Because psychologists describe love simply as having a strong desire for an emotional union with another person, there’s no internal mechanism to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy love. That’s because our desire arises from loneliness and our need to feel accepted and cherished. So you can fall in love with an abuser just as easily as you could for someone who treats you right.
Given this challenge, how can we recognize healthy love? And even more important, can we embrace it without destroying the relationship?
Relationship experts list several characteristics to having a healthy relationship. Here are a few:
Healthy Love Fights Fair
This doesn’t mean you’ll never fight or he’ll never hurt your feelings. But the difference with healthy love is that he won’t attack you personally and he’ll never hit you. When you do fight or when he does hurt you, he’ll be apologetic and work to make amends. Unhealthy love looks at fights as an opportunity to attack, blame, coerce and reject you.
Healthy Love Is There Through the Hard Times
It’s so easy to love someone when things are going well. But when an obstacle strikes, that’s when relationships are truly tested. Healthy love works to resolve challenges together,doesn’t blame the other or disappear when the going gets tough. Unhealthy love seeks to have their partner fix the issue and rescue them.
There Is a Healthy Give and Take
A healthy love is evident when both partners desire to help the other without requiring anything in return. Sacrifices may have to be made but it will never be one-sided. Mutual trust is established and there’s never a doubt that your partner will have your back. Unhealthy love is selfish and incredibly one-sided. If you find yourself in such a relationship, you may feel drained and used and may go with having your needs unmet.
Healthy Love Doesn’t Try to Change You
When you’re in a healthy relationship, your partner has no desire to change you; he accepts your flaws. He may drive you to make improvements in some areas of your life, but overall, he’s looking to discover your interests, dreams and goals. In an unhealthy relationship, he wants you to become his image of an ideal partner. It may be your hair, clothing, hobbies, etc. and he’ll rarely support any interests of your own.
MORE CONTENT HERE: To embrace healthy love without destroying it, she’ll have to first learn how to love herself first. But what’s ironic is that abuse victims search for love from others before they ever learn to love themselves..