What makes for a good relationship?

A good relationship is all about emotional connection where you feel safe and secure with your partner. They should fee like home, the place you can go back to for support and reassurance whenever life gets tough. It shouldn’t be dramatic. In fact it may even feel boring at times because it should feel comfortable and relaxed. Big sparks usually come from relationship drama. A good relationship is less dramatic because both people can confide in each other, can listen and understand each other when feelings get hurt, and work together to help each other with hurt feelings. 

What people need in relationships

Everyone needs emotional support in his or her relationship. This involves sharing your feelings with your partner but also being able to be kind and caring when your partner shares their emotions with you. It isn’t enough to logically understand or try to fix the issues that get talked about, what everyone needs is emotional understanding and acceptance. We all need our partners to come comfort us and tell us it’s all going to be alright—just like you would comfort a kid who has had a nightmare. Everyone needs that same type of comfort in their relationship—it needs to be safe to share your fears and to know you won’t be a lone with your fears or life stressors. 

Do men and women need different things?

In healthy intimate relationships, men need to be able to share their feelings in a non-critical way. They need to be able to talk about fears, anxiety, embarrassment, and feelings of insecurity with their partner—in short, they need to be able to be vulnerable and ask for comfort from their partners. This is what allows for closeness in relationships. Women need the same things in healthy intimate relationships—they need to be able to share vulnerably about the emotions they are having. They need to be able to send a clear message about what they are looking for in terms of comfort and reassurance. They need to have the discussions in a vulnerable way instead of becoming critical and angry. Regardless of gender, the best relationships are when your spouse feels like your best friend, your home, your safety net, and your comfort blanket. The best relationships are like comfy couches that you can let yourself relax into for support, warmth, comfort and relaxation. 

How to know if it’s not a good relationship

When a relationship is in trouble, you know because it no longer feels emotionally safe. You may have a lot of anxiety, anger or resentment. If you feel like you are walking on eggshells, trying to avoid each other, or never have a sense of calmness together, then you know you should probably go see a couple therapist.  A relationship is in a bad place when you are stuck in patterns of criticism and defensiveness between the two of you; or when it feels like your partner is absent in the relationship, or if it feels like nothing is ever good enough for your partner. 

The Key to Good Relationships

The most important thing in a relationship is that you maintain the sense of emotional safety, and repair that sense of safety as fast as possible when there is a breach in that safety. When the emotional security is there, you will naturally communicate easier, sex is easier, and you can handle life stress as a team. Without that sense of emotional safety, you will have a lot of miscommunications, and feel disjointed sexually and as a team when facing life together.