Make Your Relationships Healthier
The information in this tab is not for relationships that are not safe. These tips on how to make your relationships healthy are for people wanting to be better partners and have better relationships. If you feel unsafe in any of your relationships or you feel as though you are ‘walking on eggshells’ please go to Are You Being Abused or Getting Help.
Feeling secure doesn’t mean knowing you will be together until the day you die and in that time you will never, ever upset each other or let each other down.
Feeling secure means knowing that your partner considers your happiness and well-being a priority and you consider theirs a priority as well.
Some ways that you can do this is:
Provide a safe space for your partner to be themselves and to be vulnerable in front of you without fear of judgment.
Remember that no one is perfect, not your partner and not you so be realistic about your expectations of them and don’t judge them for small flaws or mistakes. You don’t have to agree with everything they did, but if they did something ‘not right’ it doesn’t make them ‘not right’.
Be there when they need you. If your partner needs you to listen, then make some time for them. You don’t always need to come up with a solution, just be there for them.
Follow through on your promises. When you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you blow off a promise or simply forget about it then it can systematically destroy trust. And relationships need trust in order to thrive.
Support them to make positive changes. It shows them you care about their well-being and their future.
Compliments and nice words/messages go a long way. Tell them you think they are handsome or beautiful or sexy, tell them you are looking forward to seeing them. A random message, a note left on their pillow, a nice word can go a long way.
Spend quality time together. Try something new, go somewhere special, get out of the house together. Relationships need shared experiences to grow.
Offer to help them out. Offer to make dinner, or help them with an errand or give them a massage.
Be realistic. Every relationship has disagreements and days when you want to end the relationship. If you want to stay in the relationship then instead of just letting issues and resentment fester talk about them and make a choice to work through them to improve any problems.
Admit your mistakes. If you know you’ve done something to hurt your partner, intentionally or not, own up to it. Be brave and look at your part in a problem. Be sincere and honest and don’t make excuses or justifications like “I was stressed” or “you annoyed me first”. You are responsible for your actions, words and emotions and you have no right to make anyone else feel guilty for what you did or didn’t do.
Listen to your partner. Being a good listener is all about paying attention to what they’re saying, ask questions if you don’t understand. Listening will help you resolve differences without arguing, explore each other’s personality more deeply and help you figure out what makes them happy.
Share. If you have a problem then let them know – preferably in a clear and calm way. Chances are your partner is not a mind reader.
Practice communicating better. The way you talk to people does have an effect. Try to keep phrases like “you should” or “you can’t” out of your conversation. Try not to generalise and say things like “you always” or “you never”. If you expect your partner to do something, say it. Being clear about what you want gives your partner a fair shot at succeeding.
Be polite. Say “please” and “thank you.” You should be able to let loose around your partner, so there’s no need to worry about having impeccable. The exception to this is asking nicely and expressing gratitude when your partner does something for you.
Be fair. Go into an argument wanting to resolve it not win! It doesn’t matter how angry or upset you are you can still get your point across in a respectful way that doesn’t seek to hurt your partner. If you feel like you can’t engage with them calmly then take time out.
Exploring your sexuality can be fun, exciting and liberating, so long as it is safe and consensual.
Consent is ESSENTIAL in every sexual encounter. Saying no, being reluctant, feeling pressure… this not consent. Not everyone consents verbally so you need to not only pay attention to words but also pay attention to your sexual partner’s body language, facial expressions and pick up on their feelings. Indecision is not a consensual yes.
Talk about no-go zones outside of the moment not during it or right before. Discuss it in mutual territory when no one is vulnerable and not in the heat of the moment when you may be distracted by feeling hot and ready. Tell them the definite no-go zones and turnoffs. Then you can also tell them what you do want and what turns you on. The bonus being this can turn into foreplay. This is especially important when engaging in BDSM, role plays, kink and when discussing safe sex.
Make sure you are on the same page – the best way to do this is to talk about it. Explore the reasons behind any barriers – you both might learn something about your own boundaries, or about the person you are sleeping with. Sex and desire can be hard to talk about, but sweeping hard to tackle topics under the rug can make things worse for everyone involved.
