Relationships are tricky things. A lot of time, they're great. They're everything you've ever wanted. Maybe there are a few minor bumps along the way, but that's okay, obstacles are natural. You both care about each other, you both have a great time together, and life is good.
Other times, though, relationships aren't so dreamy. You're manipulated. You're made to feel like you'd be nothing without them. You're shamed for your depressed thoughts, for the actions you take when you're triggered. Your well-being is never put into consideration. You know what it's like to have your love and overall mental health taken advantage of, to have it disregarded.
This time feels different, though, doesn't it? It's like a breath of fresh air to you, like you've been held underwater and are finally able to surface. You feel okay. You feel loved, you feel acknowledged, you feel respected. Things aren't as hard as they used to be and the fighting isn't seemingly never-ending. You're in a relationship, but you still maintain your individual identity.
Why is that? What makes everything so different this time? The fact that you finally have a partner who cares about and respects your mental health. That's why. That can be everything in a relationship, making or breaking it. Your mental health is so, so important, and so is having a partner who is helping it rather than hurting it.
It's pretty obvious when love, respect, and consideration are there. Here are a few signs you finally have a partner who cares about your mental health:
1. You aren't afraid to say how you feel or what you think.
You're no longer constantly anxious when something they do upsets you or you feel differently about something than they do. You know that you can 100% have a calm, honest conversation with them about absolutely anything and they won't love you any less for what you have to say. You know they care about you and always want to know how you're feeling, that way they can do to make things better. They promote a safe and trusting environment to you, like a partner should.
2. You trust each other.
Not just a little bit, but fully. They've proven to you that you never have to worry about where they are or who they're talking to, because you're everything to them. They don't sneak around behind your back, and they haven't broken and manipulated your trust. You might share locations just for safety, but it's not a tracking device, like a chip implanted into a pet. Not only that, but they aren't overbearing on you. They don't make accusations of you being unfaithful or demand to see your phone. You can go out with the opposite gender, you can go out to clubs, you can do whatever without constantly fighting. You know you'll both come right back home to each other at the end of the day, happy.
3. You're able to maintain your individuality.
You don't feel like who you are has been completely taken over by them. You don't feel like a pet or child being restricted and governed by their rules. You're able to have your own interests and friends without trying to force some overlap. You know that they're always able to be your "plus one" to something, but they don't have to be. You don't have to do everything together to prove that you love each other, and you both know that. Neither of you dominates the other—instead, you complement each other. You know who you are, and your mental health doesn't suffer from being taken captive.
4. They don't hold anything over your head.
Sometimes, you make mistakes. Whether that's saying something in a wrong way, behaving inappropriately, or anything that could upset your partner, it doesn't matter. What matters is if they forgive you, they don't constantly bring it back up when another issue arises. Instead, they've fully forgiven you and you both have moved on in your relationship. You don't have to constantly be anxious that if you accidentally don't do something right, it's going to come back up again. Trust and forgiveness are crucial to relationships, and them taking advantage of or manipulating either of those in any way hurts your mental health.
5. You don't feel neglected.
When you're having a bad mental health day, they're there for you. They're actively talking to you to try to make things better wanting to do everything they can to help. You feel like you can be as honest as possible about the state of your mental health and they won't shame you for it. They'll hold you. They'll talk with you about seeing a counselor. They'll care about you. You don't expect them to fix everything, but they don't make things worse when you're hurting. You don't have to worry about them not being there when you need them most because they always, always are.
6. They don't gaslight you.
They don't twist your thoughts and tamper with your perception of reality. They don't try to get you to believe that other people hate you, that they're talking about you behind your back. They don't try to convince you that you were gone for way longer than you actually were. They don't deliberately attempt to control you and your thoughts so that they're the only person you trust. They don't take away your sense of self-worth. There's no manipulation, there's no controlling. There's just love.
7. All of your friends and family love them.
Your friends see how happy they make you, especially compared to your previous relationships. They see how good you both are for each other. Your partner doesn't come as a divide between you and your friends, and they don't cause tension when they're near each other. You feel comfortable being able to bring your partner out with your friends and know it'll be a good time. You don't lose your friends when you're in the relationship, and you talk to more than just your partner every day. They don't cause you to separate from old friends and family or prohibit you from creating new relationships.
8. You don't feel like you have to change who you are.
They don't make you feel like you're too loud, too busy, too talkative, or anything else. You don't feel like you have to adhere to the type of person they want you to be in order for them to love you. They love you just the way that you are. Relationships are about compromise, but you shouldn't be the only one compromising. You don't have to fundamentally change who you are for them to be with you. You don't have to continually fight to get them to love you. Instead, they make you feel like you're the best version of yourself.
Relationships aren't always rainbows and butterflies, but they're not always fighting and feeling drained either. There are more happy times than there are bad times.
The actions of your partner have a significant impact on your mental health because you're so invested in them and the relationship itself. A partner who cares about your mental health won't make it worse through their words and actions, or lack thereof. Their love feels like a breath of fresh air to you, and you're finally getting the love and care you deserve.