Can an Unhealthy Relationship Become Healthy?

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Couple unhappy and facing away each other sitting on a couch. How to have a healthy relationship

How to have a healthy relationship

Is there hope for change if you’re in an unhealthy relationship?

You may be at the end of your rope. You’ve tried talking things out with your partner, reading self-help books on relationships, and even attending counselling, but only to get the same result…the status quo.

Most people try different tactics hoping something sticks. But most results are short-lived. Their relationship remains unhealthy, conflictual, and unhappy.

So, what makes for an unhealthy relationship and how can we make it healthier?

Here’s one surprising simple solution that you’ll want to try…

Always choose kindness. That’s it.

When you choose kindness, the message you convey to your partner (or any loved one) is:

I care about you, I have your best interest at heart, and I am committed to the well-being of our relationship.

Unfortunately, we often, we treat outsiders better than insiders. This is what I grew up with. I would watch my parents interact with their friends’ kids, and envy how my parents would joke with the kids, play with them, talk tenderly to them, and be kind to them.

But behind closed doors, they would yell, shame, and beat their own kids. This was confusing, hurtful, and infuriating.

Often, when we grow up, we tend to repeat the same patterns in our intimate relationships—we are kind to outsiders and unkind to insiders. We treat our partners (and kids) worse than friends and strangers, behaving in ways we would never dare to do with outsiders (and would feel ashamed if outsiders knew about).

It’s painful for the “insiders” to experience such discrepancies.

We act this way because it’s familiar. It’s what we grew up with, what we’re used to, and so, it becomes our default setting.

However, we have a choice. We can stay on cruise control and damage our most important relationships (including the one with yourself), or consciously choose to break this unhealthy pattern.

I hope you choose to be a cycle breaker and do better than the hand you were dealt.

Choose kindness over control.

Choose kindness over negativity.

Choose kindness over complaining.

Choose kindness over demandingness.

Choose kindness over criticism.

Choose kindness over abuse.

And choose kindness over selfishness.  

When you want to be unkind, pause, breathe, and think.

Instead of attacking your partner’s character, ask for what you need.

Instead of yelling and screaming when angry, explain why you are upset.

Instead of defending, denying, or justifying poor behavior, humbly receive constructive feedback and own up to your hurtful behaviour.

Remember, when you started this relationship, you were kind. This is why your partner fell in love with you. Find that person again. Work on the barriers that prevent you from being this kind person. When you resurrect your kindness, you resurrect your relationship. It’s that simple.

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