A girl’s guide to healthy relationships

by Laetitia Wong 

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A friend of mine, Cassy, recently got into her first serious relationship in 20 years. During our weekly happy hour at Starbucks last week, we were in the midst of our calorie-laden sugar high when she giggled and asked: “Why is it that when I’m with a relationship, I invest my heart and soul into keeping the spark alive and pleasing the other person that I completely ignore my own hobbies and eventually lose myself?” 

Naturally, I stayed mum and sipped on my Caramel Macchiato silently, praying that it was a rhetoric. Because truthfully, we all knew the answer to her question. I knew it, her friends at school knew it, her parents knew it, and somewhere deep inside her, I knew that she had the answer to her own dilemma. It just wasn’t a pleasant one.

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In Cassy’s case, she lacked the confidence she had in herself, instead looking to her significant other (SO) for her daily ego boost. A pick-me-up, if you will. She felt powerless, unattractive and undesirable for the longest time, and when she finally bagged her man last Halloween, she started to revolve her entire life around him and his needs, whilst hers completely started to waste away into the background.

Maintaining your individuality is extremely important, especially when to comes to establishing relationship, especially in the long run. Here are 5 easy tips that you can refer to, to keep you grounded.

 

1. Value yourself

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You know how they make announcements on the plane that in the event of an emergency, mothers should attend to themselves first with the oxygen masks before tending to their child? Same concept. Always meet your own needs first, before thinking about making someone else happy. If not, you’d jus wind up being an empty shell with nothing to give. Healthy relationships are built upon the foundation that is utter and complete contentment and self-satisfaction.

 Just think about it: If you aren’t happy being by yourself, how can you make others happy?

 

2. Break down those walls

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I know it may really up the ante by raising your ‘cool’ factor when you feign blithe ignorance, but having your thick shield of armor on may be more detrimental than you think. There is a fine line between being brave and being defensive. Being able to trust someone else completely to let them in isn’t easy, and it may even get a tad embarrassing. Nonetheless, walling up only encourages insecure behaviour in both you and your partner, which in time only creates greater distance between the two.

But hey, if the relationship’s worth more than your ego, let it go. *cue Frozen song*

 

3. Listen

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Voicing your opinions and communicating with your partner is one thing, but learning to listen to your partner is another.

Like my mother always said during her lectures: You were born with two ears and one mouth. Naturally, you should listen more instead of spouting your mouth off! True, the old lady has a point. Stop arguing blindly, and start listening to your partner’s needs and wants. After all, it takes two hands to clap. Trust me, it’ll help in the long run.

And it’s not only listening to your partner, listen to the world around you! The passersby on the street, your family members, your chatty friends or even your whining dog! The world’s a beautiful place, and it’d be such a pity if you let your tunnel vision for your partner get the best of you. You’ve got one life, so live it.

 

4. Space

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If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from Cassy’s relationship, and even from my own experiences, it would be to learn how o enjoy your own company. You make the best friend you could ever have. Don’t be clouded by negative thoughts such as “she’s such a loner” or “what a loser!” if you do decide to hang out by yourself.  It’s fun, it’s relaxing! There are no expectations to be met, and unwinding into your personal retreat proves thoroughly therapeutic.

So take yourself out on a coffee date with a book in hand, indulge in a steamy bubble bath with a glass of wine, or perhaps book a facial at your favourite spa that you’ve been dying to try. And have fun with it!

 

5. Play dress up! 

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This is a silly one, but it’s been proven useful to millions of ladies across the globe. It’s an instant confidence booster, which is fun to do either alone or with your favourite gal pals. Whip out the mascara and the hair dye, because you’re about to get a makeover to die for.

Get dressed in your best, even if you aren’t heading anywhere particularly special. Snap a couple hundred shots and upload them to your Instagram account (get ready to lose a few followers) or even send a couple of raunchy ones to your SO!

It’s like the divine Marilyn Monroe once said: Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.

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