What does it take to nurture and maintain a close bond with another person, and what are the stumbling blocks to having healthy relationships?
Whether a relationship is between family members, friends and coworkers or significant others, some men find it difficult to form and keep positive connections. What are the stumbling blocks to having healthy relationships?
Here we take a look at some of the issues men commonly face in their interpersonal relations, and we provide a few tips for how to have healthy relationships.
Relationship Tips for Men Seeking to Foster Healthy Relationships
While everyone defines a healthy relationship differently, most relationships require the same basic recipe of ingredients to make them work. Here are a few relationship tips that can be applied to personal interactions of every kind.
Open communication. Talking about stuff is crucial to any good relationship. If something is bothering you, don’t hold it in. Speaking up is the first step toward working it out. Just be sure to think things over before you blurt something out. This helps prevent hurt feelings and defensiveness, which can get in the way of resolution and continued communication.
Willingness to compromise. Whether you are interacting with a spouse, sibling, coworker or even your child, you won’t agree on everything. You may want to have your way all the time, but that is neither realistic nor fair. You need to accept that sometimes it is better to get along than to get your way. Choose a few areas in every relationship where you can allow yourself to compromise. And, on matters where you tend to get stubborn or hot-headed, try to take a step back and cool down until you are ready to resolve conflicts in a rational way.
Respect and privacy. Mutual respect is important to any relationship. Are you making sure to acknowledge and respect another’s feelings and wishes? Are you letting them know how you feel about things so they can offer you the same measure of respect? This is a two-way street that requires you to be proactive. Make an effort to acknowledge and discuss other people’s wishes and ideas. However, you don’t have to share and discuss every little thing (i.e., details about past relationships). A measure of privacy is also important to a healthy relationship. As long as you are on the same page about the big things, you can let a few of the little things alone.
Trust, space and boundaries. A lot of people find sharing and boundaries to be big stumbling blocks in close relationships. When you trust another person, you can express this by not asking them to share everything with you (i.e., their bank accounts, text messages or social media passwords). Let them know you are comfortable with them doing things without you. This doesn’t mean they don’t care about you. It just means they have individual interests and they need space to explore and enjoy those. Creating and respecting boundaries is a sign of trust in a relationship.
Make occasional efforts to reconnect. Every relationship needs a boost now and then to help you reconnect. Reach out to your partner, family members and friends every once in a while to plan a special activity you can enjoy together. It is easy to get so wrapped up in the business of day-to-day routines that you lose your spark or connection. Make an extra effort to spend time together in new ways and talk about things. Reconnecting like this is a good way to nurture relationships with your spouse, parents, children, siblings and other relatives, as well as with old friends.
Relationship Stumbling Blocks to Avoid
A few ingredients that can be detrimental to a healthy relationship include fear of commitment, not letting yourself get close to people, or being overly needy, trying to wield too much power or control, letting anger get the best of you, getting defensive, not asking for help and accepting it, and not letting others have a say in matters.
Try to recognize if you have experienced any of these stumbling blocks or have had issues around intimacy or feeling connected in your relationships. If so, seek help from a relationship counselor or other professional to talk through the issues and develop some strategies for building and fostering healthier relationships in your life.
Healthy Relationships. What is a Healthy Relationship? Love Is Respect.org, 2017. http://www.loveisrespect.org/healthy-relationships/
The One Thing We Need in Every Romantic Relationship. When it’s happening, relationships soar. When it’s absent, relationships crash and burn. Jed Diamond PhD. The Good Men Project, August 2017. https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/the-one-thing-we-need-to-will-either-make-or-break-relationships-wcz/
Fear of Intimacy in Men: Cause, Relationship Problems, Tips. Men can be afraid of relationships for a few basic reasons. Seth Meyers, PsyD. Psychology Today, April 15, 2013.
The 5 Biggest Relationship Issues for Men. Paige Parker. The Blog: The Huffington Post, May 2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paige-parker/men-and-relationships_b_1524896.html
7 Things All Men Need in a Relationship. Jordan Gray, relationship coach. Jordan Gray Consulting, December 2013. https://www.jordangrayconsulting.com/2013/12/7-things-all-men-need-in-a-relationship/
Men in Relationships: 5 Simple Categories. Suzanne Lachmann, PsyD. Psychology Today, August 2013. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/me-we/201308/men-in-relationships-5-simple-categories