How to Have a Healthy Relationship With Your Partner
This is not an article on how to have the perfect relationship, but how to have a healthy one instead. There is a major difference. I think it’s common to want to chase after the figment of a “perfect” relationship, much like the ones we fantasize about in Hollywood or in fairytale storybooks. Although some experiences of love can sure feel that way, we have to remember we’re getting the filtered version, the version that fits into a 2-hour frame. A long-term relationship, however, has a number of sequels.
My husband and I have been together for 12 years! I know, even I can’t believe it. That’s a rarity these days. I feel like an anomaly. While I’ve always loved the man to pieces, we didn’t start out easy. There was a lot of fighting. And time and time again there were doubts and fears of all kinds. However, today we are stronger than ever. And I’m about to tell you why.
Be a Free Spirit
Sometimes couples can be attached at the hips, and often it’s like this in the beginning when you find your favorite human. But after a while this can become suffocating; so allow your relationship to grow out of that stage. Think about some of the mystery you once had when you first met each other. That feeling of independence keeps each other attractive and alluring in the long run.
It’s totally okay to take a break from each other once and a while, especially if you plan on being with this person for the rest of your life. It doesn’t have to mean anything is wrong. Having that room to breathe can actually be revitalizing. You could rent a bike at Cheap Rentals and ride the boardwalk solo at Mission Bay or grab drinks and dinner with your girlfriends at Village Vino.
Allow each other to be humans and make mistakes; the fewer expectations the better. Not to say there can’t be boundaries and mutual understandings, but as soon as you have expectations, it often leads to a lack of appreciation. Giving your partner the benefit of the doubt and knowing that they are always trying their very best will give them room to comfortably be themselves. And don’t you want the same for yourself anyways?
The next time you find yourself angry and your expectations unmet, I challenge you to think about what they have going on. Maybe they have a lot on their plates right now. Cut them some slack now and then. Life is hard enough; we don’t need our partners to be on our backs too.
Fill Your Own Cup First
This may be the most important point of all so listen up. Make sure to fill your own cup first. What I mean by that is please don’t get mad at your partner if he/she can’t fill your needs. They are just one person and with many other responsibilities, not just you. We often put the most pressure on our partners. In the end, we should be able to make ourselves happy and not rely on anyone else for our own happiness. There’s nothing more unloving than demanding another person to make you happy! So do yourself a favor and figure out how to do that yourself. It will benefit the both of you.
A great way to do this is to follow your passions or your joy. Often we look to our lover for that, but there are so many ways to experience joy, like playing ball with your dog at Kate Sessions Park, or checking out your favorite band at the Casbah, or even people watching at a cafe like Pappalecco.
Appreciation Never Gets Old
Have you taken your partner for granted lately? You may see them day in and day out but that doesn’t make it any less special that they are choosing to be with you on a daily basis. Yes, it’s a choice and they could be anywhere else in the world but they choose to be here with you. And that’s no less than amazing. So make sure to say thank you often. There’s nothing like a little appreciation to boost your mood, your esteem and bring the romance back into your life.
That may be looking them in the eye and telling them how great they are, or maybe buying them a funny card at Pigment, or purchasing their favorite flavor at Cupcakes a la Yola. Anything to show a little more appreciation can go a long way.
You Set the Tone
Remember you set the tone of any situation you walk into. Yes, sometimes we all get in a mood but know that your mood affects your partner and vice versa. Be aware of the vibes that you’re giving out and what you’re bringing home!
If you are not in a good mood, give your partner a heads up. Don’t just use it as an excuse to pick a fight about something trivial and irrelevant until they ask you, what’s wrong? Take that mood elsewhere. Your partner does not deserve that kind of treatment. I recommend storing bath bombs from Lush for these occasions so that you can take some personal time off to simmer down.
Express yourself authentically. Sometimes we keep our feelings pent up inside because we want to get along and we don’t want to bring things up to the surface out of fear of fighting. But sometimes we have to. Don’t keep it bottled too long or you might just burst into flames. So, find time to actively express your feelings together in a safe and understanding space. And do this often so it doesn’t unexpectedly blow up in both of your faces.
This can be done once a week or once a month based on your personal needs. Sometimes it even helps to write a letter on how you’re feeling lately. That way the other person has time to read and reflect on it. Then they can get back to you once they’ve collected their thoughts.
Trust and Let Go
At some point, you just have to trust and let go. Life can be very dramatic at times with all kinds of events happening on both ends. Sometimes you just have to put the drama on the shelf and trust that things will eventually fall back into equilibrium.
Easier said than done, you might say, but this is why I love meditating because it gives me time to clear my head and surrender all things out of control back to the Universe, God, Creator, Source, whatever you want to call it. Whatever your spiritual practice is, whether it’s yoga at Sojourn Healing or surfing Pacific Beach, it’s important to find time to just let everything go and trust that everything will be okay. Life can be heavy but it’s not our responsibility to carry the world on our shoulders. So, just breathe.
Don’t forget to play and giggle in between the serious parts of life. Sometimes we get so busy or like I said, life can be a little dramatic. This is the perfect time to do something ridiculous or maybe go on a spontaneous adventure to get your head out of the clouds and remember just how much fun you two have together.
Now whether that’s travel or hitting the batting cages at Boomers, this is your time to be as creative or crazy as you’d like. So have at it, kids!
Customize your Relationship
Remember at the end of the day, you and your partner are in charge of your relationship. You don’t have to go by any traditions or cliches, you guys are the rule makers and breakers of your own relationship. So if you don’t like what you see, guess what? You can change it!
Sometimes this can be a little hard if everyone around you is doing the same exact thing. You might think you have to fit in but really there are so many types of relationships these days from long distance to polyamory – the list goes on. If you are curious about alternative ways of doing a relationship, feel free to check out Kamala Devi who is a trailblazer in this arena. But at the end of the day who really cares what anyone else is doing, it’s your life and you’re in charge of what makes you happy. The end.