We have all been in relationships that have been deemed ‘toxic’, or ‘not good enough’ for us. We ebb and flow through life in different relationships, until we feel like we’ve met our match. Sometimes we realize that ‘meeting our match’ is actually not the best thing for us. The ‘match’ we’ve been searching for is actually ourselves. We live solitary lives because that is the healthiest and happiest relationship we choose.
But what if we choose to be in a relationship with another person? How do we know what we should strive for, or what a healthy relationship looks like and how to have it?
I read an article the other day, and it had a picture under the title “This is What a Healthy Relationship Looks Like”. The more I looked at it, the more it made sense. In the photo there are two people in two separate hot tubs. They’re about 5 feet away from each other, facing forward, with a fire pit in between.
The author goes on to explain why this picture is the symbol of a healthy relationship. Having separate hobbies, interests and goals should be in addition to the goals and interests of the couple. It is the key factor of a healthy relationship. We’ve all had that friend or family member who meets someone, and then immediately starts to change all their own interests and hobbies to that of their partner. They forget about what made them happy in the first place, and think if they just develop the same interests as their partner, it will sustain them for life.
As the author of this article John Kim says, this is actually called co-dependency. When two partners completely intertwine their lives, including interests, hobbies, thoughts, and goals. It just doesn’t work. You lose your sense of self, and the line between you and your partner is blurred.
Kim explains that a healthy relationship is one where you and your partner have happy and successful separate lives, and then come together to share those two lives side by side. When you are facing in the same direction rather than at each other, you are working individually and together to build a successful life and bond moving forward.
The fire pit symbolizes the attraction, the trust, and the bond. It requires both partners to continually stoke the fire, and to keep the fuel burning.
The common thing that keeps coming up in reference to healthy relationships, is what is required to build it. The two people who know that trust, intimacy, individual lives, and common goals requires work, time, and patience. Those are the two people who will continue to build their relationship for the long term.