10 tips for a happy, healthy relationship

As a black woman, specifically a black woman with a solid education, and who is career driven; I often found myself wondering if I would…

As a black woman, specifically a black woman with a solid education, and who is career driven; I often found myself wondering if I would ever find a husband, because society tends to paint a picture of an educated, successful black woman as a threat. For years, the media has theorized that women, particularly women of color, cannot have it all, and I don’t think that’s true. Along with the media’s role, I think black women have put ourselves in a box, and fall on one end of the love spectrum. We either settle for less than our worth or limit our expectations.

The 10 tips are listed below:

  1. Be best friends with your partner: You shouldn’t have anyone other than your better half as your best friend. They should be the person you cry with, laugh with, share your trials, and triumphs with. No one should be able to come and tell you anything about your partner that you aren’t privy to. Of course, we all have the residential girl/guy friend that we confide in, and I think that is still okay (let’s be real, you’re not going to call your boy/girlfriend about something you know they don’t want to hear, or give advice on). Overall, your partner is the ride or die.
  2. Be yourself: I usually have a 90-day probationary period for guys that I’m “talking” to, or dating, but anytime someone wants to get to know me I am my complete self, when I’m hungry, happy, or angry you are getting what you will get if you want to have a relationship. The 90-day period allows for that person to know if they want to be in my space, or not, and vice versa. My boyfriend once told me no matter the situation to always have poise, and class, but never change myself for his perception, I should always be myself, and be comfortable in my skin.
  1. Practice self-love and self-acceptance: This could go hand-in-hand with being yourself, except for the fact that one can be themselves but not have self-love. This is very important because, you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else, or allow someone to love you. A great way to practice this is to create a list of things you like about yourself and read it every day.
  2. Don’t be afraid to walk away: Often times in relationships, or while dating we’ll notice red flags and signs, before we truly end the situation. Don’t be afraid to walk away, especially in a toxic situation. Have selflessness, but also listen to your gut.
  3. Time management: A relationship is WORK, which means both people have to practice good time management. Make time for each other and dedicate yourself to it. For example, establish a date night, or spend time unplugged from everything and everyone. This is really important if you are in a long-distance relationship.
  4. Communication: Like time management, positive and good communication is important in any relationship. This isn’t simply just talking, it’s listening and understanding where the other person is coming from, even if you don’t agree. Acknowledge their feelings and talk about how to fix a situation.
  5. Discuss your life goals early: I always tell my friends this tip but of course bring it up at the right time. I usually bring it up on a first or second date, as a life plan type of question. You don’t want to be in a relationship with someone for 3 years, and discover they don’t want kids, or don’t want to move, and you do. By all means, compromise, but don’t settle. You want to be in the same book, if not the same page, so neither one of you are wasting time.
  6. Don’t try and be on the same timeline as your other couple friends: This is just a good key in life itself. A lot of people, especially millennials are often racing against each other to get to a higher level than their peers. I guess you could blame that on the constant pressure to be better, and more competitive from parents, teachers, etc. But in a relationship, don’t do this: just because your friends got married after dating for two years, doesn’t mean you will. The same thing goes with life planning overall; it has to be right for you and your partner.
  7. Establish boundaries/expectations: I think it’s always important to establish boundaries, and limits with someone at any relationship level to ensure there’s a clear understanding of buttons and respect. You definitely want to establish expectations because in this dating age, there’s always someone looking for a double standard or excuse to try and get away with something. Regardless, establish those boundaries, and expectations in the beginning so there’s no confusion, make sure you also communicate what you will and will not tolerate.
  8. Accept that you nor your partner are perfect: No one’s perfect, no relationship is perfect. Understand, and accept this fact, and be willing to handle those rough moments.

By: Tyra Whitney

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