We all have those friends – the couple who are attached at the hip, the ones who cancel plans to stay in and watch a movie together, the ones who leave the bar early to resolve yet another fight. Everyone else can see that they’re dysfunctional, but somehow, they can’t.
But what happens if you’re in that relationship? What if your significant other is chipping away at your sanity, and you don’t even realize it?
It’s no secret that relationships are hard work and take lots of time, effort and commitment. And in a college environment, balancing your own priorities with your guy or girl’s can be tough, especially when you’re both dealing with classes, extracurriculars, and your own social lives. But how do you know if your efforts are actually working? How do you satisfy the needs of your significant other, while also making sure that your own needs are met? Where’s the line between making sacrifices for love, and sacrificing your well being?
“The quality of our relationships is intimately linked to our emotional wellbeing,” says , Dr. Valerie E. Whiffen, Ph. D, in an article for CommitmentNow.com. “When our relationships are close and harmonious, we feel good about ourselves and we enjoy high levels of emotional support…The opposite is true when we lack close relationships, or when our close relationships are filled with criticism and conflict.”
In other words, if those fights with your guy or girl are wearing you out emotionally, chances are, that same stress is going to seep into other aspects of your life as well. And the last thing we as college students need is more stress – add a rocky relationship to the combination of tests, papers, and Friday night’s plans and it’s enough to make a person crazy.
If your relationship is causing you to pull your hair out at the roots, it may be time to make some changes. In an article for EverydayHealth.com, psychologist and life coach Dr. Christine M. Allen, PhD suggests a few tips for keeping things running smoothly with your significant other. Allen says, “If you have a lot of complaints, it helps to counterbalance that with a lot of praise, recognition, and affection for all the things that go right in your life.”
Allen also believes that while avoiding an argument may seem like a positive idea at the time, it can eventually lead to worse conflicts down the road. It’s all about how you handle conflict that determines whether or not your relationship is healthy. Allen suggests, “Use awareness of hurt and anger to express more directly and constructively your needs and concerns.”
Just to be clear, that doesn’t mean throwing punches is fair game. If you’re in an argument, take time to talk things out with your guy or girl, and be honest with them. But most importantly, don’t forget to keep the spark alive. Traditional dates may seem antiquated, but why not go out for a romantic dinner for two? A little romance helps spice things up – in and out of the bedroom. While a long-term relationship adds a lot of responsibility, it’s important to remind your significant other that you care about them, and vice versa. Overall, balance is the key to a healthy, happy relationship, inside and out.
Photos taken from allisonbraun.ca and living.msn.com