I dont even begin to call myself a relationship expert as I AM currently single (nudge nudge, wink wink) but I have had the opportunity in the recent past to be involved in a long-term relationship and have learnt alot from the experience.
Generally there are certain things that are present in most good long-term relationships, marriages included and once these begin to disappear it could be a warning sign that some change is needed to avoid an unhealthy partnership or even future philandering from your significant other…
Giving space. In healthy long term relationships, partners are not clingy or overly c0-dependent and they can give each other space in which to do their own thing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t ever do anything together but that they instead do not feel the need to be at each other’s sides 24 hours a day. It also means that they dont give the evil eye while they watch every move of their partner jealously.
Positive input. Happy couples give each other emotional support when its needed and sometimes not even asked for and never ever put each other down in front of friends or family. They discuss the problems they may have in private and don’t use social gatherings or parties to air their grievances.
Sense of humour. If a couple is able to laugh together, chances are that things are healthy and that they will stay together for a long time to come. It also means they have a similar outlook on life, and similar values and perceptions.
Enjoy socialising. Couple isolation is always a bad sign. Many of us have been guilty of not taking the necessary trouble over friendships or not making an effort to see other friends regularly, are probably not very happy. Very jealous significant others will often try and isolate their partner from friends and family. If this happens, danger lights should begin flashing.
Good sex life. What exactly constitutes a good sex life really open to exploration but the most important thing to remember that the couple themselves has to be happy with it. Open communication about sex is paramount – if a couple is capable of doing this there is little else that will be able to destroy their relationship.
Respect. Respect implies couples giving each other space, respecting work commitments, respecting friendships and having basic respect for the other person as a separate human being with hopes, fears, dreams and desires.
Having fun together. Enjoying time together is essential for any good relationship. This doesn’t mean you have to spend money either, a walk in the park or a shared cuppa works just fine too. If a couple can enjoy things together, the relationship has good long-term prospects.
Good listening skills. If your partner asks you how you are, but does not listen to your answer, there’s a problem. If your partner chatters non-stop, like a chinese person on speed, your relationship could also be in trouble, because you would eventually learn to switch off for the preservation of your own sanity. However, good listening skills are essential in any relationship, because a good listener will be able to access the underlying feelings to the words someone says.
Good conflict resolution skills. No relationship is without its conflicts, unless one of the two people has given up completely on retaining any form of individuality. Happy couples deal with conflict in a meaningful way, that ensures that the conflict is resolved instead of being compartmentalised only to rear its ugly face in the form of resentment later on.
Room to grow. Happy couples accept that their significant others and their personalities along with their interests are not static. People change and their interests can also change over time. Happy couples allow each other the space within which this can happen while unhappy couples try and pin the other person down into a predictable and unchanging pattern.
Just my two cents…
(thanks to Susan Erasmus from Health24)