Choose Your Partner Wisely: Essential Qualities For Respectful, Supportive Relationships

Choose Your Partner Wisely: Essential Qualities For Respectful, Supportive Relationships

Explore the essential qualities and dynamics necessary for a healthy, enduring bond built on respect, friendship, and mutual support

Somi DasUpdated: Sunday, April 07, 2024, 12:21 AM IST
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Pic: Freepik

Loving someone for the rest of your life would mean ignoring many of their behavioral patterns. It is necessary that you choose someone whom you like enough to forgive again and again. You need to be sure that they are worth giving up on most of the expectations you have from a partner, at least those you were conditioned to believe in.

As you proceed along the path of couplehood, whether it is in the form of marriage or lifelong companionship outside the boundaries of marriage, you will see that this special one is not going to do your bidding. They will disappoint you repeatedly. They will hardly ever love you in the way you want to be loved or give attention to you. But that does not invalidate their love.

Don’t fall for the laundry list that relationship gurus provide. Often, your dissatisfaction with your partner is rooted in your own wounds. Look into it first. What is the specific, obsessive need they aren’t able to fulfill? What is it that you are seeking that they are unable to provide? It will provide a mirror into where your own love for yourself needs fortification. If you are too merged and enmeshed with your partner, then perhaps you need to work more on autonomy. If you are too detached and independent, you need to learn to trust and lean on someone in an intimate relationship.

You know you are in the right relationship if your self-knowledge increases, if you are able to balance out attachment tendencies from pathological to adaptive, and if you learn to make room for the follies of others while not suppressing your needs. Most importantly, if you don’t constantly need your partner to soothe you but are able to self-soothe, going to him or her only when truly needed.

Most of us begin a relationship from a place of dysfunction. In the first two to three years, many of the unresolved psychological issues of both parties will come to the fore. But a partner who is truly invested in you, wants to build a life with you, and sees the possibility of a long-term partnership with you will weather the storm, and both of you will emerge stronger.

The final indicator that the person is worth it is the fact that they do not force you to compromise your authenticity, or you do not tend to be inauthentic in order to keep them happy and be in their life. If you do not like pets but only pretend to like them for the sake of your partner, then that’s a problem. Let me tell you, if the person is not right, both of you adopting a dog together isn’t going to save your relationship. It is quite possible that they may convince you to adopt a dog and see the benefits of having a pet despite your reservations, but it needs to be a gradual process. But you going out of your way to accommodate their needs is sending out the wrong message.

In fact, in love, do as little as you can. Doing too much is detrimental. Too much gifting, cooking for the other person, too much support for all their naiveties and the obvious mistakes they are making. Food and sex are not going to keep a man, neither is money and gifts going to keep a woman. These are mere stereotypes. For two individuals to be in a healthy, non-toxic relationship, only three fundamental things are required - respect, friendship, and trust that when either of you makes a mistake, you will still find the other person waiting for you, welcoming you back into their life.

"More importantly, who are they when they are by themselves, beyond the confines of the shared world you both inhabit?" asks relationship counselor Esther Perel. "It's crucial to consider how your partner views you as an individual, flaws and all."

"And equally important," adds therapist John Gottman, "is the sense of security and support they provide outside of the relationship's boundaries. It's about having the reassurance that someone has your back."

Relationships can vary greatly in terms of the balance between individuality and dependency. "There can be a strong desire for autonomy and freedom," notes psychologist Harriet Lerner, "yet there's also the risk of slipping into unhealthy codependency."

Dr. Lerner emphasizes the unique challenges each dynamic presents. "While a focus on independence may hinder the depth of shared experiences," she says, "an overly dependent relationship can stifle personal growth and identity."

"So, it's essential to remain mindful of these extremes," advises John Gottman. "Finding the right balance ensures that both partners can flourish individually while nurturing a meaningful connection together."

For you to truly pinpoint who is worth the effort of dedicating your life to someone and choosing to spend your life doing so, use only one litmus test - if they are willing to work through their own issues with you by their side.

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