Written by Margo Field
Recently my dear Aunty Pat died. She was in her 90’s and lived a happy life – she had 5 children who’ve also gone on to have kids and even provided a few great grandchildren.
Even though I didn’t spend a lot of time with her, she left me with a legacy about what a loving intimate partnering relationship can look like. And I’m truly grateful.
I spent time with Aunty Pat, her husband George and my cousins one long summer in my early teens. They lived in far North Queensland. It was hot, humid and fascinating. And I saw something that was new for me – a couple who had a quiet drink and meal together every night when George got home from work. THEY PRIORITISED TIME TOGETHER. They ate at their own table – having adult conversations.
Us kids rumbled together eating our meals on a big table. We could all see each other – including Pat and George.
I saw heartfelt connection and love between Pat and George. It was so obvious that this couple really loved each other and prioritised time together. It has had a lasting impact.
My other models of happy relationships have been few and far between. I believe most of us have really poor models of successful happy relationships. My own parents marriage included them shouting at each other as a form of connecting!!! I cant recall seeing my own parents connecting in the same way that Pat and George did.
So as a coach, counsellor and ‘chief unsticker’, do I have any suggestions other than make time for your relationship? – YES!!!
GREEN flags (deal makers)
– Is self responsible – can look after themselves
– Practices regular self care such as exercise, eating well, sleep.
– Addresses personal concerns and behaviours when they are out of balance.
– Supports your self care and personal growth. Honours boundaries. Is self reflective.
– Has long standing friendships.
– Communicates openly with you and wants to do this. Is empathic and vulnerable.
– Has similar values and beliefs (Eg spiritual, humanitarian, anti racist etc).
– Is encouraging of you and your life, hobbies, family.
– You can be your authentic self around them and feel comfortable in their company but can equally look after yourself if they are not around.
– They are responsive if you need help – i.e you are a priority.
RED Flags (AKA deal breakers)
Your partner is.
– Is financially reckless or obsessed with money or gambles.
– Has a dark or secretive past.
– Has unresolved relationships and isn’t dealing with them.
– You have values clashes e.g racist or sexist. Or you have a clash in life outlook – e.g wants/ doesn’t want children.
– Has unpredictable or controlling behaviour.
– Has a drug or alcohol addiction that they are not dealing with.
– They are violent, angry, abusive or controlling.
– They tell lies or they seem untrustworthy.
– Your gut instinct tells you something is not right here.
P.S. People often stay in unhealthy relationships because they fear loneliness. They forget the price that is paid from being compromised. Going through the hard times which happen for couples is different to staying stuck in a bad relationship. Get help and get resourceful.
Remember you can have a 10 minute free chat with Margo – go to this link to book a time – calendly.com/margofield.
Margo works from In Symmetry in Romsey on Friday’s and Wednesday’s. Please call the clinic on (03) 5429 3610 or click on the link below to book online.