Tips for Building a Stronger Relationship

by Miral khattak

Open communication, interest, and working together can help you build a healthy connection. But it might also depend on what you and your partner need.

If you want or have a relationship, you probably want it to be good, right? But just what is a Stronger relationship?

It Depends, of Course. 

Because everyone has different needs, healthy interactions look different for each person. Your needs may change over time regarding sex, affection, communication, space, shared interests or ideals, and other things.

So, the relationship you want in your 30s might differ significantly from the one you want in your 20s.

Relationships that don’t fit the usual ideas of a relationship can still be good. People who practice ethical non-monogamy or polyamory, for instance, might have a different idea of what makes a relationship good than people who practice monogamy.

In short, “healthy relationship” is a broad term because what makes two people happy in a relationship differs for each. 

How it Looks 

A therapist in Berkeley, California, named Lindsey Antin, says that adaptability is a trait that most Stronger relationships have. “They change with the times and consider that we’re always evolving and going through different stages of life.”

Take a look at some more signs of a healthy connection. 

Open Lines of Dialogue 

When two people are in a Stronger relationship, they usually talk about their happy and sad times and their wins and failures.

You should feel free to talk about anything that comes up, from everyday things like stress at work or with friends to more important things like mental health symptoms or money worries.

People who listen don’t judge, even if they disagree, and then give their views.

Talking to each other works both ways. It’s also vital to trust them to say what they think or feel as it comes up. 

People who aren’t in a monogamous relationship may value mental check-ins and talk about what’s going on with other partners even more. 

Have Faith

Have Faith

Honesty and sincerity are needed to build trust. It’s not a secret between you two. You don’t have to worry about them going after others when you’re not together.

But trust is more than thinking they won’t lie or cheat on you.

You also know they won’t hurt you physically or mentally, and you feel safe and at ease with them. They care about you and want what’s best for you, but they also respect you enough to let you make your own decisions. 

Being unique

Interdependence is the best way to describe healthy interactions. When two people are interdependent, they count on each other for support but keep their identities.

To put it another way, your friendship is fair. You know they love and approve of you, but your confidence doesn’t rest on them. You’re there for each other, but don’t count on each other to meet your needs. 

You still have friends and ties outside of the relationship, and you enjoy doing things that aren’t related to the relationship. 

An Interest

Being interested is a vital part of a good, long-term relationship.

This means you care about what they think, what they want, and how they live their life. You want to see them become the best version of themselves. You’re not stuck on what they were or what you think they should be.

“You’re open-minded about each other,” Antin says. 

Being curious also means you’re ready to think about or talk about changing how your relationship works if some parts stop making you happy. It has to do with reality, too. You care about them as they are, not as you think they should be. 

Some Time Apart

Spending time together is essential to most people in Stronger relationships. However, the time you spend together can change depending on your needs, living situation, work, etc.

On the other hand, you know that you need your room and time. You could use this time to relax, work on a skill, or visit family or friends.

No matter what you do, you don’t have to be together all the time or think that being apart will hurt your relationship. 

Being Playful or Lighthearted 

Setting aside time for adventure and fun is when the mood strikes essential. A promising sign is being able to joke around and laugh with each other.

Problems or problems in life may touch one or both of you occasionally. This might change the mood in your relationship for a while, making it hard to connect the way you usually do.

But even when things are hard, sharing fun times that help ease the stress strengthens your relationship. 

Closeness in the Body

Closeness in the Body

A lot of the time, intimacy means having sex, but not always. Not everyone wants or likes to have sex. You and your partner can still be happy and healthy without it as long as you know how to meet your needs.

If you don’t want to have sex, you could be physically close by kissing, hugging, touching, or sleeping together. No matter what closeness you share, meeting and bonding physically is essential.

If You Both like Having Sex, Your Relationship is Probably Good if: 

If You Both like Having Sex, Your Relation

  • Feel good about starting sex conversations and talking about it; can handle rejection well and can talk about their wants.
  • Feel free to say whether you want more or less sex.
  • Respecting sexual limits is also a part of healthy intimacy. Among these are:
  • I am not pushing partners to have sex or do certain sex acts when they say no. I am not talking about other lovers with other people.
  • talking about sexual risk factors 

Working Together

Working Together

People who are close to each other can be thought of as a team. Sometimes, you don’t agree or have the same goals, but you still work together and help each other.

In short, you look out for each other. You know you can ask them for help when things are tough. You’re also always ready to help them out when they need it.

Getting Rid of Conflicts

Of course, even in a Stronger relationship, you and your partner will argue and get mad at each other from time to time. That makes perfect sense. It doesn’t mean that your relationship isn’t good.

The important thing is how you handle disagreements. You are on the right track if you can talk about your differences honestly, honestly, and respectfully.

When partners argue, they can often find a compromise or answer if they do not judge or insult each other. 

Red Flags in a Relationship

Red Flags in a Relationship

Being in a relationship should make you feel complete, happy, and connected. Your relationship may have trouble if you feel more stressed, nervous, or unhappy with your partner.

This list doesn’t include all the signs of an unhealthy relationship because they can be very different. But it might help show some problems that might be there. 

One of You Tries to Change or Control the Other. 

According to Antin, we can never change someone else.

You should be able to talk about a behavior that worries you if you feel safe doing so. You can tell them how you feel and ask them to think about making changes. It would help if you didn’t tell them what to do or try to control how they act.

You might be unable to stay with them if they do something that bothers you a lot and you can’t accept. 

Your Partner Doesn’t Follow the Rules You Set. 

Setting limits can affect many parts of your relationship, from how you talk to each other to your need for privacy. When someone crosses a limit and then tries to change it or pushes against it, that’s a warning sign.

