New relationships are so exciting! Finding and maintaining a positive and mutually benefiting relationship is one of the most exciting, fulfilling and difficult practices in life. The ideas that our current culture romanticizes: love at first sight, lust, and cohabitation are not the practices that statistically lead to lasting and healthy relationships.
Most people want to be in a positive relationship and reap the benefits that come with one, such as feelings of love, security and companionship. Unfortunately, it seems like it can be difficult to find a healthy, successful relationship to learn from and emulate. Relationships are all around us: at home, on TV sitcoms and reality shows, in fairytales, and in the tabloids. Our view of a normal relationship, and what constitutes a “happy ending,” has become increasingly convoluted. The line between what is accepted and what is healthy continues to be blurred. With so many conflicting relationship styles and so much confusing advice, it is difficult to find truthful and helpful answers to common questions, like:
How fast is too fast?
Is this a healthy relationship?
Can I trust this person?
Will this relationship last?
Having well-established personal boundaries can help to create a healthy relationship while also maintaining one’s sense of self. It is easy to lose ourselves in relationships while trying to impress the other person and make them happy – sometimes to the detriment of our own happiness! Having a clear sense of our own values and personal limits can help to navigate potentially confusing situations. A perfect time to determine personal boundaries and limits is before they are tested; however, it is always a good time to explore and reassess our comfort level in relationships. Questions to determine personal limits may include:
How independent do I wish to remain in a relationship?
How do I choose between my friends and significant other on weekends?
What am I not willing to give up for my boyfriend/girlfriend?
What practices do I feel comfortable with sexually?
How much time do I want to spend with my significant other?
Relationships are an integral part of life. Establishing a new romantic relationship can be exciting and overwhelming. The process of growing and maintaining that relationship can take a lot of effort and be incredibly rewarding when it is aligned with your personal belief system!
By Sara Kusas, LISW-S