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5 Steps to a Healthy Relationship

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Crushing, Dating, and Everything in Between

You’ve probably realized by now that relationships take work. A lot of work. Attraction often gets things going, but if that’s all the two of you have in common, your relationship will get old fast. (Even the hottest fires can only burn for so long). Whether you’ve just started dating or have been together for several months, these tips can help your relationship flourish.

  1. Keep talking. One of the fastest ways to torpedo a relationship is a lack of communication. If your boyfriend or girlfriend says something you don’t understand or don’t agree with, don’t let it fester inside of you. Ask them to explain their point better and talk it through. The same goes for their actions. If they treat you inappropriately, speak up. Use “I” statements: I feel this, I think that. Doing so makes it seem less like you’re accusing them, and they’ll be more apt to really listen to your concerns.
  2. Respect each other.  You can’t be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t respect you. Do they like you for who you really are, or for who you pretend to be when you’re with them? If you can’t be yourself around them, ask yourself why that is. Are you afraid they won’t be into the real you? If the answer is yes, this may not be the right person for you. Your bf or gf should never force you to do or be something you aren’t comfortable with.
  3. Give each other space. You may want to hang out together 24/7, but taking a little time apart is good for every relationship. You know that old saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder?”  Well, it’s true! Don’t stop doing the things you love or spending time with friends just because you’re in a relationship. You can’t be a good partner if you lose your identity to the other person.
  4. Trust each other. Trust is a huge piece in the healthy relationship puzzle. You need to trust that person with your heart, your mind, your body…it’s a huge deal. This is especially important when you become physical. Becoming physical with someone you don’t trust will not end well, because trust is the basis of every relationship. You wouldn’t be friends with someone you don’t trust, right? So why would you date them?
  5. Be honest. Lying, secretiveness, cheating…not qualities you ever want in your relationship. Trust and honesty go hand in hand, but without honesty, you can’t begin to build trust in someone. Be open about your feelings and tell your partner what you’re thinking in a compassionate, caring way.  What you have to say might be hard for them to hear, but it’s important to always be honest. (Lying to them will hurt even more when they inevitably find out).

Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant Number: 90-FE-0024. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

Author: Michelle H.
Teenagers sitting on a tree limb

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