On this day for celebrating love, this piece of advice written by my lovely friend (and college roommate) Olivia is perfect:
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if you’re anything like me, you’ve had your fair share of unhealthy relationships. the thing is, that’s okay, as long as you pay attention to what it is you are supposed to learn from each situation. bad relationships are an invaluable opportunity to learn about yourself, about what you want out of life and love and relationships. there is no better way to learn what you truly want and need than to experience what you don’t want.
so i’m hoping to impart a little bit of what i’ve learned from my personal experience. i have found these things to be key to my happiness and to the health of my relationship with my husband. you might consider this somewhat of a relationship checklist – the staples of a healthy relationship. make sure they’re on your list too.
it is so so important that you and your partner be equals. on so many levels.
you don’t want to be in a relationship where one of you likes the other more or less.
say, for instance, that you like your partner more than he (or she) likes you. you will constantly be fighting for his time, his attention, his love. he will be annoyed at best and will inevitably start pushing you away. this is an incredibly painful situation, and incredibly dangerous for your self worth.
please listen to me when i tell you that there is no better feeling in the world than knowing that your partner loves you and appreciates you just as much (no more, no less) than you love and appreciate him.
i’m talking about real respect. i promise you it comes naturally when you truly love each other equally. you don’t have to work at it, you just do it. you put each other first, you communicate about the important stuff, you don’t hurt each other. ever. you would never want to.
trust is what happens when you know that you are respected and loved as an equal in your relationship. you cannot be in a successful relationship unless you know, deep down in your heart and soul and bones and gross inside parts, that you can trust your partner with your heart. it’s a scary thing, i know, to give someone that kind of power. but be sure that it is an amazing gift to be able to do such a thing.
everyone says it because it’s true: communication is key to any relationship.
talk to your partner and make sure that you’re on the same page about the important stuff. (first, you might need to take some time to figure out what it is that is really important to you.)
always discuss big decisions. be willing to compromise. articulate your thoughts, your opinions, your emotions. talk about your day, too. and don’t forget to listen.
okay. this is common sense. you and your partner are in a relationship. you need to be on the same team. if you’re not on the same team, one of you will always be losing. help each other through the hard stuff, and celebrate each other’s victories. work together. you are in this together. act that way.
don’t take yourself or each other too seriously. please. be silly. be goofy. be you. life is fun. enjoy it. nothing in life is worth getting all worked up over.
i’m not trying to say that life is all sunshine and roses. bad things happen. times get hard. but that’s when you need to remember that you’re on the same team. there’s nothing you can’t get through together.
these things are priceless. do not underestimate their value.
but this is important too: know who you are and what you deserve, and do not settle for anything – ANYTHING – less.
be able to recognize when a relationship is not right and then get out of it. why would you stay? your partner should lift you up, hold your hand, be your friend, and make you smile. not cry — unless you are crying happy tears. and you should return the favor. i’m telling you that the fairy tale is real. it exists. don’t be afraid to go out and get it.
Happy Valentine’s Day! May you feel loved and cherished.