If you’re uncomfortable, make an agreement before the conversation that neither of you will judge the other person. But even though you feel uncomfortable, have the conversation anyway.
If your desires are in conflict with each other, be creative in a compromise. For example, if one of you wants to have sex in public but the other doesn’t than suggest somewhere semi-public, as long as you both eagerly agree.
If you are presenting your partner with an idea that is new to them, be respectful and patient, give them time to consider it fully.
Be creative with foreplay. It can start after your last orgasm and go for an hour, a week, a month, a year.
Be aware that what people want, what they need and what works for them can evolve and change overtime. Just because what you are doing turned your partner on one year ago, it doesn’t mean that it still will today.
Only in the movies do two partners orgasm at the exact same time with the exact same intensity. Every person’s wants are different and those wants can change every time you have sex. But as a general rule, everyone involved is having sex to get something out of it, so make sure that every attempt is made for everyone to leave feeling good.
Keep It Exciting
Do something for your partner that you know they will truly appreciate. Whether it means getting up early to drive them to work, doing the washing or baking them treats, it’s often the little favours that say the most.
Don’t be afraid to show physical affection at least every once in a while. Loving relationships could feed off of the little gestures like kissing, hugging, and touching.
Do the unexpected. It’s the thought that counts, so put a little effort into it for huge returns.
Give them some space. Everyone needs their own privacy and some freedom, so don’t constantly watch everything they do. Everyone hates to be watched, stifled and controlled.
Revive date-night. Going on dates, even if you’ve been in a relationship for years, is still important. In fact, it’s especially important for couples who have been together long enough to grow comfortable.
Do something new and exciting. Doing something that gets your blood flowing and your heart rate up enhances feelings of togetherness between partners.
Laugh together. Laughter can be comforting, infectious, or an aphrodisiac, and many things in between. Don’t forget to laugh.
Break the routine. If you always eat at the same restaurant, try a new one. If you always have sex in bed, try the kitchen floor or a public place. If you never spend time together, agree to both skip work for a day and go to a theme park instead.
Commit to changing your behaviour. If you notice yourself apologising for the same mistake over and over, then you need to make some changes.
Tell your partner that you recognise this mistake keeps happening, and you want to train yourself to stop. Request help and ask for them to gently point it out to you when you’re making this mistake again.
Review your expectations. Do you see your partner realistically, with both winning qualities and flaws, or as someone you expect to be perfect? If your expectations are so high that no one could live up to them 100% of the time, you’re setting up your relationship for failure. Learn to embrace their differences. You can learn a lot from them and it is important to have your own identities and your own interests separate to them.
A solid relationship should be based on mutual respect; if you are constantly trying to pull them down with you, this means you don`t respect them enough to want them to be happy. If you are dealing with stress, depression, drug or alcohol abuse, or other issues – don`t pull another person into your problems.
Practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is a decision of letting go of the past and focusing on the present. It’s about taking control of your current situation, and you must offer it to your partner as much as you demand it from them.
Remember who forgiveness really benefits. Forgiving your partner absolves them, but it also frees you from carrying around anger and resentment. Don’t view it as an entirely altruistic act — it’s something you’re doing for both of you. Knowing when to forgive someone and when not to depends on the circumstances or the act. Forgiving someone for forgetting to pick up the dry cleaning is very different to forgiving someone for being violent and abusive. Think about the intent behind their actions, and the damage done and how hard they are working to change.
It’s Not Just Them
Being really into someone can feel great. But you can do that without losing your individual sense of identity and without a fear of being alone. In other words, once you have found someone you really like, or when you are in a relationship don’t lose touch with your own interests, desires, thoughts and feelings.
Someone who loses themselves in a relationship tend to constantly try to please the other person, stop doing the things they used to enjoy, often don’t know what they want to do anymore, hate the thought of being alone, are very fearful of rejection, don’t set boundaries and has trouble admitting when there are problems with their relationship. Plus, the relationship is at a high risk of turning stale and developing problems.
To avoid this, make sure you regularly:
- Spend time alone
- Spend time with other people – with and without your partner
- Actively do the things that interest you
- Go periods of time (at least a half or whole day) without texting or calling them.
- Ask yourself: ‘What do I want and how do I feel?’