Caitlin, an outgoing teacher, 35, came to my office for counseling recently and discussed her tendency to pick unsuitable partners. She says, “I always tend to go for men who are emotionally distant. I think it’s because I fear getting hurt and so it allows me to protect myself. I’ve been hurt too many times and I’m wary of exposing myself to emotional pain.”
Many people waste time with partners who are not a good match for them. This trend limits the possibility of finding one who is suitable. Are you wondering if you are wasting your time with the wrong person? Many people in one-sided or unhealthy relationships find themselves attracted to others who are their opposites and/or emotionally unavailable. Perhaps the first step in overcoming this tendency is to learn more about the signs of a emotionally healthy relationship.
The following list can help you to more clearly define qualities of a healthy relationship – one that is characterized by admiration and mutual respect.
Here are 6 signs that your relationship is emotionally healthy:
- You are free to be your authentic self. In a nutshell, you can be yourself and don’t have to walk on eggshells. You feel safe in the relationship and free to express your thoughts, feelings, and desires openly without fear of rejection.
- There’s admiration and mutual respect. You accept, admire, and respect each other for who you are. You avoid blaming each other when you have a disagreement and look for ways to have better communication – listening to each other’s perspective and owning your part in the conflict.
- Your partner is trustworthy. He or she follows through on their promises unless there is something urgent going on. He/she takes you out when they say they’re going to do so. When someone is interested in you, they’ll keep their agreements and apologize when they’re unable to do so.
- Your partner is your cheerleader. He or she listens more than they speak. Your partner asks you questions about your hobbies, friends, and family. They make space for your feelings and doesn’t make you feel badly for being in a bad mood or having a tough day.
- He or she shows appreciation for you. They value you and give you positive reinforcement such as compliments and support. They show appreciation on a daily basis.
- Your partner talks about your future together. If he or she says that they aren’t ready for a commitment, take them seriously – they’re just not that into you. Don’t waste your time on a relationship that doesn’t have a future.
It’s crucial that you begin visualizing yourself in a healthy relationship before you can embark on one. Consider creating a vision board where you post quotes, messages, and photos of the type of person or relationship that you aspire to have. Check it on a regular basis and see if your prospects match up to the type of person who is a good fit for you. You don’t have to settle for less than you deserve.
Follow Terry Gaspard on Twitter, Facebook, and movingpastdivorce.com. Her book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship is available on her website. Feel free to ask a question here.
Terry’s forthcoming book, The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around, will be published by Sounds True in February of 2020.