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How A Relationship Should Be (1 Key Question To Ask Yourself)

We all have a natural in-built desire to seek out a romantic relationship. This is so as to enhance ourselves and our well-being. Afterall, no one seeks out a relationship in order to feel worse about ourselves (we don't tend to seek out anything that will make us feel worse about ourselves).

This brings up a very basic but an incredibly important point in trying to determine how a relationship should be:

A relationship should be enhancing our existing emotions.

This is an important point because we can use this as a guideline to know if the relationship we are in is good or bad for us. If it is good (ie a healthy relationship), it will enhance our emotions. It will also tend to increase both partners productiveness in terms of their careers, hobbies/interests and social lives etc.

If a relationship is bad however (ie an unhealthy relationship), it will detract from our emotions. It will also tend to take away from, rather than help, our productiveness in terms of our careers, hobbies/interests and social lives etc.

How can I know for sure if my relationship is enhancing or detracting from my emotions?

Lets take a few examples:

  • Example A: If you watched an old movie with your partner that you'd seen many times before alone, you'd find that being with them gave the old movie a renewed flavor.
  • Example B: If you go somewhere with your new partner that you used go to alone, you'll now find its more enjoyable. This shows that your relationship is enhancing your good emotions.
  • Example C: If you faced a problem while you were single, like a death in the family, you would probably find it much harder than you would if you weren't single but had a partner and were in a healthy relationship.

These show us that good relationships tend to increase positive emotions and decrease negative emotions.

What if I found some of these examples didn't enhance my emotions?

Unfortunately, not all relationships work as well as the above examples. Some relationships can actually increase the negative emotions and decrease the positive ones. This is how a relationship SHOULDN'T be. These are unhealthy relationships.


Its important to know the difference between an unhealthy relationship and one that's just gone stale however. Unhealthy relationships have distinct characteristics which I detail in this article. These DECREASE our positive emotions.

A relationship that has just gone stale however might not be increasing our positive emotions ...but at the same time, its not decreasing our positive emotions. Its neutral. And just because a relationship isn't increasing our positive emotions, it doesn't mean that its unhealthy.

It just means it needs attention and work.

Going "Stale" Is Normal

A key point to remember in a relationship that has just gone stale is that going stale, in and of itself, is normal. Relationships and love aren't like how it’s portrayed in the cinema. I wish it were ...but unfortunately it's not.

If you're looking for a romantic comedy style relationship where everything is happy and fun - you could be setting yourself up for a relationship and marriage breakdown. And another relationship/marriage breakdown after that if you keep looking for something (ie a Hollywood style romance) that can never really exist.

Knowing this isn't always easy ...but knowing it allows you be better prepared when your relationship no longer feels as emotionally intense as it did in the beginning. It will also allow you to be better prepared and better undertand relationship problems when they do arise. 

Want more info on how a relationship should be?

Yes, what are the signs of a bad relationship?

Is my partner becoming emotionally distant?

What is a lovemap?

What if we can't afford couples therapy even if we need it?