I love Valentine’s Day. I love being able to celebrate with my friends, and in the past few years, my boyfriend (even though we’ve never been able to celebrate on the day together). Last year for my blog post, I did some dating tips (you can read them here). This year, I want to do something that deals with relationships, but something different.
I am sure you have heard people saying “You need to find a girl/boyfriend.” So in the spirit of that statement, I am going to list some standards you should look for in a relationship. If you are already in a relationship, you can see how your partner lines up, and feel free to personalize this list to fit you. And if you’re not in a relationship, you can apply these standards to yourself to better yourself overall.
However, before I list these standards, I need to give a disclaimer. Your self-worth is not defined by your relationship status. You don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy. Those in relationships are not better than those who are not in relationships. Your life is defined by what you do, not the person you share it with. If that were the case, then some people would not live.
That being said, here are my standards that I think apply to all relationships.
FIND YOU SOMEONE WHO…
- You can trust completely and who trusts you just as much. This one sounds obvious but it needs to be there anyway. Trust is the most vital component in any relationship. You need to trust each other to be able to be together. Trust needs to be in every aspect. Physical, mental, location, and external friendships (which I’ll come back to later) all require trust. With my boyfriend and I in two separate cities most of the year, we need to trust each other with everything we say we do.
- You can talk to. I would go as bold to say that at least two-thirds of a relationship is about communication. You need to be able to talk to your partner. Ask them about their day, talk to them about their hobbies and interests, and voice any problems or concerns you may have. If you find in your partner that you cannot talk to them, they are not right for you. There was a statement made in my psychology class (psychology of women) earlier this semester. Someone said, “If you need a safe word in your relationship, you need a new relationship.” In a sense though, that is so true. Your partner should know your boundaries and your triggers, They should know what makes you angry, what makes you happy, what is unacceptable, and what is acceptable. You should be able to communicate that with your partner. You never stop talking to them in a healthy relationship.
- Shares common interests with you. You need to be able to find things to do or talk about together that you both enjoy. For my boyfriend and I, one of our common interests is sports. We can talk about almost any sport together, and we can watch them together too. A little while ago, he and I were sitting together watching a college basketball game on TV. I had no problem with it, but my boyfriend thanked me for sitting with him. It didn’t bore me. I was into the game too, but that was more of something he wanted to do than I would have planned. But on that note…
- Has different interests in you. You do not want to have everything in common with someone. A) I do not completely think that is possible and B) I think you would have a harder time learning about new things. It is nice to have different interests. You don’t have to be passionate about something your partner is passionate about, but you should be able to listen to them and perhaps provide some insight in the conversation.
- You can be yourself around. So often, I have seen people change to try to “fit” more with their partner. Now, with spending extended time with someone, you’ll adopt some of their mannerisms and interests. But that doesn’t mean that all of a sudden, you need to have all the same hobbies (see above). Your partner should be someone who brings out the best in you simply because you both can be yourselves.
- Loves you because of your faults, not in spite of them. I have found that some of the things I do not like about myself, my boyfriend loves about me. And the same is true in reverse. We balance each other out. If there is a “but” attached to “I love you,” then the love isn’t real. They should love you for every part of who you are. They should love you BECAUSE of who you are.
- Has friends that are not you. While my boyfriend and I have some mutual friends, we also have people that the other one may know of but may not know. I love being able to introduce him to my friends and show him off. But I love that he has friends that aren’t me. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m usually away from him for eight or nine months of the year. I want him to still have fun, and I know he wants the same for me. A good relationship wants the other person to enjoy life, even without you. Now, we still have fun when I am in town and get to see each other, but he doesn’t sit at home hoping for some kind of plans. He’s active with his friends, and I am active with mine.
- Sees you as a friend and not just a significant other. My boyfriend have been best friends way longer than we have been a couple. The other day, I needed some serious advice about something, so I called him up. He gave me solid advice based on how he knows me and how he thinks something would be more suited to me. And I’ve done the same for him. We talk and act and joke like we’re best friends, because we are. I tell him things because he is my best friend, and not just my boyfriend.
- Spoils you, and who you spoil. People often think that this works only one way. But it does not. Yes, we buy presents for each other on important days, but I believe that the more genuine come from just what we find. My boyfriend gets me random stuff when he sees something that he’ll know I like, and I love him for it. But I do the exact same thing. It’s not about the dollar amount. I spent $3 on something for him, and when I gave it to him, his face lit up. We both spoil each other in ways that we can.
- Seeks to solve any conflicts, and not escalate them. I’ve read a number of articles with points being like “not keeping score in a relationship”. That shouldn’t even be an issue. Part of a relationship is being able to solve the problems that arise in a way that leaves neither person scarred. By that, I mean harsh words are never a solution. If you have an issue with your partner, it should not be brought up in the heat of an argument. That is only going to escalate the conflict. I am not saying that a good relationship has no conflict; I am actually saying the opposite. I think the best relationships are the ones that take conflict and learn from them. But escalating conflict by dragging other things into it. If you have an issue, focus on the one at hand, and bring up the others when you are both calm and can rationally talk it out.
That’s my general list. Again, feel free to personalize this because each relationship is different. And, if you’re not in a relationship, then work on these with your friends because while it may not be romantic, those are still relationships as well. All in all, I think you should do what’s best for yourself and what can most benefit those in your life.
Let me know if you have any thoughts or comments!