Dating relationships, whether good or bad, can teach a person a lot about him or herself. New relationships can fill a person with confidence, inspiration, hope and love. However, relationships that turn negative can lead to uncertainty, shame and depression.
Therefore, it’s important to understand what constitutes romantic relationships and unhealthy relationships. It can be difficult to objectively answer the question about what makes healthy relationships.
Communicating properly within romance relationships is often easier in theory than in practice, yet each partner should still strive for maintaining positive interaction. For instance, accusing someone with “you never listen to me,” or “you always forget to call me,” will automatically put the other person in a defensive position.
Instead, a positive partner will simply state how he or she feels. “Sometimes I feel that you don’t listen to me because…” would be a more appropriate way of communicating; or one could say, “I felt really disappointed when you didn’t call today and wondered why you didn’t do what you promised.”
Tone is also important. Couples should avoid sarcastic remarks, putting the other person down, blaming, name-calling, yelling or interrupting. Following this, one must return to the other partner and participate in positive communication to get to the root of the problem.
Marriage counseling therapists use tools that are also effective for dating relationships, such as a nine-step process called “Emotional Freedom Techniques.” When a couple arrives, the first step is to lay out the problems.
Most couples will fight over laundry or paying the bills, which are surface-level issues that may happen repetitively, but it’s the goal of the therapist to uncover the real relationship issues troubling them. The next step, then, is to realize the destructive cycle and the underlying needs/wants that fuel this negative pattern.
The third step is to understand what’s fueling one’s emotions. In the fourth step, partners become less combative and realize that no one is to blame, but rather, the cycle is the common enemy they must defeat. Partners become more honest and admit their deepest fears and desires in the fifth step.
In the sixth step, the partners should acknowledge each other’s feelings. In the seventh step, couples become closer because of the newfound realizations and the eighth step involves brainstorming and problem solving. Lastly, the partners vow to stay on-track and prevent relapses.
People from broken homes can find it extremely difficult to create healthy dating relationships. Our first experience of love and relationships begins at home with our parents’ example.
Therefore, if the social relationships at home have been negative, then the child will have a skewed vision of what constitutes a “normal relationship.” Many people from broken homes find that they are always searching for what their family life has lacked.
It is entirely possible to view an abusive upbringing as an example of what not to do. Some people in dating relationships can break out of these cycles and learn to live and love positively; although, many more people require some counseling to uncover negative behavioral patterns that have been adopted from childhood.
It’s important for the individual to do some soul-searching and remain honest about where one has been and where one is going. It’s not healthy to spend every waking moment together, losing friends and passions along the way.