Popular culture has fed our mind with the idea that love is the be-all and end-all of an everlasting romantic relationship. That true love gives us butterflies in the stomach, a twinkle in the eyes and a racing heartbeat. But experience can tell that only love is not enough for a healthy relationship.
There is no doubt that a happy relationship can be our greatest source of joy and satisfaction. But that can also mean that choosing a partner who does not tick all other essential factors in life can be jeopardize one’s physical well-being and mental health. Good relationships happen when both partners possess certain qualities that complement one another.
HealthShots reached out to Ruchi Ruuh, counselling psychologist and a relationship counsellor, to discuss how love is not enough for a couple to live a happily ever after. It turns out that love is not always about compatibility, but compatibility is an ingredient which needs constant adjustment as a relationship grows older and stronger or in some cases, weaker.
7 most important things in a relationship because love is not enough
While choosing the right life partner, consider these factors as important parameters. Don’t be blinded by emotions as love is not enough in marriage or a relationship.
1. Mutual respect
Respect is the fundamental right of every human being. Without respect, the best relationships fail. Always seek respect in relationships and be ready to offer the same. Respect in relationships can look like valuing your partner, listening to them and their needs, and respecting their space and boundaries.
2. Conflict resolution or problem-solving skills
Always observe how your prospective person resolves their conflicts with their friends and family. It’s a huge indicator of how they will approach the problems in the relationship as well. Do they get vindictive, stonewall (become avoidant), ghost, or become overly anxious and start overthinking without making an actual effort to understand and resolve the conflict? Conflicts and resolutions in relationships show our respect, emotional regulation and perseverance to keep the relationship, says Ruchi Ruuh.
Also read: Is there a ‘right’ way to fight with your partner?
3. Self-confidence and independence
Having a healthy outlook towards their work, relationships, body and mental capabilities show signs of high self-esteem. Partners who are comfortable in their own skin and are able to voice their thoughts without forcing their opinion, will have respect for you and your thoughts too.
4. Honesty and trust
These basic qualities go a long way. Are they able to honestly tell you if they made a mistake or where they are? Do they lie and their stories don’t add up? A person who is honest will be easy to trust and depend on. Always look for these signs in the early days of the relationship as a relationship without these will end up becoming messy and abusive, adds the expert.
Communication in a relationship is always one of the most important ingredients in love. So, while looking for ‘the one’, see that they are able to communicate their ideas with words as well as actions. Most long-term relationships survive because both partners are able to express their needs and desires in a healthy manner.
6. Sexual compatibility
Make sure you share a good level of physical affection and sexual intimacy and that both partners’ needs are met. A mismatch in sexual compatibility leaves one or both partners feeling unworthy and inadequate. Make sure they respect your needs and desires, and practice healthy communication and boundaries with respect to sex.
It’s important to be informed about their family history, their past relationships and reasons why certain relationships didn’t work out. One needs to understand that the relationship will not exist in isolation and their history will be a big part of your future. Always go informed about their abuse and trauma so you can support them adequately in times of crisis.
The next time you find yourself answering if love alone is enough for a relationship, you know the answer! Look for someone who fulfils the above-mentioned ingredients of love and see the difference it brings to your life!