Self-Help Articles for Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Anger, Counseling, CBT and REBT. Info on herbs and herbal natural remedies, therapy worksheets. > What's a Healthy RELATIONSHIP?

There are healthy and unhealthy relationships, not in the sense of pathology or abnormality, but in terms of how satisfying and fulfilling they are. In those terms, healthy relationships are based on reality, not fantasy. When it comes to relationships, many of us buy into overly romanticized fantasies of love. You know, the living happily ever after thing. The problem is there are no Cinderellas or Prince Charmings, just us human beings. Sooner or later the illusion will shatter and it is a long fall from the pedestal. The alternative is a relationship based on mutual and reciprocal advantage, like a business deal. The reality is that we love people who do things for us.

That doesn't sound very romantic!

Ah, but actually it is. When you see relationships as a business deal, it becomes clear that communication and negotiation are needed to keep the deal working. Do you know what the everyday word for negotiation is in relationships? Its courtship! In healthy relationships, there is an ongoing or periodic re-courting. That's very romantic! One way to think about this is to ask yourself how you would act if you just met your current partner and were attracted but had no history together. Probably pretty differently. Try it. I think you will like the results!

What if I don't have a relationship now?

You might want to look at what is keeping you from having a nice love relationship. Often we are our own worst enemies. Are you shy? Are you afraid of rejection? Commitment? Are you desperate because you believe you need love? Are you jealous and possessive? Are you procrastinating about social activities? Is there a lot of guilt, anger and frustration for you in relationships?

  By Robert F. Sarmiento, Ph.D

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