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What does a healthy relationship look like?

(54 Posts)
Imbeingunreasonable Tue 22-Aug-17 23:15:16

Hi all,

This is a weird thread title and I suppose from the outset it should be obvious.

Having come out of a stormy 5 and a half year relationship of which I had children in, I just wondered what a decent relationship looks like?

I could wax lyrical about all the shit stunts ex pulled on me. But I'm now reflecting on was he justified? Did I put fuel on his fire? Or was it just never meant to be?

So I'm looking for your examples of what a healthy relationship looks like when it comes to finances, housework, childcare, sex, hobbies and interests etc as I feel been left stunned by what has happened over a few years. Even though I ended it.

Are people comfortable with discussing hairy topics with their partners for instance or does it always end in an argument?

Any advice greatly appreciated.

Imbeingunreasonable Tue 22-Aug-17 23:22:25


MissCommunication Tue 22-Aug-17 23:23:29

I'll be watching this closely as I was asking a friend this only today. What is healthy? What is normal? I have no idea. If and when my situation changes and if...BIG IF...I ever start again, I wouldn't know what to look for.

FlourishingMrs Tue 22-Aug-17 23:23:54

It's feels comfortable with lots of laughs

Ellasshitholekitchenpjpiigp Tue 22-Aug-17 23:27:42

Your equals and have mutual love and respect for each other Always this as the foundation.

Humour is always good and don't sweat the little things.

That's what I think works for us

Joysmum Tue 22-Aug-17 23:28:35

One in which both partners thrive and are better people for being in the partnership.

Imbeingunreasonable Tue 22-Aug-17 23:33:01

Do you share interests? To me that would seem normal. Not every interest or pursuit obviously but at least show some... I dunno.... understanding of the other persons appreciation for it...

Not explaining myself well. I've had a weird relationship where it's dawned on me he never took an interest in anything I liked even right from the beginning. He didn't ever know me. That's weird.

ButFirstTea Tue 22-Aug-17 23:33:38

Enjoying each other's company, laughing together, feeling like you're an equal, being comfortable with them. Finances, chores, hobbies, sex etc are all really subjective and there are lots of different ways to address these and still be in a healthy relationship.

Imbeingunreasonable Tue 22-Aug-17 23:33:44

Joysmum that's what I thought.

It's not what I got

Joysmum Tue 22-Aug-17 23:35:14

It's a simple one line I know, but that's it distilled to its most basic form. Everything else, behaviour and actions etc should have that as the litmus test.

Quietwhenreading Tue 22-Aug-17 23:35:52

I'd say that we have a pretty healthy relationship.

Full, equal access to funds (regardless of whether I'm working or a SAHM). Discussion of all unusual purchases.

Childcare and housework split equally if I'm working. If I'm a SAHM I do the bulk but he'll still load the dishwasher/do the occasional load of ironing/put the bins out/make the odd meal etc as needed.

Both have equal opportunity to pursue hobbies.

Sex - we can both say "no" without recriminations.

We discuss problems/worries/irritations as soon as they come up to avoid resentment building. Occasionally we argue but not often and not for long. The possibility of an argument wouldn't put either of us off raising something.

We are each other's best friends. The person each of us turns to first with a problem, for comfort, to celebrate achievements or for help.

I'm sorry that you've had such a hard time.

My advice for the future would be look for a friend. Don't put up from a partner behaviour you wouldn't put up with from your best friend.

The marriage vows are well written "for richer for poorer, for better for worse, in sickness and in health".

Look for someone who adores you while holding your hair back as you throw up, someone who'll hold your hand as you cry and support you if your world falls apart.

Love isn't in grand declarations or gestures, it's in the everyday nitty gritty, the everyday grind.

Look for someone responsible, conscientious, trustworthy, kind and fun.

Look for someone who you can talk to all day long and who makes you laugh.

I hope you find someone wonderful. flowers

Imbeingunreasonable Tue 22-Aug-17 23:42:05

Quiet I'm now blabbing my eyes out reading your post. I feel like I've wasted part of my life with him (although gained my two beautiful boys).

The thing in your post that struck a chord with me was this:

We discuss problems/worries/irritations as soon as they come up to avoid resentment building. Occasionally we argue but not often and not for long. The possibility of an argument wouldn't put either of us off raising something.

I couldn't come to him with any issues as he made me feel like shit and did a lot of projecting towards me. I couldn't bring anything up with him ever. I was a substitute for his ex. He told me this numerous times. Usually to spite me but his actions and words when he wasn't being spiteful backed it up.

I'm emotionally drained. The worst part of all of this is I'm tied to him for life through children. And there he is blissfully unaware of the damage he caused.

Moanyoldcow Tue 22-Aug-17 23:42:32

I think my relationship is healthy:

1. Finances are split so we have joint savings and our own equal spending money each month even though I earn 2/3 of his salary working part-time. No questions asked about what I buy, whether it's a £40 face cream or £200 pair of shoes.

2. Housework split - DH does almost all cooking. We split days off for sick child, we clean together at the weekend. He has never once asked 'what did you do all day' when it's clear the answer to that question is 'eat biscuits in a dirty house'.

3. Childcare split quite evenly but i do more by dint of working part-time. He will take time off for sickness, he looks after when I go out with no issue. Fully engaged parent.

4. Sex is our only iffy area - he's got a lower drive and it can be a bit pedestrian but we go through our phases of awesome. We're just tired.

