Tips for a Healthy, Happy Relationship
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Mandy Kloppers BA(UNISA); Dip Psych(Open);Dip LC(LC Inst);MCS(Acc)
15th September, 2009
How To Have a Happy, Healthy Relationship
These pointers refer to men and women but for ease of reference I will use the word “he” when referring to “he” and “she”.
1. APPEARANCE. An obvious one but needs mentioning. Look your best. Make sure you smell nice, look good and dress in an outfit that flatters you and is comfortable. The idea is to ooze confidence in yourself and knowing that you look your best will set you up on positive psychological footing to create the right impression.
2. BE FUN! He will fall in the love with the way he FEELS when he is with you. If time spent with you is fun and you have a good laugh together and enjoy each other’s company, he will remember the good feelings that are produced when you are around. He will associate positive, happy feelings with you.
3. KEEP IT LIGHT initially. If you fall quickly for someone, don’t show it in the beginning. Keep your independence. Show him that you enjoy your life, love your friends and interests and don’t drop everything to be with him. He will respect you more if he sees that you are a ‘whole’ person without him. Neediness and clinginess can be off-putting, especially early on in a relationship.
4. BE OPEN/ GIVE AND TAKE. This is a more tricky one as we tend to be influenced by the other person’s communication style. If they are aloof and do not disclose personal feelings, we also tend to hold back. Try to be brave and make yourself vulnerable by taking the first step. Don’t go overboard though. It’s all about balance. If you like someone it’s okay to let them know but limit your disclosures. Tell them how you feel or show them with little gestures but a little at a time. Wait for them to reciprocate and then you can disclose a little more. It’s all about give and take, make sure you aren’t doing all the giving.
5. COMPROMISE. There’s bound to be times when you don’t see eye to eye and this is when it’s important to look at finding a solution that works for both of you. Try to find a “win-win” situation. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to see things from their perspective.
6. DON’T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS/MAKE ASSUMPTIONS. When in doubt, try not to make up reasons for the other person’s behaviour. Unless they have specifically told you why they did/did not do or say something be aware that you are interpreting their actions/words according to your own frame of reference and could very possibly be misinterpreting the situation.
7. COMMUNICATION!! This is THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of any relationship. Without effective communication you are most likely to fail in achieving a successful partnership. Good communication clears the air, confirms that both people want the same things and that their needs are getting met.
8. BE PATIENT/THINK BEFORE SPEAKING. Before ‘flying off the handle’ make sure you have a fair point to make. As an adult, you will gain more respect for creating conflict for valid reasons. Some people create arguements as a ‘test’ to see whether the other person still cares. Playing emotional mind games is a dangerous strategy.
9. DON’T ACCEPT BAD BEHAVIOUR. If someone is clearly mistreating you it is important to stand up for yourself and show the other person that you will not accept this. You teach others how to treat you and if you accept unreasonable behaviour from your partner you are in effect ‘telling’ them that you accept this.
10. BE YOURSELF. We all change our behaviour slightly when we are with others but make sure that essence of you is still there. Long term it will impossible to hide the ‘real you’ so try to be yourself as much as possible. Rather know sooner than later whether the person you are attracted to likes you for who you actually are and not for who you are pretending to be. Easier said than done, but well worth it in the long run.
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