Turn Setbacks into Setups
The Dangers of Looking for Love: How to Look for a Good Relationship
February 13, 2019
The greatest irony with relationships is that the more we try and force them to work, the faster they fail.
In fact, we often have the hardest time when we’re actively looking for a long-term relationship. That’s when we struggle to find a partner, or when our partner disappoints us. That’s when we feel a little desperate, hoping to find and hang onto anyone.
But these are also the times when we need to have a little faith, and to hold out for a good relationship. What exactly do we mean by that? Here’s our “good relationship” definition: a relationship based on mutual respect and love, in which both partners communicate clearly about their needs and values, and both partners share the same rights and responsibilities.
To make this a little clearer, let’s dive a little deeper into the characteristics of a good relationship:
- Friendship. It’s true that sexual attraction is important in its own right, but a true and lasting friendship creates the foundation every good romantic relationship is based on. This means you treat your partner like you would your best friend: you encourage each other, speak kindly to each other, and have fun together.
- Trust. Everyone needs a sense of security in their relationship, and it’s important to feel that you have each other’s back. This means you and your partner are fully committed to each other, staying loyal and supportive even when things are tough.
- Respect. This trait comes in many forms: a respect for boundaries, a respect for each other’s time, and a respect for each other’s character, to name a few. In essence, all of your actions and behaviors should show your partner that you believe they are worthy, creating a mutual feeling of deep appreciation.
- Communication. Honest communication is what allows us to verbalize our inner selves and connect with others through words, and it’s one of the most important components of any good relationship. Both of you should feel comfortable sharing your feelings and needs, and (most importantly) being vulnerable and honest with each other.
- Teamwork. In a good relationship, there should be an understanding that the two of you are on the same team. There’s a reason why we call each other partners: your job in a relationship is to support each other, to share burdens equally, and to work together over the course of your lives. After all, relationships are a two-person job!
- Intimacy. It should come as no surprise that sex plays a critical role in the success of any relationship, so strong couples will make it a priority to keep their sex life alive and interesting, even as time goes on. At the same time, it’s important not to forget that true intimacy goes beyond sex: it’s about being genuine, opening up, and truly understanding each other.
- Self-love. Before we can cultivate a good relationship with another person, we have to have a good relationship with ourselves. This means knowing our limits and boundaries, having an awareness of our own self-worth, and being unwilling to compromise on the values that we hold dear.
- Unconditional love. This is worth saying: in a good relationship, we make a commitment to treat our partner well, always, and unconditionally. This love grows over time, just as you grow together as a couple over time, learning about each other, adapting to your changing lives, and supporting each other through it all.
As you come to understand yourself and your personal approach to relationships, you’ll see how working on these eight key characteristics can deepen your bond. Plus, once you find the committed partner you’re looking for, you’ll start to learn firsthand about the qualities of a strong relationship.