What A Legitimate Relationship Should Look Like.
It’s quite possible that I’m writing this for the sole purpose of learning these things myself. Then again, I’ve recently had to listen to the details of one of my sister’s friend’s relationships. She’s a few years younger than me, and seeing this boy. They’re going on dates, seeing a lot of each other, and having sex. All of which, I might add, when he refuses to call her his girlfriend or say they’re in a relationship because you ‘don’t need to define these things and he’s nervous after what happened to him before.’ Last year at some point this girl stopped seeing him because he had been caught making out with a girl (or a couple), at the same time he had been having a thing with her. Now, of course, he’s quite obviously not committing to her so he can sleep around, and has even tried to get my sister to mess around.
Basically, he’s a prick. Unfortunately, this is an all too common situation. Young girls (and boys too), end up in terrible relationships because they either don’t know any better, or don’t believe they deserve any better. In my case, it was both.
I made a list before of warning signs to look out for in relationships, so I thought I might take the opposite angle here – signs of a good and healthy relationship.
1. You do things together. Things that you both enjoy doing, things only one of you enjoy doing, and things that neither of you enjoy doing. Why? Because it’s fun, and you’re in things together.
2. You take time apart. I know people who’ve been dating for years, and have never had a single day apart from each other. Guys – I know totally what it’s like to want to be around this person all the time – but you gotta have your space and take your own time too. In order to be in a proper relationship, you’ve gotta be good with yourself first. It’s kinda important.
3. Give and take, as I’ve heard quite a few times in all my discussions in the past few days. It’s legit though. You both gotta be in it, and you’ve both gotta be on equal terms. It’s 100/100. You cover them, they cover you – no one’s left behind, and no one’s being used for what they can do or taken advantage of. Simple as that.
4. You have each other’s backs. Your dude’s (that is a gender neutral term by the way) having a rough day and can only give you thirty percent that day, then you got their ass covered. Then they get you covered on your bad days. Family dinners and other occasions are usually situations where back up support is needed, and weaknesses can be covered by the other person’s strengths. It’s the way it goes.
5. It’s not work. The first person to present this idea to me was my counselor a few days ago, and when I thought about it, I figured that she’d been right. When you’re doing a job that you really enjoy, it’s no longer work, right? It’s fun, it’s a hobby – something you’re getting happiness out of. A relationship, despite arguments and kerfuffles and whatever else inevitably comes up, at the core of it, should be fun. You shouldn’t have to work your toshi off just to keep this person around. They should be sticking around because they’re enjoying things too, not because you’re putting in a heck ton of effort.
6. You can compromise. I cannot stress this one enough. For example, my last boyfriend said we were going to need to get separate beds because I like a lot of pillows and blankets and he can’t stand them. When I said we could probably figure out something less extreme, he said it wasn’t possible. I did a lot of compromising, but it’s gotta be equal, y’know? You both gotta take the hit for the other person on occasion.
7. You buy (or make) each other food. Food is like the wellspring of life in terms of relationships. It just has to be done.
8. You both can freaking do the dishes and laundry. I’m all for couples working things out where one of them’ll cook dinner and the other one cleans the house, but you gotta be independent too. If you can’t manage by yourself and need to rely on this person to keep you alive and functioning, you’ve got a problem.
9. Your ‘nos’ are mutually respected with or without an explanation. There is no ‘why the hell are you not okay with this,’ or ‘um, excuse me? What’s your problem because I’m not getting it.’
10. Communication is left open. It’s not like you need to have everything out in the open, because a lot of it doesn’t matter. But when something does, you’re talking about it, bringing it up, or even just mentioning it in passing. So screw all those stupid ‘don’t text him back for twenty-four hours’ rules and just be honest and upfront. You’ll both save a lot of trouble this way.
11. You fight and put in an effort because you give a shit. Not because you’re miserable, because tensions are high (even if sometimes they are), or you’re just freaking out – but because the relationship matters to you. It’s important for you to work on your issues, to have disagreements and kerfuffles because you know that, in the end, it’s only going to bring you closer together.
What do you guys think? Anything I’m missing that you’d make sure to add onto this list?