Relationship Advice —The Healthy Relationship Guide
Updated December 24, 2018
Relationships bring meaning to life. They can be fun, rewarding, and challenging. Difficulty comes with the territory of any relationship-even a healthy one. But conflict can be healthy-as long as it is resolved in a healthy way. Whether you are in a new relationship, a newlywed, or going through a breakup or divorce, a little free relationship advice can go a long way.
Relationship Advice Quotes
Let's dive right into the nitty gritty of relationship messiness with some relationship advice quotes. Because the experience of relationships is universal, we can learn from collective wisdom about relationships. The following poets, psychologists, and historical figures freely offer the following relationship advice, born out of heartache and joy:
"My alone feels so good. I'll only have you if you're sweeter than my solitude."-Warsan Shire
Featured in Beyonce's hit video album Lemonade, Warsan Shire is a young African American poet whose poetry reflects the personal growth she has attained through relationships. Through her writing, Warsan Shire communicates that she is a strong, independent woman who does not need to be in a relationship.
Too many people-both men and women-fall into the trap of feeling as though they are inadequate or lonely when they are not in a relationship. But relying on a relationship for fulfillment is a recipe for disaster because nobody is perfect; everyone is bound to let his or her partner down at some point.
For this reason, it is important to cultivate the enjoyment of solitude, as does Warsan Shire. In modern culture, being alone is often equated with feelings of sadness and loneliness, so developing an appreciation for solitude may not come naturally. In addition, being alone with yourself can be scary if you have not addressed deep-seated issues and traumas.
But with practice, patience, and perhaps some online counseling, you can learn to relish your alone time. In fact, you may find that you increasingly excuse yourself from commitments in order to be alone or meditate. This ability and desire to be alone with yourself will only serve to strengthen you when you are in a relationship because you will not feel the need to lean on your partner as much.
"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too was a gift."-Mary Oliver
Much of life's trauma occurs within relationships. Through subtle hints in her poetry, Pulitzer-prize winning poet Mary Oliver has revealed that she experienced relationship trauma in her childhood. Perhaps this is her "box full of darkness."
Nonetheless, this relationship trauma was only the beginning of her beautiful and vibrant career. She turned to nature as a source of peace and joy, and as a result, has written some of the most profound, prolific poetry about the environment. This is her contribution to the world-born out of suffering in a relationship.
Even if you have experienced relationship trauma-whether intentional abuse or unintentional mistakes-you can recover and develop new, healthy ties with others. The first step is to recognize that even abuse that seems intentional can be a byproduct of mental health issues. An online counselor can help you work through past relationship trauma so that you can live a vibrant life.
"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed."-Carl Jung
In this quote, the 20th Century psychotherapist Carl Jung calls attention to the transformative power of relationships. It is vital to recognize the power that you can wield over another person to avoid inadvertently causing heartache. A relationship can impact both partners for better or worse-depending on each person's commitment to cultivating healthy relationship patterns.
"If you would be loved, love, and be loveable."-Benjamin Franklin
In the 18th Century, Benjamin Franklin penned this gem. What was true then is still true today: Instead of searching for someone to love you, search for someone to love. If you love others, the love will naturally flow back to you.
"Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is a half sorrow"-Swedish proverb
A life partner can act as a shield during troubling times and a celebratory tonic during joyous times. Indeed, studies have shown that social connections help protect the body from the negative health effects of stress.
