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The Landmarks of Healthy Relationships

This class helps with understanding the key landmarks in healthy relationships and also helps you to understand why a relationship which you may feel has all the hallmarks of being so much more, isn't.

Over on Baggage Reclaim, I've written about the Landmarks Of Healthy Relationships - these are the substantial markers that indicate that a relationship has legs. If they are missing but you've been ploughing on regardless, it's often because your relationship has what appears to be the signs (hallmarks) of a relationship which you may have assumed would give you the landmarks. Of course when you work your way back through your relationship and recognise their absence, it can leave you feeling rather perplexed and confused.

The landmarks are intimacy, consistency, progression, balance, and commitment plus shared values and the basics of love, care, trust, and respect. Once you recognise the significance of these, you will also see how they all tie in to one another and feed each other.

Intimacy - Very simply, are you both emotionally available? If there are barriers to intimacy whether it's that you've got someone who shuts down when they feel 'vulnerable', or who physically bails out of the relationship, or who will not or cannot communicate honestly with you or themselves, these are all barriers to genuine intimacy. Let me stress - a sexual connection or feeling connected by the craziness of your relationship or seeming common interests, isn't intimacy.

Consistency - Can you positively trust in what you can expect from this person or even yourself in this relationship? If they're blowing hot and cold, going from one extreme to the other personality wise, chasing you down when you cut them off / the relationship is in danger and backing off when they've won your attention or they have to deliver on what they promised, and your relationship essentially feels like a rollercoaster, No Contact is actually what will bring consistency back to your own life, so you can leave them to their flip-flapping ways.

Progression - Is your relationship actually going anywhere, as in, is it actually progressing, not just in terms of time (which is what a lot of people focus on) or your desire to win them over (which is the other thing that many focus on), but in terms of intimacy, consistency, growth in depth, experience, trust etc? Relationships that have major problems and potentially require NC (depending on the nature of them), go in fits and starts, start very hot and go off the boil, switch in varying temperatures, often extremes, or come to a standstill and possibly even a standoff.

Balance - If you can say whose terms things are on (it's normally theirs if you're in the position of needing to instigate NC), you can be sure that your relationship lacks balance because there is a lack of mutual. Your relationship can and will feel like a power struggle - notice when you do NC that they will feel out of control and they may get in touch, not out of a genuine desire to reconnect, rebuild, express remorse etc, but to regain control of the situation. It's also safe to say that no relationship can survive that see-saw feeling or even worse, the rollercoaster. You also need to be fairly balanced - if your whole life is out of whack due to a relationship, or your personality becomes very one extreme or the other due to the drama, it's time to make an exit.

Commitment - Without genuine commitment, which is being absolute in promising yourself to something emotionally, mentally and physically, you're like a boat without a paddle. You'll also find that even if you think it's more serious than what it is, a directionless relationship is casual. If you haven't got commitment, trust me, you haven't got any of the core landmarks (the above 4) plus you have a conflict of values, plus you will find that the lack of commitment causes problems around the love, care, trust, and respect area. We treat things better that we have a deep sense of responsibility to. You will also find that NC is absolutely pivotal if you're with someone who doesn't know their own mind from one minute to the next and is hard of hearing - they can't commit to being with you and honouring your relationship but they can't commit to not being with you.

If one, some, or a lot are missing of these, you will find that your relationship will run into major problems.

Shared values - Your values are about your fundamental beliefs surrounding how you want to live your life authentically so that you can be happy. It's about what's important to you, what makes you happy, where you want to be, where you want to go, what feels bad and what feels good. It does not matter if you share a lot of common interests, or even a shared attraction - if you differ on your personal values (which basically govern your character) or on anything else that is fundamental to how you live and to do otherwise would have you living outside your values and even lacking integrity, your relationship will flounder.

If you value honesty, loyalty, trust, communication and decisiveness and you're with someone who you have a lot of common interests and deep attraction to but they lie through their teeth, aren't loyal, won't communicate or when they do it's lies plus they flip-flap in indecision, guess what? Your relationship won't be going anywhere other than Migraineville.

It is the basics to have mutual love, care, trust and respect and if any of these are missing, something is very wrong. Not only do you need it mutually in your relationship without you having to clobber them to contribute, but you also need to have self-love, self-care, self-trust, and self-respect and if by you continuing your relationship, you cannot give these to yourself, never mind receive it from them, you have no choice but to exit and distance yourself with NC.

When you consider your own relationship that you're walking away from, have an honest conversation with yourself about whether these vital ingredients were there in your relationship. If you've felt conflicted, you can at least now begin to understand why something isn't working in your relationship.