require for themselves. (Trust, freedom)
  • Mutual acceptance and support of each other’s personal growth and change. It is well known that when only one person is growing in a relationship, or feeling unvalidated in their growth by the other, the relationship often ends.
  • Mutual acceptance of each other’s faults and weaknesses. After the initial romantic months of a relationship are over, each partner must find enough good in the other to tolerate and accept the others faults and weaknesses.
  • Regular expressions of affection and touching. An intimate relationship cannot be healthy without both partners being willing to overtly express affection. This includes non-sexual expression like hugging and cuddling.
  • Sharing feelings. Genuine closeness between two people requires emotional vulnerability and a willingness to open up and share your deepest emotions.
  • Good communication. This entails being genuinely willing to listen to your partner and both partners being able to express how they feel and ask for what they want directly. (Opposed to complaining, demanding or threatening)
  • A strong sense of mutual trust. You need to feel you can rely on each other and trust them with your deepest feelings. This needs to built over time and maintained.
  • Common values and a larger sense of purpose. (friendships, education, finances, sex, health, family life) Tasks in common like raising children, running a business, commitment are also important.

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