Healthy Relationships


I’ve had to do a lot of introspective work over the last 3.5 weeks since my world flipped upside down.

Actually, that’s a lie. I did not have to. I chose to. I know a lot of people would just throw their hands in the air and walk away. I can’t do that. I won’t do that.

What I mean to say is it’s been 3.5 weeks since I was given the opportunity for a 2nd chance at life.

I’ve been processing as much as I can and evaluating things I’ve done, things I’ve said, the way I speak, my body language, all of it.

And I’m taking accountability for all of the wrong from the past that I have caused or have been a part of. I can’t heal if I pretend like I’m not responsible. I can’t heal if I blame others. I can’t heal if I make excuses.

I can’t fix the past. It’s done and over with. Living with regrets stops me from giving all of myself to being better in the present.

I can, however, learn from the past. And I’ve been thinking a lot about what a healthy relationship looks like, and what I want to work towards in being a better husband, a better father, and a better friend.

I’m learning to process through things quickly now, and not using my emotions as an excuse to avoid uncomfortable situations. So I’m having hard conversations and I am hearing and saying things that need to be heard and said.

My heart is completely broken right now. And rightfully so. I brought this pain upon myself. But this is a pain that I’ve not experienced in a very long time. The good thing about things being broken is they can be rebuilt to be stronger.

I am yearning for comfort. And I am receiving it somewhat through words. It’s all going to be okay. Things weren’t as bad as they seem. Etc. But what is missing is the action behind them. And holy shit does that bring about a pain that I have not experienced before. My heart literally aches and I can feel it throughout my entire body.

And I finally understand my wife. I finally understand the pain that I have put her through for so long. She longed for intimacy and connection with me and I would say beautiful things (sometimes, for awhile). But I would rarely follow through.

So for a long time she stood on the edge of a cliff, ready to jump, ready to fly, with me telling her I would hold her hand and fly with her. But anytime she tried to jump my hand would slip and I wouldn’t be there with her.

Having these intense feelings of wanting to be seen, wanting to be touched, wanting to be listened to and never receiving it is unimaginable pain. And to know that I put her through that for so long just absolutely breaks me down to tears. I’m hurting from 3 weeks, and I put her through this for years? I can’t blame her for leaving.

And my kids just wanted their dad. They would make efforts. They would ask to do things. And I rarely showed up in the way they needed me to. I wasn’t present with them the times we were together. Phone in my hand, or dissociating with something that doesn’t even bring joy to my life.

And I’m never… ever… ever going to make someone feel that pain again!

So what does this have to do with healthy relationships? Well let’s learn from my mistakes. These are things that I am finally doing. These are the things I am working on. These are the things I am building new relationships on.

I don’t think it’s too late for anything.

Healthy Relationships

Safety – This to me, currently, is the most important thing that I am focusing on. The relationships that you have in your life should be safe places for all parties involved. That means you know that you can come to me and tell me absolutely ANYTHING and I will remain calm and talk through it with you. I’ve done a massive overhaul of this in my life, especially for my children. And not only am I saying this, but I’m actually living up to it. My children have come to me with some big revelations over the last few weeks. And every time I meet them exactly where they are at, thank them for trusting me to be able to come to me, and reassure them that everything is good. I don’t love them any less. I don’t think poorly of them. I’m honestly just thrilled to have given them a safe place to be themselves. I also have kids that are running around the house cussing at one another now. Why? Because this is their home and they deserve to be who they truly are. Not who they think dad wants them to be. I will meet them on their level from now on. Always. They should never feel like they need to meet me on mine.

Respect – In order for a relationship to be healthy, both parties involved need to have respect for one another. Neither should feel like they are above or below the other. Relationships are a two way street. What this means is you can not make assumptions about the other person. You have to respect that at any given time you are meeting on the same level. Listen and let the other person know that they are heard. Communicate back to them what you are hearing to ensure you are both on the same page. Support the other person’s interests and values. Be mindful of how you are communicating to one another. Be reliable. Appreciate their differences. Give them space when they ask for it. They need to know that they are seen as an individual and are valued for who they are, not who you want them to be.

Trust – A healthy relationship needs a significant level of trust to work. When someone tells you something, you should believe what it is they are saying. In turn, you need to only be speaking the truth to not break that trust. When confronted, be emotionally available and receptive to the feedback you are receiving. They should be able to come to you and trust that you will not gaslight or manipulate them. You need to not worry about what the other person is doing all the time. If they are going out, trust that they are being responsible and safe and let them be. Trust that they are not lying behind your back and are being truthful with you. If trust is broken, it can be challenging to earn it back. Be true to your word.

Intimacy – This is a feeling of being close emotionally, physically, mentally, and being supported by the other person. Obviously this will vary depending on the relationship, but in a romantic relationship it’s not just about sex. That’s a major one, and one that you need to take seriously. Intimacy comes from hugging, holding hands, looking deep into each other’s eyes, cuddling. That’s physical. Emotional intimacy is when you are able to be vulnerable and share your most personal and deepest thoughts and feelings with another person. Intimacy means having shared experiences. Spending quality time together. Going shopping. Date nights. Weekend vacations. Surprise trips. Pursuing the other person’s interests. Participating in hobbies and activities together. This all creates safety and lets the other person know they are cared for.

Hard Work – Do not ever stop trying. You are in this relationship with another person for a reason. Since both parties are always growing, there should always be work being done within the relationship to respect one another and grow at the same time. Do not ever get comfortable. These people are important to you, so you need to show them every… single… day. On the easy days, and on the hard days, you should always be looking to be a better person for yourself, for your partner, for your family. Get up and do hard things. If you’re working hard, it’s obviously something worth working for. Hard work involves working on yourself, too. Go to therapy. Take care of your health, physically and mentally. Learn what it is your wants and needs are, and communicate them to the other person. Show up, every damn day even when you are drained. Always respect and support the other person, but encourage them and push them to be the best versions of themselves.

Communication – Just talk. And allow yourself to be vulnerable. Speak openly and honestly. Create your safe space. Make your message clear and do not leave the other person confused or not knowing what is going on. Speak truthfully. Be respectful. Pay attention when they are talking. Don’t just hear them, but listen to what it is they are saying. Listen to understand, and not to respond. Validate their thoughts and feelings. Take accountability when you are confronted. Do not make excuses. Do not place blame. Do not exaggerate conversations (never, always, used to, etc.). Express your needs, wants, and feelings. Respond calmly. Do not let your emotions take control of the situation. Understand that when there is a problem it is YOU and THEM against the PROBLEM and not you and them against one another. Do not raise your voice. Do not put the other person’s backs against the wall or in a corner. Do not interrupt when they are talking. Do not hold grudges. Do not walk on eggshells around each other. Do NOT let problems go unaddressed. Do not continuously argue over the same subjects. Do not name call.

Honesty – Don’t lie. Period. Lying breaks all of the items above. It creates an unsafe environment. You lose respect for one another. Trust is broken. Intimacy is hard. Growth comes through hard conversations. You should always be growing, which means you should always be honest about what your needs and wants are.

This is my massive fucking glow-up from who I was before to who I am going to be moving forward. And I’m damn proud of this person.