Healthy Love

1. Become emotionally healthy on your own. Seek counseling, read books, join a support group, journal, meditate, pray, be grounded…

2. Release your need for your love interest to fit some sort of ideal. Looking for the same qualities over and over again, have not worked.

3. Be friends first. Do not consummate the relationship until you have a good idea of who they really are. Being intimate too soon causes extra pain when you both realize that the other person is not who you made them out to be.

4. The “honeymoon” phase is NOT the time to make any commitments.

5. Be absolutely certain to NOT get pregnant. If either of you are in a hurry to have a baby. there is definitely something wrong. Starting a family should arise out of a long-term, love relationship that has already included some level of commitment.

6. Challenge each other to grow and expand your lives. If one or both of you are struggling to keep each other held down or limiting the other’s opportunities, this is NOT healthy. This is control.

7. Do not bring others into your conflict.

8. Do not expect someone to fit your unreasonable requirements. They must be wealthy and give me unlimited amounts of money. They must be physically fit and follow my exact diet. They must spend all of their time with me and get permission to be somewhere else without me. They must love my family and side with me against their own. They must treat my children as their own and resist any extra time spent with their own children. All of these rules are unhealthy AND unfair.

9. Accept all of their relationships just as you accept them. Do not intervene in any relationship that they already have established. You are manipulative if you find love and then go about making changes to their lives. If there is a truly damaging relationship, then the decision to distance themselves from that person is a joint decision, not your decision.

10. Trust them until they give you a reason to not trust them. If your last love was a cheater, that does not mean that this person will cheat as well. Or, if other partners have stolen money from you, this person is different until you find reason to think otherwise. This may be YOUR dysfunctional behavior by expecting trouble in the same ways throughout any of your relationships. Your insecurities may actually doom any hope of success with someone new.

11. Build trust one step at a time. Do not give someone the keys to your car, house and heart in the first week.

12. Recognize when someone in your life is sabotaging this relationship. Your partner may seem insecure but there may be some truth to their discomfort. Is your mother trying to turn you against them? Does your best friend not like them because they don’t see you as often? Does your father disapprove of their career? Be objective.

13. Keep your finances separate. There is no quicker way to find an abusive, controlling person then to give them access to your cash.

14. If they cheat, do not blame just the other person who they cheated with. This is irrational. Both parties cheated. There is a shared responsibility for the deception. If you fall into this mind trap then you are being played by your partner.

15. Take turns deciding what to do for fun, leisure, exercise… Do not force a person into your life. Always make concessions and compromise equally.

16. Ask some good questions  Once it begins to feel serious, discuss money, family commitments, illness, finances, children, retirement, housing, travel… If there are important issues that you are the polar opposite of each other, then you must decide how to proceed. Forcing someone to compromise is not healthy or respectful.

17. Make small changes until you each feel more comfortable.

18. Begin your financial discussions when you have made a commitment to each other. You may have to decide on savings, housing, large purchases, dividing bills, college tuition, pet care, elder care, any moves required for work…  This will decrease the shock of your financial expenditures by having an idea of what costs you will be facing together. Conflict over finances can end a relationship.

19. Never give up too much of yourself to make the other person happy. Know when you are no longer the person you want to be and make some changes. If there is no compromise, this is probably not a healthy relationship for you.

20. Build respect for your partner from your family, friends and other close loved ones. Please do not allow your partner to be chastised or disrespected when travelling in your circles. By allowing these conflicts, you are leaving your love to fend for themselves and this is not healthy or loving. You would not be happy in this same situation, so protect your partner as you would also expect to be protected.

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