Love comes in many different guises, some of them representing the beauty of a harmonious union between two people, others those of tricky, more complex affairs. Although there are as many different types of relationship as there are people to have them, there are some markers of quality that transcend all the variables. You’ll know that your relationship is at its best when emotionally, mentally and physically it causes as little angst as possible.
Your emotional state when you’re not in love will have a huge bearing on what it’s like when you are in love. Bear in mind, there is a clear distinction between a relationship with issues, and an individual with issues who is projecting them onto the relationship. This is why you should always assess your own emotional state before checking that of your relationship.
When dating is at its emotional best, there will be a mutual connection that stops your heart longing for something more. Different to becoming dependent on someone or having no outside needs at all, this is about your partner giving you all the affection and basic attention that you need. It’s about not routinely craving more sex, more understanding, or spending precious time questioning why you feel lonely or smothered. Emotional fitness is also about not hearing these complaints from your loved one and if you do, listening and doing something about them.
A big part of emotional fitness can be reduced down to the ability to express yourselves. Are you able to admit to each other when you’re feeling vulnerable, when you need to be held or aren’t entirely sure what your emotions are exactly? Ironically, being able to express when you feel emotionally unfit will aid the emotional fitness within your relationship.
The basic needs that we all prioritise as individuals do vary from person to person, so there has to be some level of balance in the partnership that stops you hankering after what is top of your list. Emotional harmony comes from feeling supported and free to love without feeling you’re giving more than you can, or receiving less than you want.
Our own experiences, those of friends and depictions we see in the media, make it easy to believe that mental anguish is an unavoidable part of relationships. To set the record straight, mental anguish, mind games, pain or confusion of any sort, aren’t states to be automatically accepted. When dating is as it’s best we look after our own mental health, our partner’s and we fix anything that departs from balance and stability.
Trust is exchanged freely and not bartered for in relationships that are healthy. If you’re familiar with a kind of love that is frantic, keeps you second-guessing, over-compensating or making up for wrongs committed knowingly and unknowingly, then you will feel the difference. If healthy love is a new experience then the stillness and lack of drama may be unnerving at first, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s dull. Treat it as the space it is, to focus on whatever else you would like to achieve in your life.
Love, the kind that is good and lasts, is both a question and an answer in life. It’s a question of how can I give more, how can I know more about you and an answer to what you want to feel and expose about yourself. If you ever find yourself in mental limbo, something needs to be addressed.
How does your partner make your physical body feel? There are a few different ways to think about and answer this question. When we think about physical intimacy, touch is usually the first port of call. It’s an essential part of human connection and even the slightest, shortest experience of it should not go underestimated.
It’s true that some people aren’t as tactile as others and if you’re in a relationship with someone who doesn’t need as much contact as you, it can be hard. There are however solutions and ways to make the situation more acceptable to you both. It could be the giving of planned massages, holding hands on date night or taking up a tactile hobby together. Where touch still remains limited, be sure to acknowledge and appreciate all the times love is expressed in other ways.
Our physical bodies are able to show the kind of care that can replace a million words, so the best love, where possible, will always try to use this to your relationship’s advantage.
Another sign of physical harmony comes from how your partner makes you feel from a distance. Do they make you smile, give you butterflies when they look at you, or stop a troubled heart from racing simply by telling you it’s okay? The best kind of love has these subtle cues as part of the experience, it doesn’t make you tense, nervous or anxious, so beware any sign or pattern of it doing so.
Using these cues to assess the emotional, mental and physical health of your relationship will go some way to showing you whether it’s at it’s best or could be improved. Take it slowly and once you have the answers you need, make an effort to share and act on them.
Written by Mindset Coach Tori Ufondu on behalf of Macbeth International.