Healthy Relationships and Where to Find Them (Part 1)
Join us over the next several weeks to discover what it takes to live and love in a healthy relationship!
“Professor Heuwagen, how can I find a healthy, happy relationship?” asked a student one day after class. I turned to face her. Her eyes were serious, pleading with me to give her the answers.
This wasn’t the first time a student came to me asking about one of life’s greatest mysteries.
I sighed inwardly trying to conceal the harsh reality that her question was loaded and changed based on her positionality in life. What did I know that she didn’t know about her life? What could I say: Hey your relationship goals change and flow depending on where you are in the life cycle. Or that society doesn’t teach you how to be in a healthy relationship because it doesn’t value those “boring” partnerships, so good luck.
No I couldn’t say those things. It wouldn’t make sense. It would only confuse her.
“Healthy relationships are built on several factors: respect, love, admiration–– to name a few. How you find one depends on you,” I told her. “If you do what you love and live your life being the best version of yourself, without the pressure of finding a partner, it usually finds you.”
“Are you sure?” she asked quizzically.
“No, I’m never sure,” I told her. “What I do know is you have to have a clear idea of what you want and what you will tolerate. If you don’t know those things, then finding a partner could have some twists and turns.”
We talked some more, leaving the classroom and going our separate ways.
The conversation left me thinking: how can I help my clients, students, friends, and family who ask me similar questions?
I might not know all the answers, but I could try to discover what a healthy relationship is and isn’t by exploring my own relationship and the past; by talking with people with different experiences; by doing research and asking fellow therapists.
So come with me as we discover healthy relationships and where to find them!