You may have said, “When I get home from work, I need my space.” I’m glad to see you, but I must relax before touching you.

When you get home, they keep coming up to you and trying to kiss you and pull you into the bedroom. If you say no, they apologize and “can’t help themselves.” 

This could be a sign of love, so you might ignore it and keep setting limits, hoping they’ll master them in time. But how they act shows that they don’t care about your wants. 

You and I Don’t Spend Much Time Together.

People usually start dating when they like being with each other and want to spend more time with them. Sometimes, things that happen in your lives will get in the way of your time together, but these changes will only last for a short time.

If you don’t have a good reason for seeing each other less often, like family problems or more work duties, your relationship might be having trouble.

Feeling detached from each other or happy when you’re not together are also red flags. You might even try to find reasons not to be with each other. 

The Connection Doesn’t Feel Fair.

Most of the time, Stronger relationships are pretty balanced. You could split the money evenly or run more errands to compensate for a lower income.

But equality in a relationship can also mean things that can’t be seen or touched, like love, communication, and relationship expectations.

From time to time, there may be times when things are not fair. If one of you gets sick and can’t help with chores, or you’re stressed out or going through other emotional problems, you might temporarily lose your job. 

However, this can be a problem if your relationship sometimes feels off. 

They say cruel or bad things about you or other people.

There’s no harm in being worried when your partner does something that makes you feel bad. However, people in a Stronger relationship usually talk about their feelings in helpful and constructive ways.

It’s not healthy to speak badly about each other or criticize them all the time, especially when it comes to personal decisions like food, clothes, or TV shows. Criticism that makes you feel bad about yourself or ashamed is usually not helpful. 

Listen to how they talk about other people, too. Even if your relationship with each other seems fine, think about what their behavior says about them as a person if they use hate speech, slurs, or comments that are biased against other people. 

Your Partner Doesn’t Listen to You.

You might not feel heard because they don’t seem interested when discussing a problem or something on your mind. You might also find it hard to say what you think or talk about important things because you think they’ll just brush you off. 

People can misunderstand each other. But if you talk to them about a problem and they seem open to hearing it, but they don’t change anything or seem to have forgotten everything by the next day, that’s also a red flag. 

You’re afraid to say what you think.

Partners should always feel like they can say what they think, even if they disagree with their partner. If your partner treats your (differing) point of view with disdain, disrespect, or other rudeness, it is likely they don’t value you or your ideas. 

It might be time to get professional help if you find yourself holding back everything you say because you’re afraid of how they’ll respond or if you feel like you’re “walking on eggshells” every day, as Antin puts it.

Talk to a doctor right away if you are afraid of being abused mentally or physically. Please don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family for help. 

You don’t like being with your partner and don’t feel safe.

Many people’s main relationship goals are to be happier and more satisfied with their lives. If the relationship makes you feel uncomfortable or sad all the time, it might not be meeting your needs.

Even if both of you work in the relationship, this can still happen. Since people change over time, the fact that you both feel unhappy and stuck doesn’t always mean you’ve done something “wrong.” You might have changed into two people who don’t get along anymore. 

Having disagreements or talks doesn’t get anything done.

Managing a dispute healthily usually leads to solutions or agreements. It would help if you worked at it daily to keep a friendship going, so things might not work out immediately. You usually feel good about the talks you have though afterward. Most of the time, you see growth.

It’s a bad sign when you keep talking about the same things or going around in loops. Maybe things will never improve, no matter how much you talk about them. Maybe they’ll just shut you out in the end. 

Questions to Ask Yourself

Having the same rules for every friendship is hard to do. But if you want to know if yours is good, here are some questions you can ask yourself. 

Is Your Relationship in Good Shape? 

  • Check to see if your partner helps you grow.
  • Do we have the same plans for the future?
  • Do we both want the same kind of relationship?
  • Can I be myself around them?
  • Do I like them the way they are?
  • How much do we give and take from each other?
  • Is having them in my life better?
  • Does the time we spend together matter? 

Your relationship is likely strong if you say yes to six or more of these questions. 

Advice on How to Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Going to couples therapy could be a good idea if any relationship red flags hit home.

Antin says, “Couples therapy is two people getting together to work on themselves.” It’s not a failure to ask for help. It means you want to get better for yourself and each other.

But sometimes, Stronger relationships need a little extra work. To keep things going in the right direction, read these tips. 

Accept Each Other’s Differences.

“They may be driven, but you prefer to stay home,” Antin says. “But this is a good balance because you can start a project or go on an adventure, and the other likes peace and keeps the home fire going.” 

Think about their point of view.

Antin says, “Instead of trying to get them to see things your way, be interested in how they do and see things.” 

Work together to solve issues.

“Stop making each other the problem and work together to solve them,” says Antin. 

Request What You Want and be Ready to Hear What They Want. 

It’s okay if you don’t always agree. You’re not the same person; you know that. It’s essential to be able to find a middle ground. 

Do Something Different with Your Partner.

Do something different with your relationship if it feels stuck or not going anywhere. A change of setting can help you see things in a new way. 

Talk about what you want to achieve.

This can help you get back in touch and ensure your hopes and beliefs remain the same. 

In the End

You may have met your partner because you both like camping and Indian food, but these things don’t have much to do with keeping your relationship healthy over time.

Trust and safety are crucial when you’re with someone. Do you think that you can learn and grow together?

If you’re scared about your relationship or think it’s not as strong as it used to be, go with your gut and find out what these feelings mean. A therapist can help you figure out when you should put in more effort and when you should just give up. 

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