Sharing a life with someone can be a fulfilling and emotional experience. In the beginning, there may be sparks and butterflies and fireworks, but what does it take to turn passion and infatuation into a healthy, long-lasting relationship? While every relationship is different, there are certain key elements that John Kim, LMFT, believes are indicative of whether or not you and your S.O. will last. It comes down to creating a healthy relationship in which each partner remains independent and able to move their life in the direction they intend to.
In a recent article for Psychology Today, Kim explains the three things a relationship should have to get to this healthy place.
Space for individuality
Each partner in a healthy relationship needs what Kim refers to as "separate containers," meaning they continue to have their own lives. When you forget about your own life, you can easily become co-dependent, according to Kim. "Many mistake this feeling for intensity or how much they love someone. But it's not love. It's the sticky of two people without boundaries and a sense of self," writes Kim.
Similar values and goals
"Healthy love requires facing in the same direction," Kim explains. This means being supportive and caring while allowing your partner to make their own decisions. It also means having similar values and beliefs. "When your big important life stuff overlaps with their big life important stuff, there is a 'being on the same team' feeling that makes people work hard for their relationship."
Trust in each other
While Kim believes that attraction and chemistry are important in a healthy relationship, for him, fire also means trust. "Trust is what keeps you guys warm. It's what creates glue and produces connection. And like a fire, trust needs to be fanned and fueled to keep it going."
Head to Psychology Today for the full story.