How to Have a Healthy Relationship in Your 20s
The 1920s in America saw the rise of flappers who reshaped womanhood – Young women with bob short hairstyles, painted lips, and cigarettes in hand were all the rage. These ladies danced to live jazz bands in their short skirts, fully embracing their post-War freedom.
In some ways, the twenties seem rather similar, doesn’t it?
Teens are now embracing their newfound freedom. It’s all about flings, friends, and fun. Perhaps some alcohol in the mix too.
You suddenly find yourself fresh out of school, having to find a job and earn your own now.
More often than not, it is also the period we fumble through relationships, trying to find our footing on how best to approach conflicts in love while being confronted with unresolved childhood traumas and/or attachment styles previously unbeknownst even to ourselves.
We learn so much about ourselves in our 20s.
How can you enjoy a healthy relationship during this time?
Before getting into a relationship, ask yourself these questions:
- Who am I?
- Who do I want to become?
- What do I want to achieve?
- What do I want out of a relationship?
The clarity in first knowing yourself well helps tremendously in forging healthy partnerships.
If you’re in a twosome, feel free to speak openly about what you think an ideal relationship is, and the future you wish to build together. It’s a great opportunity to find out too whether the person you’re dating is on the same page as you.
Learn Everything About Your Lover
If you’re in a relationship, apply the same curiosity with yourself to your lover.
- What does he/s she like?
- What does he/ she enjoy doing? Plan activities together.
- Do you respect each other?
- Do you share similar moral values?
- Ask about each other’s childhood and family relationships.
- Ask each other about what you think your love languages are, or better yet, just do a free online test to learn more about one another!
- What kind of person does he/she desire to be?
- Does he/she have ambitions?
- Are your life goals aligned? How so?
- Feel free to even ask your boyfriend/ girlfriend: How can I love you better?
These conversations are crucial.
Say ‘Yes’ to Experiences
This decade is undoubtedly one of the best times. You’re free of debts, responsibilities, and of body aches and pains that tend to set in later in life.
Say ‘yes’ to dates if you’re single, to experiences with friends or as a couple, and to travel the world! You never know what turns up next.
You’re going to learn so much about one another, quirks and all, and whether you can tolerate each other when someone’s grumpy and jet-lagged, etc, just by taking a trip together.
Both of you can start off testing the waters with a short trip, before planning a longer one. Have epic adventures together, and create amazing shared memories!
Make Time for Friendships
It’s easy to get sucked into dating someone, making them the entirety of your world, especially in a first relationship where it’s all puppy love.
Still, make time for your friends. Maintaining some modicum of your time and life does contribute positively to your love life.
Question Beliefs & Societal Norms
You’re at an age where everyone probably has an opinion on what you should do with your life, who you should and should not be dating, and so on.
If you’re in your late 20s, you may notice friends starting to get married past 25, and peer pressure’s present. If you’ve been dating for a while now, people might start piling on the pressure on when you should get married. We also covered important ingredients for a happy marriage.
Truth is, people are always going to try to influence your decisions until you decide for yourself.
This is the best time to examine the beliefs you find yourself subscribing to, and whether they will continue to serve you.
For example, if you grew up being told by adults that you need to get married before 30, if not, you’re deemed left on the shelf, you’d start to internalize that belief. After all, that thought is introduced to us by a source of authority.
Ask yourself though, does that belief make sense to you? Why do you need to rush into marriage if you haven’t met the right person? Is there anything wrong with being single, or is that someone else’s perception that they tried imposing on you? That person might truly have the best of intentions, but draw the line and decide what you want to believe in now.
Have an open conversation with your significant other. Explore what makes sense for both of you. No one else.
If you feel like you haven’t got everything figured out, don’t worry, that’s normal. You’re not alone. Make mistakes. Stumble and fall, then pick yourself up again. Fall in love, and fall out of love.
Experience the wide spectrum of emotions unique to mankind – What a gift it is to be given this life.
If there’s just one thing you need to do, in the words of Opray Winfrey, “Surround yourself with people who are only going to lift you higher.”
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Deborah Choo loves discussing relationships, platonic or not, as that remains at the heart of human existence. She draws upon learnings from couples’ counselling, and continues to celebrate an incredible journey of growth.