Any online relationship advice must pay heed to different types of attachment styles. First studied in children in the 1960s and 1970s, theories on attachment styles were extended to adult behavior in the 1980s. These patterns of relating to others are ingrained in childhood and are largely dependent on the quality of parent/guardian relationships. The four attachment styles are:
- Secure: the healthiest attachment style; characterized by feelings of contentment with the self and others; able to become emotionally close to others; results from emotionally-available caregiving in childhood
- Anxious-Preoccupied: an insecure attachment style; characterized by the need for approval and a great desire to be emotionally intimate with others; negative feelings about the self and high emotional dysregulation; results from a lack of responsiveness and emotional availability in childhood caregivers
- Dismissive-Avoidant: an insecure attachment style; characterized by less of a desire for emotional intimacy; high levels of independence and self-sufficiency; usually results from rejection in childhood
- Fearful-Avoidant: an insecure attachment style; characterized by a desire to have close relationships but a feeling of discomfort in emotionally intimate relationships; results from childhood sexual abuse and trauma
People who exhibit the secure attachment style tend to be the happiest in relationships. People who follow insecure attachment patterns in relationships often experience heartache and pain. But your current attachment style does not have to be your destiny! Even if you tend to approach relationships with one of the three insecure attachment styles, healing wounds from your past with the help of an online counselor can help you transform the way you approach relationships.
Learn to be happy on your own
Before entering a new relationship or moving deeper in your current one, take time for self-care, self-reflection, and independence. The people who are the happiest in relationships have taken the time to develop inner strength and confidence that is independent of their partner. But this does not mean that dependence is bad. One study demonstrated that people who lean on their partners in a specific situation are more likely to act independently in other situations. A healthy relationship features aspects of both dependence and independence, but the bottom line is that both partners feel capable and confident enough to act on their own.
Physical and Emotional Abuse
In relationships with prominent insecure attachment patterns and dependence, one partner dominates and the other is submissive. This dominant-submissive dynamic is incompatible with a healthy relationship, and you should try everything to avoid it. For this reason, it is important to develop inner strength and confidence.
Physical and emotional abuse is a key feature of many dominant-submissive relationships. Emotional abuse is characterized by manipulation, threats, and reproach, while physical abuse encompasses both beatings and physically intimidating threats.
These unhealthy and damaging relationships can be difficult to escape because the abusive partner can be very controlling. But if you are in an abusive relationship, you need to get help from an online or face-to-face counselor as soon as possible. You can escape an abusive relationship!
To prevent abuse and cultivate a healthy relationship, set healthy boundaries. Boundaries demarcate where you end and another person begins. Do not let someone encroach on your "me space"- physically, emotionally, or mentally. People who have healthy boundaries let others know when they have stepped over the line and made them feel uncomfortable. For instance, if a coworker is consistently late to take over from your shift, set a boundary explaining why you need the person to be on time. By setting healthy boundaries, you will avoid feelings of resentment and frustration.
If you have recently suffered heartbreak, let's have a relationship advice chat. You may feel compelled to contact your ex or go find a rebound, but if you truly want to develop healthy relationship patterns, you should do neither. Take this time of grieving to recognize what you have lost, remember all that you have learned, and decide how you want to move forward. Each broken relationship prepares you for the next healthier relationship. You may decide to take this time to grow in independence and self-confidence so that you will be stronger and healthier for your next relationship.
Divorce is becoming more common, but that doesn't make yours any less catastrophic. You are not simply a statistic; the pain you feel is real and you need to take the time to acknowledge it. Do not expect that you will feel better tomorrow. Healing comes gradually-so gradually that it can be difficult to wait. Whether your marriage lasted one year or 50 years, you will need several months or years to decompress and recover. Allow yourself this time. Maintain hope that you will either restore an old relationship or develop a new one-and when you do, it will be a healthier, happier relationship because you have invested the time to heal and grow.
If you are recently married, congratulations! You are embarking on one of the most rewarding and challenging paths life has to offer. You and your partner have committed to stand by each other through thick and thin, and that is no small commitment! Be sure to cut each other some slack and take the time to do the little things for one another. Marriages are defined not by big, romantic gestures, but rather by small, daily acts of love.
Talk to a trained counselor
Relationships can be chaotic, and it is difficult to know how to address them if you are a participant in the chaos. An online counselor can provide an objective, outsider's perspective and help you develop coping skills and attachment styles that will lay the groundwork for healthy relationship patterns. You are not destined to a string of failed relationships! Let an online counselor help you with your relationship issues today.