I've often heard the question - how do you know if the relationship you’re in is a healthy one? It’s a timeless question, one that I’m sure has been asked by women just like us many times over the past millennia. At some point in our lives, we find ourselves questioning whether or not it’s worth hanging around a little longer to see if things are going to pan out the way we’d like them to. Or whether it’s time to let it go, because it’s just not going anywhere – at least not anywhere in the direction you want it to go in. And while sometimes it’s pretty clear when you take a step back and look at it objectively, more often it’s a heavily gray area that requires some real soul searching to figure out what’s going on. To figure out whether this is a relationship that really adds to your life, or one that’s draining life from you.
While I was thinking about this post, I remembered something written by Jed Diamond a while back. This came to me as a gift in the form of a folded piece of paper with my name on it. A gift, just when I needed it, from someone very special to me. Someone who was wiser and more experienced than I was at the time, who could see that I was struggling with yet another relationship. Another relationship that turned out to be based more on my own fantasy, my own imagination, than in the reality that I just couldn’t see through the thick clouds of my filters.
Just like it did for me back then, this piece still captures the essence of the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships. So here it is; I share it with you just like it was shared with me, in the hopes that it will help to shed some light on this timeless question that’s asked all over the world. The question that will be asked as long as there are people in relationships.
What is a healthy relationship?
- Healthy Love develops after we feel secure.
Addictive Love tries to create love even though we feel frightened and insecure.
- Healthy Love comes from feeling full. We overflow with love.
Addictive Love is always trying to fill an inner void.
- Healthy Love begins with self-love.
Addictive Love always seeks love “out there” from that “special someone.”
- Healthy Love comes to us once we’ve given up the search.
Addictive Love is compulsively sought after.
- Healthy Love comes from inside. It wants to give.
Addictive Love comes from outside. It wants to take.
- Healthy Love grows slowly, like a tree.
Addictive Love grows fast, as if by magic, like those children’s animals that expand instantly when we add water.
- Healthy Love thrives on time alone as well as time with our partner.
Addictive Love is frightened of being alone and afraid of being close.
- Healthy Love is unique. There is no “ideal lover” that we seek.
Addictive Love is stereotyped. There is always a certain type that attracts us.
- Healthy Love is gentle and comfortable.
Addictive Love is tense and combative.
- Healthy Love is based on a deep knowing of ourselves and our lover.
Addictive Love is based on hiding from ourselves and falling in love with an ideal “image” not a person.
- Healthy Love encourages us to be ourselves, to be honest from the beginning with who we are, including our faults.
Addictive Love encourages secrets. We want to look good and put on an attractive mask.
- Healthy Love flows out.
Addictive Love caves in.
- Healthy Love creates a deeper sense of ourselves the longer we are together.
Addictive Love creates a loss of self the longer we are together.
- Healthy Love gets easier as time goes on.
Addictive Love requires more effort as time goes on.
- Healthy Love is like rowing across a gentle lake.
Addictive Love is like being swept away down a raging river.
- Healthy Love grows stronger as fear decreases.
Addictive Love expands as fear increases.
- Healthy Love is satisfied with what we have.
Addictive Love is always looking for more or better.
- Healthy Love encourages interests to expand in the world.
Addictive Love encourages outside interests to contract.
- Healthy Love is based on the belief that we want to be together.
Addictive Love is based on the belief that we have to be together.
- Healthy Love teaches that we can only make ourselves happy.
Addictive Love expects the other person to make us happy and demands that we try to make them happy.
- Healthy Love creates life.
Addictive Love creates melodramas.