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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Don't really know what a real relationship should be like

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Author Topic: Don't really know what a real relationship should be like
techie
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My first relationship was controlling and abusive, my next relationship was sweet, but a bit pants, and while the guy thought he cared for me, he didn't, and my parents split up.

The only relationships you "see" all of are in films, and of course those are warped depictions.

I know that a relationship should be loving, caring, trusting, you should both be able to have your own time, and constructively work through things, and I know the saying "relationships take work", but I don't know the difference between a good, normal relationship that just takes hard work, and a relationship that isn't worth it.

I'm not considering dumping my current partner or anything like that, its more the fact that as we've been getting more serious (we're going to end up very, very long distance soon, and we've decided to stay together through that), and while I really do love him, we have lots in common, and our time together makes me happy, I'm very aware of his flaws (and equally, I'm sure he's very aware of mine).

I guess what I'm saying is I don't really know what standard to compare to in order to know if everything's going right or not?

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Robin Lee
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Hi Techie,

You know, even for those who have had "good" relationships modelled for them, and have had good experiences with their own relationships, figuring out what happy and healthy feels like in a relationship is often about feeling their way along, and trusting your gut.

So, to start off, without being too analytical about it, how do you feel about your relationship? What words would you use to describe it?

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Robin

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techie
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I'm happy. Its caring, its trustful, there is a -lot- of love and sincerity. We do niggle at each other a bit, but we solve our niggles, and we don't have full on rows or anything. We're both a little insecure from previous bad relationships, so there's probably a bit more reassurance from one another than there would probably usually be? But I always look forward to seeing him, I'm always happy when I'm with him, and we have loads of things in common that we enjoy spending time together doing. Its fun, I guess, to add another word. Happy, trusting, caring, loving, fun, little bit insecure, and peaceful, I guess? We can spend a lot of time together just... together. Being quiet, cuddling, etc. Its pretty lovely.
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Robin Lee
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You're expressing concern that you both reassure each other a lot. So long as it's mutual, and you're not driving each other up a wall, there's nothing wrong with that.

What I hear you expressing in general is that you really enjoy your relationship and yu enjoy your partner, but you're afraid that something about the way you two conduct your relationship is somehow problematic. Does that sounds about right?

Hearing you describe your relationship, it sounds like you're happy with this person. If it's any help to you to know this, I smiled when I read your response, because it sounded so heartfelt and the description sounded like two people who really care about each other.

People niggling at each other is generally just people being human beings.

Aside from the approaching long-distance aspect, is there anything specific you'd like to discuss about the relationship. Even if it seems small, we'd be happy to talk it through. We can also talk about the upcoming physical separation if you would like. It's up to you. [Smile]

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Robin

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techie
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I guess I just don't really trust my own judgement, having picked so many crappy partners and friends in the past, its nice to get a second opinion saying its all good?
And the only other couples I see seem to -never ever niggle at each other- so I wondered if we were somehow unique in that xD
There are a lot of articles on Scarleteen about being long distance, and my partner has done it before with his previous girlfriends, so I think I'm set for that (not to guarantee that I won't be springing back when the actual separation comes!)

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Robin Lee
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Yay, I'm glad you've seen the articles on our site. And absolutely you might have stuff come up when your relationship becomes long-distance. None of us can ever predict 100% how something will be or how one will react to it. [Smile] This is okay.


IN terms of other couples not niggling at each other, lots of times what we see on the outside of a relationship doesn't exactly reflect what goes on or how people feel on the inside. And hey, maybe you and your partner are just a little more honest with each other than many, hence the occasional niggle. (love that word, by the way!)

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Robin

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techie
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quote:
(love that word, by the way!)
Haha, I'm glad xD Thankyou [Smile]
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Heather
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You know, techie, one thing I do personally, in my life, with dating and have done for an age that I find works very well for me is that about the time in a dating relationship when it seems like, feels like, or is clear things are getting serious, I have some sort of dinner or hangout with the person I'm dating and some of my closest friends.

Not a five-minute meet-and-greet, but some real time together, like a long dinner.

Then, later, I ask those folks what they thought: of that person, of our dynamics as they observed them, etc. And I take their opinions very seriously.

I can say that over the years, this has weeded out some folks that later on, it was obvious it would've been disastrous to be with (in one case, the next person who dates I woman I was dating, for instance, wound up in two years of abuse with that person), and supported some excellent relationships. And once, when I decided to not put stock in those opinions? Boy, was I eating crow later.

(Btw, I recently had to explain to my partner that "pants" was a UK negative. Our little puppy's name is Trouble Pants, so he took it pretty hard. [Razz] )

Just a thought!

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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techie
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Good thought!

Thankfully, he actually started off as a very good friend before we started dating, so all my good friends already know and approve of him, as we're part of the same social circle. There's only really one best friend he hasn't met, and they've spoken on the phone, and have mutual approval of each other xD

It is definitely a good idea though!

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heero222
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quote:
Originally posted by techie:
I know that a relationship should be loving, caring, trusting, you should both be able to have your own time, and constructively work through things, and I know the saying "relationships take work", but I don't know the difference between a good, normal relationship that just takes hard work, and a relationship that isn't worth it.

There is no definitive rule that will tell you whether a relationship is worth it or not. The question should be: Am I staying in this relationship because I still consider it to be worth it or because I don't want to declare it a failure after all the hard work I have put into it?
For me personally, I draw the line at around 40-50%. If I am spending 40-50% of my time in the relationship "trying to make it work" then that relationship isn't worth it. Of course all relationships go through rough patches so you shouldn't call it off because of a bad week or two but if the majority of your relationship is a rough patch then that isn't good.
quote:
I guess what I'm saying is I don't really know what standard to compare to in order to know if everything's going right or not?
The standard I recommend comparing yourself to is the person you were before the relationship. Emotionally, are you happier then you were before or more stressed out? Socially, are you still spending time with your friends or are you sacrificing your friendships for the sake of your partner?

There is an article that I came across which I think does a nice job of explaining what are healthy and unhealthy relationships.
http://depts.washington.edu/hhpccweb/content/clinics/family-health/healthy-vs-unhealthy-relationships

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