Five Characteristics of a Healthy Dating Relationship
Love is in the air! It’s February, which means retail spaces are bursting with bouquets of roses, boxes of Godiva, and toddler-sized stuffed bears. All of the Valentine’s Day hype may tempt you to jump into a new relationship or remain in a romance that is no longer healthy. That being said, how do you determine whether a specific relationship is a beneficial investment?
Is My Relationship Healthy?
The following five characteristics are hallmarks of a healthy dating relationship. As you read through this post, ask yourself, “does my current or potential relationship possess these qualities?”
I know my worth outside of the relationship.
Your relationship status is not a measuring rod for your beauty, desirability, or value. You hold significance whether or not you have a date on Friday night. Ask yourself, “Am I secure in who I am without this relationship?” We’ve all felt those insecurities one time or another.
Your friend starts dating someone who compliments her all the time. You watch the chick-flick with the perfectly scripted romantic guy. You’ve dated the guy who made you feel less than the beautiful, strong, and unique person you are.
It can make you start to doubt yourself and your own worth. But know this: you are valuable beyond compare. Your worth is in who you are, not who you’re with.
I can be my authentic self.
Do you change around the person you’re dating? Are you able to be honest about your likes, dislikes, boundaries, faith, and ambitions? Does your boyfriend or girlfriend know and enjoy the real you? It may be tempting to shift who you are to please another, but lasting relationships are built on trust and genuine connection.
A healthy relationship means you feel free to be outspoken about your desires and beliefs and comfortably talking about them together.
My boyfriend (or girlfriend) honors my physical boundaries.
Does your partner push or protect your boundaries? How do they react when you say no or express discomfort? Love is defined as choosing the highest good for another. Love gives, whereas lust takes. A partner should himself (or herself) as a contributor to your life, not merely a consumer of your body.
If your physical connection takes priority or you have ever felt used for sex or sexual acts by your partner, it’s time to reevaluate that relationship. You deserve to be heard, respected, and treasured.
We share a physical, mental, and emotional connection.
At the beginning of a relationship, physical attraction can overcompensate for a lack of mental or emotional connection. When the allure of physical attraction fades – will you still enjoy the companionship of your partner? Do you share passions, hobbies, or interests? Are you able to engage in stimulating conversation? Do you appreciate their personality as much as their pectoral muscles? These are important questions to ask yourself.
My trusted friends approve of my partner.
Infatuation can blind you to potential red flags in a relationship. What do your trusted friends say about your partner? Do they view him or her as a person of character, or are you continually defending your relationship? Be open to credible counsel. True friends and mentors will speak with transparency and honesty because they value the trajectory of your life more than offending you or hurting your feelings.
Be Known, Valued, Respected, and Loved
We all long to be pursued, known, and loved. However, these core desires may motivate us to rush into unexamined partnerships or remain in unstable relationships. Who and how you date will influence the quality and direction of your life. Allow yourself the time and space to honestly evaluate your current or potential relationship. Does it possess these five healthy characteristics? Dating with intentionality requires patience and a good dose of courage, but it is well worth the investment!
This month, as you pass aisles of chocolates, scroll through sappy Instagram posts, or watch The Notebook for the 100th time, remember that your worth doesn’t come from a boy, a fancy dinner out, or a giant stuffed bear.
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