Building a Healthy Relationship from the Start
While the early months of a relationship can feel effortless and exciting, successful long-term relationships involve ongoing effort and compromise by both partners. Building healthy patterns early in your relationship can establish a solid foundation for the long run. When you are just starting a relationship, it is important to:
- Build. Build a foundation of appreciation and respect. Focus on all the considerate things your partner says and does. Happy couples make a point of noticing even small opportunities to say "thank you" to their partner, rather than focusing on mistakes their partner has made.
- Explore. Explore each other's interests so that you have a long list of things to enjoy together. Try new things together to expand mutual interests.
- Establish. Establish a pattern of apologizing if you make a mistake or hurt your partner's feelings. Saying "I'm sorry" may be hard in the moment, but it goes a long way toward healing a rift in a relationship. Your partner will trust you more if he or she knows that you will take responsibility for your words and actions.
This section provides additional tips on building and maintaining strong, healthy relationships, including how to overcome conflicts and outside pressures so your relationship survives better and stronger than ever.
You may also want to check out the Making and Keeping Friends page posted in the Relationships group for more information on building relationships. Much of the tips for making and keeping friends can also apply to more intimate relationships.
Used by permission UT Counseling and Mental Health Center, The University of Texas at Austin. Available at http://cmhc.utexas.edu/healthyrelationships.html.
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