It takes work building healthy relationships, but that’s something you can do from the start. Some relationships never really get going as they’re established on a faulty foundation and are subject to personal whims and the conflicting characteristics of the other party. Fortunately, there are ways to create healthy relationships from the start as we will soon examine.
1. Manage your expectations. If you want to build a relationship with another individual, particularly a love relationship, you must manage your expectations. Quite easily you may have certain thoughts or ideas about the person and find that they aren’t aligning with the other person’s thinking, at least not yet. Take the relationship slowly, keep your expectations in check, but do open your heart. If you appear too guarded, the other person may misunderstand and think you aren’t friendly.
2. Begin the building process. Every foundation has to begin with something. A mutual attraction is just the start. From there, appreciation and respect must be shown. Here, you need to understand what makes your partner happy, sad, glad, and more. Take care to laugh with them and cry with them. Show genuine empathy and avoid pushing buttons.
3. Explore like a navigator. Relationships mean unchartered travel to that person’s heart. Along the way you will find areas where he or she shows special interests, perhaps in areas that don’t matter much to you. Here, you are keying in on things that he or she likes. You will also discover mutual likes and dislikes, what can bind you together. You don’t need to have everything in common, but you do need to look out for each other’s special interests.
4. Establish clear criteria. Get in the habit of showing good character, by saying “please” and “thank you” as appropriate. The hardest words for some may be, “I’m sorry.” But they are necessary words to show your partner that you care and respect his or her feelings. Owning your feelings is important, respecting the feelings of the other person is essential to a healthy relationship.
5. Expect change. As you and your partner spend time together and as time goes by, things will change. The “new wine” in the relationship may be gone, replaced by something else and hopefully not vinegar. Given that change is inevitable, how you and your partner respond will show whether you both have the capacity to keep this relationship going.
6. Manage your conflicts. It happens — you and your partner have a disagreement and mean words are exchanged. You’re not so sure of your relationship as you were earlier, so how you and your partner handle conflict is important. Keeping the lines of communication open is essential to a healthy relationship. However, even if things turn sour for a bit, learning how to “kiss and make up” will show that you’re both eager to make this relationship work. And that’s a healthy sign!
7. Accept your differences. Without a doubt, differences will emerge in your relationship. She likes to go shopping and he enjoys playing golf. He is crazy about kids, but you’re not so sure. Her background is different from his, but does that mean those differences are insurmountable? Few people are all that alike and it is the differences that can take too very different people and make them a couple.
8. Relationships require maintenance. If you want a relationship to thrive, both of you must work at it. This means investing time and resources, as well as establishing parameters for friends and family. Your partner’s family may be extremely important to him or her — recognizing that and affirming same will go far in helping to build a relationship. That doesn’t mean you absolutely must like everyone, but it does mean you understand the importance of such individuals explains Oranum.
Besides the points mentioned here, letting your partner know what you need and listing to his or her needs is crucial. At the same time, you need to realize that your partner cannot meet your every need — understanding and compromise can come in handy here.