What do you look for in a relationship? How would you ideally like to feel? How would you aspire to behave and treat someone special to you?
We are obviously all different and have varying wants and needs. But it can be useful to consider both how you behave and project yourself and how you are treated by others. You may actually like to consider whether you're in the right relationship for you, if you need to compromise at all, perhaps communicate more clearly about your needs or actually even break free from feeling controlled or manipulated.
It can be very easy to start to 'lose yourself' in a relationship; even when it is potentially with the right match for you. This is where it's so important to keep up with your own interests and passions or even actually seek out things to do that inspire you or bring you joy away from your partner. Time apart doing something you love or even your own work, then gives you even more to talk about when you are spending time together. I've heard far too often about very unbalanced relationships, where one person will give up all of their own interests and basically completely change who they are, and what they do, for the other; only to then eventually be 'let down' by that person whom they've effectively given up their life for!
Ideally you would always ensure that you are strong and independent as an individual first and foremost. You need to be fully empowered and happy with your own life, before you even entertain looking for a partner or entering into a relationship. This is something I would always encourage people to consider and work towards.
Equally it's important to at least be working towards loving and nurturing yourself and fulfilling that need for love, by finding it 'within' and through what you do for yourself; rather than effectively being 'needy' for the love and attention of others (and particularly a partner).
In an effective and balanced relationship you wouldn't necessarily feel these things all of the time, but wouldn't it be great if you found you could feel:
safe, comfortable, loved, free, natural, fully yourself, inspired, joyful, peacefully energised, equal, empowered, grateful and ultimately just happy in the knowing that someone is fully there for you, unconditionally but without being co-dependant or complacent.
These are great overall aims. Obviously there will be times when life's challenges can throw things a little off balance. Perhaps one of you is going through some form of mental or physical illness or other challenges which can really affect the way you relate to each other.
Looking at the other angle, you can always aim to create a positive relationship from your side, in the way that you behave and relate to another. Of course we can't get it right all of the time and lots of things can affect mood and behaviour, but you can have the right intentions, keep communicating and aim to do better if necessary. None of us are perfect and things like the current restrictions on us all are bound to affect our outlook.
As a starting point you could perhaps try to be:
encouraging, supportive, caring, accepting, understanding, sensitive to emotional needs, light-hearted but 'deep' when needed, non-judgemental, engaging, focused, attractive, intriguing, eg. making an 'effort' for a partner and committed to making the relationship work.
You will likely have other traits and behaviours you would add or some won't be relevant to you from these lists; but it could be worth giving that some thought. Everyone has their own unique behaviour with both good and bad sides. It's really about whether you love and accept each other unconditionally, whilst also being able to stay empowered and completely yourself as much as possible.
If you feel that you are being overpowered, manipulated, coerced or abused in any way yourself, please try to confide in someone you trust plus check out the help pages for some great support options. If you are not sure where to turn, don't feel alone, make contact through the hub and we will signpost you to suitable support.
FOR 24 HOUR SUPPORT PLEASE CALL THE SAMARITANS - CALL 116 123