The first characteristic of a healthy person/relationship is the ability for your partner to trust you and you trust your partner. Trust is a difficult concept to define for individuals. Trust is different for every person. I always encourage individuals to talk to those around him/her to find out what trust means to them. I also encourage individuals to figure out what they feel trust means. This helps everyone to know what is expected. Without fail almost everyone one I have worked with have found this a difficult task.
In our age of media that creates movies called “He’s Just Not Into You” along with books in bookstores writing that unless a person is jealous of the ones you are around, that partner doesn’t love you.
I remember being in high school and then college having this warped idea of what a healthy relationship is and how my partner should show me that he cares. I could judge that commitment by how possessive he was of me. It wasn’t until I started dating my current partner I really had to sit down and rethink this. Nothing in our relationship made sense to me when I tried to line it up with my past relationships and what I knew about dating.
Repeatedly in our early relationship he was very relaxed about where I went, who I saw, and how often I saw them. He was not possessive at all and he apparently felt confident that I could handle myself and he could stand as backup. This new relationship style for me took some getting used to. There were bumps along the road as I tried to figure out what would be expected with my partner. It also made clear to me what I have expected in previous relationships and whether I needed to keep those expectations.
Through this process I had to look inward to see how I was acting around him. There were two people in this relationship. Did I treat him with the same kind of trust and respect he was offering me? Unfortunately, I would have to admit no, I did not treat him the same. This realization allowed me to let go of old unhealthy beliefs and work towards a better bond. I won’t say that this was an easy process but the reward has been more than worth it.
I’m more relaxed in our relationship, and I don’t have unwarranted fears regarding my partner and what he is doing. I don’t get interrogated each time I go out with friends, and I have a freedom I didn’t have before.
I was able to figure this out over time on my own with a great deal of positive reinforcement, but not everyone is able to do this. Upraising, circumstance and lack of knowledge can cause this journey to be much harder or impossible on your own. Counseling can be a major asset in exploring connection. I think counselors can be a major benefit for anyone questioning their life, their relationships or themselves.