Love seems to be everywhere. In songs, movies, TV shows, books and magazines, we’re told that it’s the greatest thing in the world and that all you need is love. The media tells us that love is more than enough in relationships.
But the truth is, love isn’t always enough of a reason to stay in a relationship.
Don’t get us wrong: loving someone, or caring deeply for them, is a wonderful thing, but it’s a feeling that can also make a relationship complicated. We hear from many people who tell us about unhealthy behaviors or feeling unhappy in a relationship but say that they still love their partners. It’s very possible to have feelings of love for someone even if they are mistreating you.
It’s important to recognize that love is just one part of a whole. There are a few other crucial ingredients to having a solid, healthy relationship. If you’re in a relationship and wondering if love is enough, try asking yourself these questions:
Do you trust each other?
You can love someone, but if you don’t trust them – or they don’t trust you – then the relationship won’t be healthy. Trust is a building block of a healthy relationship, and without it, jealousy and insecurity can lead to unhealthy or even abusive behavior.
Do you feel supported and comfortable talking to each other about anything, including difficult topics?
Being able to communicate openly with your partner about anything without feeling fearful of how they’ll respond is so important in a healthy relationship. Even if you bring up a difficult topic or disagree about something, that shouldn’t lead to screaming, name calling or any sort of physical confrontation. You deserve to feel safe talking to the person you love.
Do you respect each other’s boundaries?
Setting boundaries helps ensure that everyone in a relationship feels comfortable with what’s happening, which is why a person’s boundaries should always be respected – even if you (or your partner) don’t like them. Disrespecting boundaries is a sign of abusive behavior, not love. Note: a healthy boundary protects and respects a person, and does not seek to control or harm another person.
Do you have fun together?
Maybe it seems obvious, but we’re going to say it anyway: having fun together is a really important part of a healthy relationship! Even if you love your partner, frequently feeling unhappy or insecure in your relationship may be a sign that your relationship isn’t as healthy as it could be.
What it comes down to is that everyone deserves to be in a healthy, safe AND loving relationship. If you answered “no” to any of these questions, it might be time to reconsider whether the relationship is right for you, EVEN if you love your partner.
If you have concerns about your relationship, call us at 1-800-799-7233 (24/7), or chat here on our website from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Central time.