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5 Things You Have the Right to Expect From Your Relationship

Sometimes it’s hard to know for sure what you can reasonably expect from your partner:

  • Should she return every text at the earliest opportunity?
  • Should he make time to hang out with you every weekend?
  • Should you split the bill 50-50 every time you go out?

But before you can resolve these specific questions, you need to establish the basics—the things you should ask, with confidence, from every relationship. Following are 8 such “basics” you have a right to expect from every romantic relationship.

1. Affection

Your partner may express this either in words, behavior, or both, but physical affection, such as hugging, kissing, back or foot rubs, or holding hands is especially important in romantic relationships. Your partner should like you as a person, and be able to demonstrate that in a way that reaches you.

2. Compassion

When you’re hurting, you have a right to expect your partner to be, in the words of Phil McGraw, “a soft place to fall.” He or she should be tender with you if you’re in pain. A partner’s not obligated to read your mind, or be “in it” with you. They don’t have to feel the same way you do. It just needs to matter to him or her that you feel bad.

3. Respect

A good partner shows respect—for you as a person, and for your boundaries. Although he or she may disagree with you, there’s no name-calling or ridicule from a respectful partner, even in the name of “just teasing.” A respectful partner knows and admires your strengths, is gracious about your weaknesses—and doesn’t willfully engage in boundary violations.

4. Consideration

A considerate partner thinks about how his or her behavior affects you. They don’t have to give you everything you ask for, or do everything you want them to do, but they owe you the courtesy of considering things from your point of view. If a partner doesn’t do this, he or she is treating you like a pet rock that doesn’t need care or feeding. (And I know you’re not that…because rocks can’t read.)

5. Time

Every relationship is based on sharing at least some time together. It can’t always be helped if your partner has to be away. But if he or she rarely or never has time for you, or consistently rations the time you spend together, you might ask yourself how much more of your own time you’re willing to spend pursuing them.

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