When it comes to building healthy relationships, many people try to start with the relationship itself. While this isn’t a bad idea, the truth is, people are the foundations of relationships; and like anything else in life, if we don’t start with a strong foundation, the building never holds up for very long.
Who are Healthy People?
Healthy people are those who come to the table without emotional baggage, and with their priorities in check. Health should also cover the physical state of the individual, including their HIV status.
This is not to say that people with mental and physical illnesses cannot and should not enter into relationships. What it does mean is that should either of you make such a decision, do so knowing what you’re getting yourself into, and preparing for the obstacles ahead.
The current estimate is that one in five American adults experience mental health problems each year. That’s 20 percent of Americans – 20 percent of the people you go to work and school with, 20 percent of the people you know.
This is an important fact to keep in mind, when we encounter small problems that later show up as legit mental illnesses. This might include explosive tempers, chronic depression, mood swings, and substance abuse.
Even when mentally stable, it’s hard to think of someone who doesn’t have some emotional baggage lugging along. Even so, there are many people who find healthy coping mechanisms.
Emotional baggage is any remnant from the past that makes a person develop unhealthy relationship habits. Park that baggage at the door, before walking into a relationship.
It’s important to know what hereditary diseases run in the family. Some diseases, like sickle cell and heart conditions, can cause problems for children born of parents who both carry these genes.
It’s also important to know your partner’s STI status. According to CBS, almost 20 million new STD cases are reported each year.
About 50.5 million current infections are in men while 59.5 million are in women, for a total of 110 million Americans with STDs at any given time.
Youngins from age 15 to 24 represent an overwhelming majority of these new cases. Know your partner’s status before it’s too late.
Playing your Part
Of course, it’s also just as important to know your own status; not just on HIV and other STIs, but also mental health, physical health, and emotional stability. Too often do we point the blame at other people for our failed relationships, without taking some accountability for our own actions.
Examine your own behavior and decide if you are in a place in your life where you can have a healthy and stable relationship. This means taking an honest look at your finances, your living arrangement, and whether or not you’ve really let go of your past relationships.
If what you find is unsatisfactory, then take heart. This doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to find a healthy relationship. It means you just need to take a bit more time to get your affairs in order for better opportunities.