Love is a funny thing. It can make us happy, sad, excited, and emotional in general. There are many kinds of relationships in our lives: some romantic, some that are strictly friendships (also known as the friend-zone), family relationships, and more. Each year, many people celebrate Valentine’s Day by exchanging candy, flowers, and loving gestures. By expressing our love for one another, we build memories and relationships that last a lifetime. Now more than ever, we long for connection and quality time with people that we care about. Relationships are fun and all, but often not as easy as they look. In this blog, we will discuss tips to maintain a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship that is meant to last.
To cultivate a healthy relationship, we must begin at the very beginning. Before you can express your love for another, you must love yourself first. This means prioritizing your mental and physical well-being. Allow yourself to feel your emotions and explore what you find joy doing. When you know what you are passionate about, you will gravitate toward the people and places that make you feel your best. Listed below are some examples of ways to find activities and places that bring you joy. While spending time doing the things that bring happiness, there are many opportunities to find love within yourself.
How to find your passions:
- Get out of your comfort zone and try something new. This could be going to do an activity with friends that you haven’t done before (for me, this was snowboarding). You may be scared at first, but it could be your new favorite activity.
- Try a new hobby. Some examples are painting, learning to play a musical instrument, going to the gym, reading, and anything else that sounds fun.
- Start networking to meet new people and learn about their passions. Sometimes, by hearing what other people like to do for fun, you may take an interest in one of their hobbies.
- Try getting involved on campus! Ideas for involvement and more information can be found on https://leadership.utah.edu/campus-opportunities.php
Now that we’ve spent time going over tips to find love within yourself, let’s talk about how to cultivate healthy relationships. One way to do this is by maintaining thorough communication. During a pandemic, it is essential to set boundaries not only for personal safety, but for relationships as well. Early communication is an investment toward a positive relationship in all aspects.
Tips to maintain open communication:
- Set your boundaries early. Decide for yourself what you are comfortable with and communicate this with your loved ones. Also, communicate your boundaries with the potential relationships you may have.
- What are you feeling in terms of Covid-19? Tell this to your family and friends in order to hang out comfortably. If you are feeling like FaceTime dates are best for now, express this to your partner. If they aren’t okay with this, start talking about it to reach a solution.
- Don’t be afraid to have difficult conversations. By pushing through the awkwardness, you are setting the relationship up for success. Communication is key, especially now.
- Be aware of your boundaries surrounding relationship intimacy. To learn more about what intimacy could be during Covid-19, read the blog written by the University of Utah Center for Wellness blog: https://wellness.utah.edu/news/sex-and-the-covid/
Another tip to have a healthy relationship is to be open to change. During a crazy time like this, things can change last-minute such as in-person dates, Covid-19 scares, quarantining, and more. By allowing yourself to go with the flow, you open the relationship up to creativity and new experiences. This can make any relationship last a lot longer, but also reveal strengths and weaknesses that may be important to realize. Be open to new experiences, and have grace toward your partner’s boundaries. Realize that sometimes it’s best to listen to your gut feeling, even if that means ending the relationship. Oftentimes, the friend-zone is the better option.
Lastly, growth is important both for yourself and your relationships. Growth creates memories and passions that make any relationship much more fulfilling. This gives depth into what you’d like to spend your life doing, which is important to personal well-being. When you’re in a long-term relationship, it may be difficult to find ways to continuously grow. After all, you’ve already done everything together, right? There is always something new to be created, and listed below are some ideas to get you started.
Ideas for activities to try:
- Learn a foreign language together
- Door-dash together
- Back-packing or snow sports
- Find a new Netflix show
- Virtual date ideas can be found here: https://www.cnet.com/news/valentines-day-2021-nine-great-ideas-for-virtual-dates/
In conclusion, relationships are important to everybody whether they are just friends or a romantic partner. During this Valentine’s Day week, we focus on how to maintain healthy relationships that are fulfilling and fun. While a global pandemic is still looming, it may be scary to have a relationship in person. With the addition of many online hang-out formats, we can find new ways to connect to each other while being safe. Practicing healthy boundaries and communication can bring us closer to a long-lasting relationship. Though it may seem extra difficult to connect to the outside world, the opportunities are still here as long as we are aware of what our ideal relationship looks like. Give the best Valentine’s Day gift yet: a happy and healthy relationship that is meant to last.