Love can be the most wonderful thing in the world. In fact, many people who were lucky enough to experience loving and being loved in a relationship will agree that as a person living in the mundane reality of life, it is the closest thing we have to magic.
However, there are times when what we thought of love ruins us. This is because relationships are not all based on genuine love, and some of them can be toxic and unhealthy and we don’t usually notice it before it’s too late.
So how would you know if the foundation of your relationship is actually true and genuine? More specifically, is the kind of relationship you have right now contributes to your emotional and personal growth or does it do otherwise?
To answer these questions, we have collected some insights and experiences from real people – and it’s important that you pay attention before it’s too late.
Here are the differences between ‘healthy relationships’ and ‘unhealthy relationships’ that you should be aware of.
1. Healthy relationships let you be yourself; unhealthy relationships force you to change.
A good relationship will let you grow as an individual and as a partner but it doesn’t mean that you have to be a totally different person to make your love last.
2. Healthy relationships let you achieve your dreams; unhealthy relationships dictate your life’s choices.
For instance, having your own dreams is important and your partner should encourage you to pursue your own definition of success. This is a healthy way of growing, a kind of positive growth that every individual must have the freedom to experience.
3. Healthy relationships make you a better person; unhealthy relationships turn you into something you’re not.
On the other hand, some relationships require you to change and be a different person not for yourself but to make what you have with your significant other work. In order to please your SO, you have to forget who and what you want to be, and become the ideal partner, the perfect girlfriend or boyfriend that you should be – while sacrificing your own identity in the process.
4. Healthy relationships develop partnership; unhealthy relationships make you feel inferior.
Aside from being the passionate lovers, it’s important to create healthy partnership in every stage of your relationship. As partners, you equally share the power to make decisions, a give-and-take relationship and a mutual respect for each other’s worth.
5. Healthy relationships follow a mutual give-and-take; unhealthy relationships enslave you.
Most couples fail to recognize this and some people even fall to the mistake of defining love as a form of a lifetime servitude, a submission to their partner, giving up their power and self-worth just to prove their ‘love’ to them.
6. Healthy relationships value commitment; unhealthy relationships drive unhealthy attachment.
Attachment can either make or break a relationship. There’s a healthy kind of attachment that you have when you feel a strong connection with someone special. However, it becomes negative and unhealthy when you become overly attached and possessive that you never want that person to be out of sight and out of reach.
7. Healthy relationships mean companionship; unhealthy relationships require constant assurance.
A good companionship means doing your part not only as a dedicated lover but as a loyal companion. In other words, being with someone involves a willingly and mutually accepted responsibility to love each other in sickness and in health, through the bad times and the good ones – without feeling the need to constantly prove how you feel.
8. Healthy relationships feel light; unhealthy relationships smother.
This kind of fixated wanting to be with them all the time often leads to a suffocating prison that not only ruins every bit of happiness you have but also chokes the life and love out of your relationship.
9. Healthy relationships accept disagreements; unhealthy relationships escape it.
Everyone can agree that arguments are normal and in fact necessary when it comes to building a strong and tested bond between two people in love. However, the type of arguments and how you handle sensitive issues that come your way say a lot about the presence – or the absence of love in a relationship.
10. Healthy relationships make you face the fight together; unhealthy relationships make you fight against each other.
What role do you play whenever you and your SO have a fight? Are you the apologetic type or are you the loud and violent defender? Do you let your emotions do the talking or do you consider yourself on the silent, passive side? Depending on the issue, each of us chooses which roles to play and depending on our choices, we can either have a productive agreement or a destructive solution.
11. Healthy relationships unite you on the same side; unhealthy relationships find someone to blame.
Some partners take a totally different role of being the punisher with the single thought of hurting their significant other either to express how they feel or to prove their point. As a ‘punisher’, they use words (and sometimes actions) as weapons to defend their side and finally win by default. If you’re in this type of relationship, maybe it’s time to be kind to yourself and do something about it.
12. Healthy relationships set you free; unhealthy relationships aim to own and possess.
Appreciating someone and loving them inside and out isn’t that difficult as long what you really feel is genuine love and affection. It’s as easy as admiring a beautiful flower without having the selfish urge to possess it. It’s as peaceful as watching a butterfly spread its wings without wanting to catch it. This is true love = thriving beyond physical bond, beyond attachment, greater than anything in the world.
13. Healthy relationships are beyond sensuality; unhealthy relationships rely on temporary pleasures.
Attraction on the basis of genuine love has become rare nowadays. People would often look at the ‘physical’, the rewards of the flesh that they can possess once they win the heart of the subject of their attraction. In this kind of relationship, they don’t see their partner as a precious soul that needs to be loved but as a body, an object that they can consume and brag about in front of their friends and other people.
14. Healthy relationships are pure; unhealthy relationships are shallow.
Real love is both deeper and beyond words– and if you want to be truly happy, learn to scratch the surface and find the truest, most genuine meaning of this special kind of feeling.
Many of us use the word ‘love’ to describe something that we sincerely like, an activity that we enjoy doing, or a person that we admire and have strong feelings for. However, love isn’t as simple as admiration or the wanting to possess or experience a thing or an individual. Love is more than that.
Photo by Rosie Ann