What is a healthy relationship?
Perhaps one of the most modern relationship problems and frequently misunderstood parts of togetherness is when we clash. Where two strong heads collide and push against each other. It’s where most, if not all relationships are prone to breaking down at some point in a lifetime. It can be the catalyst of a breakup, or it can be an issue that brought you closer together. Most of the time it can be the catalyst for breakup. If any of you have seen the ‘break-up’ with Jennifer Anniston and Vince Vaughn you’ll know that if only Vince, or Jennifer had backed down they could have averted a crisis.
What is a healthy relationship you ask?
A healthy relationship in my opinion is one that gets dragged through the mud, but both of you come back, stronger than ever. That which is designed to break you apart just makes you both stronger as a couple. It’s one of nurture, it’s one of caring, it’s one of empowerment. It’s both of you rooting for each other in a unity of life collaboration.
Sounds easy. Why are relationships failing all over?
No-one wants to work at them anymore. I mean truly work at them. The world wide web has advanced humankind exponentially, but with it, it has spawned into life humankinds darkest desires. Argument with the girlfriend? No worries, let’s check Tinder. Argument with the wife? There are actually several sex websites that I discovered not long ago that encourage extra-marital hookups. I’m not joking. In a world that’s brought everything to our doortstep with the click of a button, brought people together in ways we couldn’t fathom thirty years ago, it’s also brought along with it the dark side of humanity. It’s not only that, though, we now have a society that expects instant answers, instantaneous relief from whatever problems that we have, and if we can’t get it from our partners then we seek out out in our friends, who are too often naturally unhelpful. Queue hour-long taking the piss out off your significant other fests. No wonder there are so many relationship advice for men / women articles out there!
We have also brought to the table isolation, a feeling that people explain as ‘never before have they felt so connected yet isolated.’ I can describe this as two partners using Facebook to converse with each other rather than simply having a conversation in the real world. Our real lives and internet lives have became strangely intertwined where I wonder if people actually have a proper grasp of where one ends and the other begins.
Let’s get to the Good Stuff. Relationship advice for men
I’m male so I can only speak from experience, but here’s how I answer the question – what is a healthy relationship?
Listen to her
No, I mean truly listen to her. Most of the time we are only listening to reply, but we aren’t sitting back and truly listening. You don’t understand that right? Of course you don’t. Ok. Listening to her means more than just sitting and hearing what she is saying, it requires you to ask yourself why is she saying this to you and where is it coming from? Telling you that she wants you to pick up your socks more often isn’t just her nagging at you, she’s telling you that she is getting tired of picking up your clothing and wants you to stop treating her like your mother. You can tell by analysing the situation more closely. Does she say it often? Why does she say it often? Have you done anything about it? Why haven’t you done anything about it? A good relationship is one where both partners listen to each other and adjust their behaviour accordingly.
Let her win on occassion – especially if you are in the wrong
Nothing gets on my nerves more than someone that won’t back down even when you know they are in the wrong. Are you seriously willing to stand there and argue for a whole day when everything could be fixed in mere minutes by just throwing your hands up and saying, “you know what honey? I’m so sorry. You’re right!” rather than spending an afternoon or more at each others throats. I don’t know about you but I want an easy life, rather than arguing about crazily unimprotant things doesn’t rate high on my radar. This isn’t just good relationship advice for men but also good advice for women too.
Don’t cheat when times get hard
You’re a dick if you’re doing this and she isn’t aware. Even if you think she’s doing it to you, that doesn’t make your behaviour any more acceptable. I’ve lost count of the amount of women I know that have had relationships with Married men when their Marriage is on the rocks, or their wife is expecting and he can’t get any sex, or he just want’s more than she is giving him and my woman friends have played the ‘other woman’. Don’t be a fucking dickhead and communicate with your partner. Nothing says nasty breakup than your significant other finding you’ve been behind her back with a tonne of other women.
Follow through with your actions
Yeah, I know, us men are brilliant at whispering sweet nothings into our partners ears and telling her exactly what she wants to hear; what we’re not great at though is following through with our actions. On our honeymoon we met this lovely couple. Natalie was pregnant and I did absolutely everything for her. It must have made the man from the other couple feel really uncomfortable because he had a long chat with his new-wife about how much he didn’t do around the house and how that would change. Yet, two days later we walked into their room and he was still flicking the TV whilst she was cooking the dinner, doing the ironing and staying on top of the laundry. Follow through with your actions — if you say you will do something, do it and mean it.
Be straight with her at all times
Sometimes hard talks need to be had to move on else we get stuck in a certain part of the relationship, no traction is made and feelings boil over until they erupt like a supervolcano. Maybe she isn’t spending enough time with you or having enough sex? Maybe you hate that she talks to men all the time but pays you not enough attention to satisfy your needs. There is no set rules in a relationship, both of you define your own, and that’s why talks need to be made. Else you don’t set any boundaries and a relationship without visual and audible ‘do not cross’ signs is a disaster waiting to happen. Open up and talk to her man!
Make her feel safe
It’s easy nowadays to go running off to your friends to slag your significant other about the shit things she’s doing and the horrible stuff she’s getting up to. Look, why aren’t you discussing this with her? In my eyes there’s things in a relationship that needs to be private, and that includes internal struggles. If you’re not looking for a positive solution with your friends then you shouldn’t be talking about it. Make her feel safe in the sense that when you have a problem you’ll talk to her about it and when she has a problem you’ll listen to her and you’ll act in her best interests, and not run to your nearest friend to bitch about it.
Give her freedom
Last, but probably the most important one is to give her freedom. She may not know it yet but time out with her friends and family without you is actually really healthy for her. Maybe you want to play the Xbox downstairs at night whilst she’s upstairs watching Netflix. Let go of that control. The way I look at my relationship is that I let Natalie swim out in the deep end and I only jump in if she asks for my help. What you perhaps haven’t realised yet is that your partner has a mind and an entirely different skillset and perspective than your own. She views the world differently. Let her. Stop trying to make her see it through your eyes — let her fly free.
That’s all folks!
Hopefully these tips have given you a good base to start from. It’s not an exhaustive list either, so the more you can think of the better it is for you. Just remember, be empowering and inspiring. It’s not a competition. A relationship is a beautiful transformation of two people that have came together to be better at life. We bolster each other, we strive for the best in one another. It’s not a race to win, nor is it a competition to gain points from. The best relationship advice for men I can give is not only do you have to lead her but you have to nurture her too.