What is a normal relationship? Most of us grow up believing that the relationship we see our parents have is what a “normal” relationship looks like. Even those who grow up in alcoholic and/or abusive households will believe this (for a while). After all, when you’re young, you don’t have much of a basis for comparison. But as we get older (and presumably, wiser), we tend to look around more and notice so many different ways of being. We begin to question what is normal, and often wonder if our own relationships are normal. So what is a normal relationship?
In order to answer this question, we must first differentiate between two very important concepts. One is what is normal? and the other is what is healthy?. Although similar, these are not the same. According to Dictionary.com, normal means: “conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.” But healthy means: “prosperous, flourishing.” In other words, a “normal” relationship is one like most others, not in any way unusual or different from the majority of others. A “healthy” relationship, on the other hand, is one that both thrives (“grows luxuriantly”) and prospers (“achieves success”).
What does this mean? Why am I confusing you with all of these definitions? Because not all “normal” relationships are healthy, and not all “healthy” relationships are normal. Many people may not feel content in a usual, average, typical relationship. If one feels stifled, then they cannot thrive or prosper, and the relationship will not be healthy. Many “healthy” relationships, those that thrive and prosper, are anything BUT normal. I won’t go into details, but there are many couples that are unconventional in their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors within their relationships or marriages. If it works for them, and the relationship thrives and prospers, then it is healthy, even if not normal.
So, are you now wondering if your relationship is normal? Or is it perhaps more important to ask if your relationship is healthy? That’s up to you. To many people, normal and healthy are one and the same. If that’s you, then find out what most people do, and if your relationship looks like most, then rest assured that it is healthy. Otherwise, remember that relationships aren’t a ‘one size fits all’. Stick with what works FOR YOU.