Without a doubt one of the greatest hindrances to the health and longevity of our relationships is the balance in the relationship between self protection and extending ourself to foster the relationship.

The perfect relationship


Ideally in a “perfect relationship” we are able to protect ourselves by being able to say no when we need to walk away from conflict, go outside the relationship to meet certain emotional, intellectual, and friendship needs, or just be free to pull away temporarily to nurture ourselves.


Also in a “perfect relationship” we would take steps to foster the relationship. We would consider the needs and weaknesses of the other, we would spend time cultivating common interests, working through conflicts in a sensitive ways and compromising on many levels for the greater good of the relationship.

Out of blance

If we err on one side or the other the relationship will suffer. Whether we become personally distressed because the relationship has taken too high of a priority and we become unhappy and drained, or we detach to such a degree the bonds of the relationship begin to erode and weaken. Maybe it no longer meets the needs commonly associated with a healthy relationship love, connection, shared activities, emotional support etc.

Our relational responsibilities

This is fundamentally a personal responsibility issue. We all have an obligation to be as healthy as possible and when we choose to forsake healthy behaviors we cannot meet other obligations. The bottom line is whenever your own well being is in direct contrast to fostering a relationship you are out of balance and you and the relationship will inevitably suffer.

This is without a doubt one of the dynamics most commonly wrapped up in my clients lives no matter what other issues they are dealing with. If you were not raised in a family (and many were not) that taught personal self-care as a good and healthy thing this may be foriegn to you. For example:

-It is good to say no if you can't freely say yes.
-It is good to step back from a relationship when you have become a sounding board for a habitual whiner.
-It is not good and healthy to have a personal policy that always puts others needs before your own.
-It is good and even imperative to remove all support from someone who is engaging in self-destructive behavior.

In some families obligation to one's self is seen as disloyalty or disrespect. Where openly speaking your mind is considered rude and unloving. It can be difficult to begin bring balance to these situations. But across the board to achieve a healthy meaningful relationship with anyone means finding the balance between fostering self-care and nurturing the relationship.

Author's Bio: 

I am an MFT residing in beautiful San Diego. I specialize in relationship assessment and personal growth as well as couples counseling.

If you would like to talk further about how to achieve healthy relationships and good communication please visit my website at www.CathyRoysTherapy.com you can also contact me at 619 518-1323 or via email at Cathy@CathyRoysTherapy.com I would love to speak with you.