“An intimate relationship does not banish loneliness. Only when we are comfortable with who we are can we truly function independently in a healthy way, can we truly function within a relationship. Two halves do not make a whole when it comes to a healthy relationship: it takes two wholes.” – Patricia Fry
Ponder this for a moment. Is your relationship holding you back? There’s no doubt that a loving, intimate relationship can bring about much passion, joy, and a feeling of security in life. It seems the majority of the population craves an intimate relationship with that special someone so that they can share life and love on their journey. There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but sometimes there may be a hidden dynamic in a relationship that holds one or both partners back in one or more ways in life.
The dynamics of a healthy relationship
Relationship experts state that each relationship has dynamics or ingredients that make it up. Think of it like a foundation for a house. If the foundation is not correctly laid, in years to come the structural integrity of that house is compromised. If the foundation is strong and meets all necessary building codes, the structural integrity of the house will be fine. Relationships are built upon a foundation as well and sometimes the foundation is shaky, cracked, or there really isn’t one, which will certainly affect the relationship and each partner directly.
What constitutes a healthy relationship foundation?
When two people fall in love all sorts of things happen between them. A bond is formed, feelings are shared, and a relationship ensues. In the beginning stages of a relationship, love can oftentimes be blind and if you’re not careful, some basic building blocks of the foundation can be neglected. Let’s take trust for example. A firm foundation for any relationship is trust and if one or both partners have trouble trusting the other, problems could come and the relationship may suffer. Other ingredients that make up a healthy relationship are honesty, communication, thoughtfulness, selflessness, and unconditional love.
Can a relationship hold you back?
If you’re in an unhealthy relationship, you may be held back in other areas of your life. For example, let’s say you’re in a relationship in which you are unnecessarily clingy and needy. You’re looking toward your partner to “make you happy” by giving you continual attention. Your primary focus in life is on your partner and your life together. This co-dependency can hold you back in life and cause a host of relationship problems. It’s not your partner’s responsibility to make you happy; it’s yours. Those that struggle with co-dependency tendencies need to begin a journey within to seek fulfilment and stop looking toward others to fill that void.
Another example of how a relationship can hold you back is if you’re partner has settled in certain areas of life and expects you to do the same. Do you have more you want to accomplish in life, but your partner thinks you’re crazy for having such goals? Do you feel pressured to settle or just live according to status quo because your partner is? If so, your relationship is holding you back and it’s time to sit down with your partner and have a serious discussion. Partners don’t have to have the same goals, but if one wants to grow and accomplish the other ought to be fully supportive.
You are who you hang out with
Remember the days when you were young and your parents told you to choose your friends wisely because you become who you hang out with? This philosophy is true in adult relationships as well. If you choose friends and/or an intimate relationship with those that are positive and interested in professional and personal growth, you’ll be more apt to be interested in those. On the other hand, if you spend time with those that are unmotivated or negative, it could very well stifle your growth. Keep in mind that when it comes to your relationship, it is desirable that both partners have the desire to grow professionally and personally, as this balances the relationship.
Take a few minutes to think about your relationship. Do you feel like it’s holding you back in any way from accomplishing your goals? If so, do the necessary work to push through the obstacles that hold you back. You might have to have a discussion with your partner. Or maybe you’ve been stagnant for awhile because your focus has been on your partner instead of your growth. Talk about your individual goals and as well as the goals you share. Communication and growth are important ingredients in a relationship. Do your best to stay motivated and be proactive in your personal and relational growth, as you can both be growing individually and as a couple. This is optimal living.