Finding Authentic And Secure Love: How To Choose Your Relationships

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated April 30, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

For some, finding a secure relationship can seem challenging. A past of heartbreak or meeting people with the wrong intentions may cause fear of meeting the wrong person in the future. There are ways to build healthy connections with people who sincerely care and have your best interests in mind. Understanding these methods can help you find the most authentic and healthy love. Read further to learn the components of a healthy relationship and how to choose a secure and authentic connection with a potential love interest.

A couple in a black t-shirt and red ssweater sit beside each other and hold hands.

Explore relationships and love with professional guidance

What makes a secure relationship?

To understand how to find healthy relationships, it may be helpful to know what they often include. The following are secure relationship patterns to look for in a partner. 

Open two-sided communication

According to studies on marriage and commitment, communication has been proven more important than any other aspect of marriage in increasing marital satisfaction. In relationships where commitment was present and communication was not, marital satisfaction suffered. Communication can be defined as a transfer of information from one person to another that is characterized by an openness in self-expression and mutual understanding. 

Having open communication can mean the following: 

  • Being open to hearing what you may have done wrong 

  • Choosing to repair misunderstandings or misgivings 

  • Listening actively when your partner is speaking and allowing them to listen to you when it’s your turn 

  • Offering validation 

  • Assuming the best in your partner unless proven otherwise 

  • Being honest about how you feel 

  • Apologizing sincerely when needed 

  • Setting boundaries when your partner breaks them or is not aware of them 

When both partners take the above steps, they may feel more connected and have a healthier bond. In addition, a sense of respect can be gained from valuing one another as equals in conversation. 

Secure attachment

The attachment theory, developed by John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, posits four attachment styles. Three styles are insecure and can cause unhealthy and problematic relationship patterns. The other style is a secure attachment, which is often formed by a caregiver who consistently meets a child or infant’s emotional and physical needs with love and care. 

As you navigate the world as an adult, your attachment style may impact how you relate to partners in romantic relationships. A secure attachment with a partner can ensure you both know how to set boundaries, care for each other, and care for yourself. This ability can also be known as interdependence. If you do not already have a secure attachment, studies have proven that your attachment style can change over time with professional support, education, and a willingness to change. 

Trust 

An enormous part of any healthy relationship is trust. According to a study from East Illinois University, 100% of people in relationships value trust with their partners. Despite this factor, infidelity or broken trust can be common in relationships. Finding a partner you can trust is an ingredient for a healthy relationship. If your partner is not open with you, honest about their feelings, or honest about their desires and identities, your relationship may not be healthy. 

Open-mindedness 

Having an open mind can mean being willing to give a second chance, considering perspectives different from your own, and having honest discussions about what you don’t understand. Relationships can change significantly over time, and being with someone who doesn’t appear open to your changes, or being closed off to the natural growth of a partner, can be a recipe for the end of a relationship in the long term. 

Getty

Humor and enjoyment

Relationships may not always rely on seriousness. Laughter has been proven to improve mental health and reduce stress. Being able to come home from a long day at work and laugh with your partner and have a friendship can intensify your romantic and sexual bond. In addition, laughing together can brighten your time as you have fun together, creating new inside jokes and enjoying a good life with each other. 

How to choose your relationships healthily

As you have read above, healthy relationships can be founded in humor, mutual trust, and understanding based in open, mindful communication and secure attachment. Beyond these attributes, there are a few ways to choose new relationships healthily as you date or look for a partner. 

Look for people that love you for who you are

Being authentic can be another ingredient to a healthy relationship. However, outside of being authentic yourself, finding a partner that accepts you and loves you for who you are can be vital. When looking for a relationship, be honest and upfront about your needs and experiences. 

If you perceive they are not interested in you beyond the surface, let go and move forward. While ending a relationship can be difficult when you are attracted to someone, be confident in knowing you are on the right track to finding a healthier partnership. 

Take your time

Try to take your time when dating new people. Keep in mind that building a trusting relationship takes time to nurture. You may not know that certain aspects of the person you are dating are not acceptable until after you have met a few times. Further, some people may not reveal their true selves and exhibit unhealthy behaviors after a few months. 

Physical attraction can be valuable in relationships, but so is mutual respect, trust, and compassion. When you are in the first stage of opening your heart and falling in love, you may not be focused on these deeper details. When you take time to get to know each other, you may be more cognizant of whether you will be happy with this person in the long term

Examine past patterns that did not work

If there were patterns that did not work for you in past relationships, consider how you might avoid these in the future. For example, if you typically dated emotionally unavailable people to this point, consider looking for an emotionally available partner. If you used to yell in relationships, commit to starting a connection where you do not raise your voice. Anger management classes can help you learn strategies for reducing anger when it arises and avoiding unhealthy anger-motivated behaviors.

Be picky 

Know that having standards is normal and healthy when choosing a potential partner. Try not to settle for less than what you want and deserve. If someone checks a few of your boxes but does not align with you on values or another essential area, they may not be the right partner. 

Getty/MoMo Productions
Explore relationships and love with professional guidance

Talk to a relationship therapist

As John Mayer sings, sometimes “you love who you love.” Dating and falling in love can be challenging. If you are unsure how to proceed or want to work through relationship traumas and attachment issues before you date, talking to a licensed therapist may be beneficial. A therapist can guide you through techniques for self-authenticity and finding healthy relationships.

Many people want to reach for the support of a mental health therapist but face multiple barriers. These include living in a remote location, personal stigma, financial status, and inaccessible mental health resources. If you face barriers to traditional online therapy, you have the option to work with a provider online through a platform like BetterHelp. Online therapy allows clients to meet from home or anywhere with an internet connection. If you have a busy schedule, you can schedule appointments as needed, with some providers offering sessions outside of standard business hours. 

Studies have proven that online therapy can be a valuable alternative to face-to-face therapy. One study found that 71% of clients found it more effective than in-person therapy, and 100% felt it was more convenient for their schedules. Many clients also reported comfort and familiarity with their online provider.  

Takeaway 

It can be challenging to form healthy and secure relationships, but there are a few aspects of these connections to keep in mind as you date and form relationships with others. Consider contacting a licensed therapist for compassionate support and further guidance. You’re not alone, and healthy relationships can be possible with time.

Receive compassionate guidance in love
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet started