A lot of time we meet someone and we then feel a rush of emotion, a flush of excitement which we often call attraction. It progresses to infatuation where we are now overcome with our feelings of love for that person. The problem with acting from infatuation is that often at the heart of infatuation is really the love of being in love. It is a powerful wonderful feeling which often ignores the realities of the person you are with.
Romantic relationships often do start out with these feelings of love fostering an intense sense of connection between two individuals. Love serves as the foundation for connection. Love alone though is insufficient to sustain a healthy and fulfilling partnership over time. Along with love, there are the day-to-day actions of caring for one another which play a crucial role in nurturing strong, lasting and healthy unions.
In order to have a good relationship with another person, we also need to look at the kind of relationship that we have with ourselves. All of our relationships are actually based in our relationship to self. Often if we do not have a great relationship with ourselves, we can fall into codependent behaviour patterns.
Codependency, is characterized by one partner disregarding their own needs while solely focusing on caring for the other, this can be very detrimental to the relationship. More importantly it can be quite devastating to the self-esteem of the person doing that behaviour.
A healthy relationship thrives when both individuals are caring for each other with mutual consideration. Each person strives to provide balanced and fulfilling support of the other. It goes beyond superficial displays of affection and delves into deeper levels of intimacy. It involves genuine concern for each partner’s well-being, active listening to one another’s needs, offering support during challenging times, and celebrating each other’s achievements. By honouring your partner’s needs, a sense of security and trust is nurtured and built within the relationship. Trust in a relationship is further reinforced when each person can honestly express if their partner’s behaviour is causing distress without being put into an insecure place or being made to feel wrong because they brought it up.
When couples are secure, they prioritize caring about their impact on each other, even if unintended harm occurs. A caring and considerate couple will strive for positive connections every day. Affirming, admiring, appreciating and letting the other person know they are special to them on an ongoing basis.
Spending time with each other and active involvement in each other’s lives is also a vital aspect of a healthy relationship. Showing interest in your partner’s goals, passions, and dreams demonstrates that their happiness matters to you, that you are there and willing to support them. This shared involvement creates a sense of purpose and promotes individual and joint growth. Whether participating in activities, sharing hobbies, or engaging in meaningful conversations, all of these gestures of consideration nourish the loving bond creating a solid foundation.
Commitment, and being attentive to each of your needs and taking actions to ensure both of your lives are healthy and happy strengthens the relationship. When the challenges of life occur, working through difficulties as a couple strengthens resilience and eases life’s ups and downs. Creating a safe communication space, where both partners can freely express themselves without fear of rejection or criticism is essential. So rather than focusing on winning the argument, they are being sure to sensitively listen and compromise, encouraging constructive problem-solving.
If you have found yourself, to be doing codependent behaviours, here are a few things you can do to develop a better relationship to yourself. Which will assist you in being a healthier partner in your relationships. Both people need to be valued and respected in the relationship for it to be healthy. This starts with you learning to value and respect yourself.
- Build your self-esteem and self-worth: Codependency often stems from low self-esteem and a lack of self-worth. Work on boosting your self-esteem by engaging in activities that make you feel good about yourself, such as pursuing hobbies, learning new skills, or setting and achieving personal goals.
An example: Take up a dance class that you’ve always wanted to try. As you improve your dancing skills and receive positive feedback from your instructor and peers, you’ll start to feel more confident and recognize your own value outside of your relationship.
- Set and maintain healthy boundaries: Establishing and enforcing clear boundaries is crucial for breaking free from codependency. Communicate your needs, desires, and limits to your partner, and ensure that they are respected. Remember that it’s okay to prioritize your well-being and say “no” when necessary.
An example: If your partner frequently asks you to cancel your plans with friends to spend time with them, explain that you value your social connections and need to maintain a balanced social life. Let them know that while you enjoy spending time together, it’s important for you to have a healthy balance between your relationship and other aspects of your life.
- Develop your own interests and social circle: Cultivate your individuality by exploring your passions and pursuing activities independent of your partner. Engage in hobbies, join clubs or groups that align with your interests, and make an effort to meet new people and expand your social circle.
An example: Enrol in a photography course or join a photography club. This will allow you to develop your skills, meet fellow enthusiasts, and create connections with individuals who share your interest in photography. By engaging in activities outside of your relationship, you’ll nurture your sense of self and reduce codependent tendencies.
- Practice self-care: Prioritize self-care activities that promote your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Engage in regular exercise, get sufficient rest, eat a balanced diet, and engage in activities that relax and rejuvenate you, such as meditation, journaling, or taking long walks in nature.
An example: Dedicate a specific time each day to engage in self-care activities. For instance, set aside 30 minutes in the morning for meditation or engage in a relaxing bubble bath before bed. By consistently making self-care a priority, you’ll develop a stronger sense of self and decrease your reliance on your partner for emotional support.
- Practice assertive communication: Learn to express your thoughts, feelings, and needs openly and honestly, while also respecting the opinions and boundaries of others. Practice assertiveness in your interactions with your partner, ensuring that your voice is heard and your perspective is considered.
An example: Instead of resorting to passive or aggressive communication, assertively express your needs and concerns. For instance, if you feel overwhelmed by your partner’s constant need for reassurance, calmly communicate that while you care about them, you also need some personal space and trust in the strength of your relationship.
- Engage in self-reflection: Take the time to reflect on your own patterns of behaviour and identify any codependent tendencies. Consider how your actions may contribute to the dynamic within your relationship and what steps you can take to change those patterns.
An example: Set aside time to journal and ask yourself questions to reflect upon.
- Seek therapy or counselling: Professional help can be instrumental in overcoming codependency. Therapy, can guide you through the process of understanding the root causes of your codependency, developing healthier relationship patterns, both with yourself and your partner. It can assist you in learning new strategies to maintain your independence while being in a loving relationship.
You can develop a better relationship with self and with your partner and the other people in your life! If you would like assistance in doing that I would be happy to do that.
Nadine Hanchar helps individuals and businesses build better relationships, discover new choices, new perspectives, and create success. Nadine is a counsellor, consultant, speaker, and trainer with over 35 years’ experience helping others professionally. She is a bestselling author and specializes in working with trauma, abuse, relationship issues, and communication. Learn more at ProgressivePlus.com and connect with Nadine on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
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