The reason you’re in a relationship determines the quality of it.
The world is full of iconic relationships, unions that have made us believe in true love. Anthony and Cleopatra. Napoleon and Josephine. Brad and Angelina (ok… maybe not). Even Mickey and Minnie (because if animated mice can go the long haul, any of us can). Still, while the concept of relationships is romantic and hopeful, they aren’t always legitimate. This is because people enter into them for all kinds of reasons, and, sometimes, love’s got nothing to do with it.
When you look at your relationship, this is an important idea to keep in mind.
In short, why are you in it?
What do you get out of it?
What do you give into it?
If you answer “love” like someone shouting from a mountaintop, then you’re probably on the right track. But if you hesitate, or you get really honest with yourself think of the other things your union offers, you might need to take some time to reflect.
In many instances, relationships are doomed from the start because people are in them for the wrong reasons. For instance, you may be in a relationship because:
1) You don’t want to be alone – No one wants to feel alone for extended periods of time, but having an intimate relationship just to have someone isn’t healthy. Rather than be in a relationship because you NEED to be with someone; be in one because you want and truly admire the person you're choosing to be with.
2) You’re financially dependent – Yes, there are many financial perks to having a partner. Shared expenses, shared income, a mortgage that isn’t quite as ridiculous when split in two, and, of course, the tax breaks. The glorious, glorious, tax breaks. Still, as nice as it may be to have someone help you out financially, if money is the at the root of your attraction, it’s only a matter of time before your partnership goes broke.
3) You’re into who they market themselves as – Another reason you may be with someone is because of who they are status-wise. Maybe they’re successful. Maybe they drive a Mercedes. Maybe they only shop at Whole Foods and Neiman Marcus. Maybe you like how you look when they’re on your arm. But, when this happens, your partner turns into nothing more than an accessory. In other words, you may as well date a pair of earrings – the dangly kind that really shine.
So, now that you know some of the least effective reasons people enter into relationships, what are some of the reasons that set your relationship up to last?
1) Love – Duh! But this can be tricky as the answer is rather vague. It’s more important, to the health of a relationship, that you are in it to give love, rather than be loved. The reason being is that when you come from a place of generosity in the relationship, you set the dynamic up to be one where there isn't any keeping score between the two of you.
Rather than being in the relationship and asking, “why don't I feel loved…?” you'll see the relationship as a place to simply give love, which creates the question, “what can I do to express the love that's in me?” This little shift challenges the belief that the love you have in your heart is limited. Or that someone else must love you in order for you to feel the love you want to feel.
2) Growth – Viewing your relationship as a personal growth system is one of the healthiest things you can do. When you look at it as a way to improve the manner in which you argue, deal with stress, and deal with conflict, you improve who you are as a person. When the reason to be in a relationship is for the purpose of growth, almost magically, fights become opportunities to connect and understand yourself better.
Being triggered by your partner's lack of transparency or criticism becomes something you can actually become curious about rather than closed down and defensive. And from this perspective every single relationship you have will improve, from the one with your partner, to the one with your parents, to the one with that annoying co-worker who always wants to talk about her cats.
A relationship built on a shaky foundation will always fall. It may take some time, but it will fall eventually. People sense when you’re with them for the wrong reasons. And once they come to this realization, they grow distant and unreceptive.
Building a relationship for the right reasons, on the other hand, makes your foundation strong, allowing it to withstand the trials and tribulations that life has a way of bringing.
This article was originally posted on Yourtango.