5. He has a hobby he does about once a month. No issues as I like the break and he gives me any alone time I need.

We don't argue. I think we've had raised voices about 4 times in 12 years. We disagree and discuss things in a very lively way but we understand that there are things you can't take back if you lose control and we are mindful of each other.

We frustrate each other now and again but it's very easy day to day.

No locked drawers, secret bank accounts, we have each other's phone passwords not that we've searched them.

Basically it seems generally to be the total opposite of a lot of threads here for 2 reasons:

His mum is an ardent feminist and brought up both her sons to be like they are, my BIL is lovely.

My mum had a shitty EA relationship and died downtrodden and unhappy when I was a teenager and my prevailing memory from that time is 'this will never be me'.

Respect yourself - remember no one is too good for you. You deserve to be treated well every single day.

Imbeingunreasonable Tue 22-Aug-17 23:45:56

I love that Moany

Everything you wrote was everything I always wanted and assumed my partner would want the same.

antimatter Tue 22-Aug-17 23:46:44

Quietwhenreading put it very well.
I am very fortunate that even though we have some hobbies which are different we share enough to have wonderful days away and holidays together and that we do that at the same pace. So I am always looking forward to spend time with my partner.
I would not be able to be with someone where we differed in this aspect of relationship. It would not work for me.

Quietwhenreading Tue 22-Aug-17 23:48:41

Oh, we don't actually share hobbies. We always express interest in each other's sports and support at events etc but we do different things.

We do have stuff we love doing together though, things like going to the cinema or visiting museums.

Imbeingunreasonable Tue 22-Aug-17 23:55:08

In response to MissCommunication upthread, same, I would be clueless what to look for as I blinkered out all the red flags early on.

I'm not looking to date for a while but I wouldn't know how you would tell if someone is genuine or not.

gluteustothemaximus Tue 22-Aug-17 23:56:43

Quiet did put it well.

Someone you would trust your life with. Someone you can share anything with. It is indeed the nitty gritty of everyday life.

Saying please and thank you.

Sharing finances. Being a team. Looking after you when you're ill.

Definitely if something's bugging you, get it out and talk.

Saying sorry.

Putting their needs before yours and them putting your needs before theirs.


I had a horrendous relationship before this one. I never knew what healthy was, not from my parents or anyone.

I went into this one paranoid he'd hurt me or cheat on me, but he was very patient.

My best friend.

Hope you find happiness flowers

Imbeingunreasonable Wed 23-Aug-17 00:00:48

Thanks Gluteous

Pretty much every poster has described the exact opposite of my last relationship.

Need to get my head out of replay mode. It's doing me no good dwelling. It's still early days yet for me.

gluteustothemaximus Wed 23-Aug-17 00:17:04

I was single for 3 years after my abusive relationship. Did me the world of good.

There's nothing wrong with going over old ground - your head is processing stuff. It's still raw.

But just remember one thing, it was never your fault, you did not deserve to be treated badly, and nothing you did warranted it.

Take your time and be kind to yourself x

user1493059174 Wed 23-Aug-17 00:26:26

If it makes you feel any better OP you are so not on your own. Oh what I would give to have a real man like moany has! Life would be so simple!

Quietwhenreading Wed 23-Aug-17 00:28:20

Imbeing I'm sorry I made you cry! I'm sorry your ex was horrible.

Remember this though, if he was cruel to you, if he was unkind, it makes him less. Not you.

Not you.

You sound a bit battered and bruised, which is completely understandable.

Take some time to heal. Things that go wrong in our lives don't make us failures, it just means we learnt how not to do something. The trick is to really learn the lesson.

You have 2 wonderful boys? You are their wonderful Mum too remember.

You have an opportunity to start over, to make your own decisions about how your life will be from now on. You can be anyone you choose!

Yes you are tied to your sons' father but put him (mentally and emotionally) in his place. Their father. Not your partner. Take some time to detach and his power will lessen.

My DH and I are extremely lucky but we've also both worked really hard at it - is hasn't always been easy. We've been together since we were children so we've also had more than half our lives to get it right!

If you do meet someone new, go slow, trust takes time and there's no rush.

Imbeingunreasonable Wed 23-Aug-17 00:32:12

I guess I'm trying to understand the whys and how's of it all.

How can 2 people enter a relationship and one of them treat them casual one minute, loving the next, then be as aloof as anything like they couldn't care less whether you existed?

Why don't they understand the fundamentals of what makes a good relationship? Or not know how to put it into practice? It's illogical. "Right I'm going to be with this person, make a home with them and have children but simultaneously not give a shit about them and make no attempts to do so". It makes no sense.

I feel like I need to get everything out of my system but don't know where to start. Looking at this thread makes me realise how wrong our relationship was in every aspect. I feel used. To call it abusive was an understatement. The verbal abuse was worse than being hurt.

I don't know what normal is anymore. Yet trying to act it for my kids.

Imbeingunreasonable Wed 23-Aug-17 00:33:55

Thank you Quiet

Quietwhenreading Wed 23-Aug-17 01:01:15

I think everyone has their own version of "normal" you have to find the one that works for you. My SIL and BIL have a completely different relationship to DH and I but they are very happy and it works for them.

Your answer to "why" is probably simply that he's not a very nice person at heart. That's not on you. You can't control his behaviour, just your own.

Get some sleep, start afresh tomorrow. It's a whole new day, a whole new life.


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