At a glance, it's so easy to compare our relationships to other peoples' IG highlight reel, but as we *hopefully* know by now, happiness isn't determined by social media. Dating in college isn't always picture perfect, no matter how hard you try to "curate" your relationship.
Below, eight signs you're in a relationship that's good for you at this stage of your life:
You are free to express yourself.
It's easy to lose yourself in a relationship when you're always trying to impress someone. In a healthy and open relationship, you are able to express your thoughts, feelings, and aesthetic without fear of being judged or ridiculed. You do you!
Your relationship can co-exist with other aspects of your individual lives.
You won't want to do everything together, and that's okay. You don't even need to have the same exact friends, or share similar interests. What you DO need is mutual respect for each other's schedules, commitments, and priorities. You're still an individual, after all.
"Without healthy boundaries, we allow others to override our own feelings and desires," says John Amodeo Ph.D., MFT in a feature on Psychology Today. "We may get eaten alive by people who are very clear about what they want! The essence of boundaries is differentiating what we want from what others want from us."
Speaking of boundaries...
You respect each other's privacy.
You are both entitled to your privacy: your passwords, your messages, your journal entries, and your pasts. It's one thing to share passwords to subscription services and communal accounts, but know where to draw the line, and remember that it goes both ways.
You don't compete with each other.
You are present in the moment (whether in person or online), and you give each other enough time to talk about your day: the good and the bad. You don't compare to see who has it worse and invalidate the other's experiences.
Your happiness doesn't depend on grand gestures and public declations of love.
Grand gestures are super kilig for birthdays or anniversaries, but not to cover up problems that have been going on for months. Yes, it's nice to see someone throw in some effort, but keep in mind that small, consistent gestures tell more about someone's character over time. "It's best to pay attention to a person's actions and values first before wholeheartedly latching onto their words," advises Dr. Bockarova in a feature on Cosmopolitan, who also says it's important to be on the lookout for someone saying too much, too soon.
"I would tread carefully with someone making extremely grand gestures before they know you," Dr. Bockarova says. "Be cognizant that long-lasting and healthy love takes communication, trust, reliability, and genuine care, which takes time to build."
You are able to cherish moments without posting every detail on social media.
It's totally your decision to post ~content~ as you wish, for as long as it doesn't get in the way of your well-being AND quality time together. Always think of your intentions before posting on social media, and remember to look up and enjoy moments away from your phone, too.
You don't fight about the same things over and over again.
Rough patches are normal in any relationship, but if it's been months and you're back at square one, it might be time to rethink your communication habits and each other's commitment to change. Kung paulit-ulit na lang, there might be a deeper issue at play.
You feel comfortable with whatever level of intimacy you're experiencing together.
Consent isn't just about saying yes or no, it's also HOW you say yes that matters. A healthy relationship means both of you are comfortable with how you express yourselves both physically and verbally, no matter how long it takes. Here's a guide if you find yourself unsure.
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