THE GOOD PARTNER TEST
Are you bringing your best self to your relationship?
Words Karen Nimmo
ARE YOU A GOOD PARTNER? Most people are a little uncertain how to answer that question. Many of us will say, “Hmmm, I’m okay on a good day.” But we all know only too well how our relationships look on a bad day, and no one’s hurrying to open that door. We also often don’t know for sure what a good partner is. When our relationships are going well, we don’t stop doing the dishes and try to figure out why. Just as people don’t usually rock up to therapy when life is going well, we don’t tend to pull apart what’s working in our relationships. We roll with the “Why fix what ain’t broke?” philosophy, and just get on with it. It’s only when our relationships crack or break down that we want to know where they (or we) went wrong. When you’ve been struggling in a relationship, you can lose your radar on what it means to be (and have) a good partner, or even what a healthy relationship looks like. Or maybe you’ve never known because you haven’t had the right modelling? Or you’ve had a string of di icult relationships – partners with “issues” – that has messed with your idea of healthy love? The truth is, there’s no definitive “yes” or “no” answer to what makes a good partner. The question is too broad; it’s like asking someone if they eat healthily. They’d say something like: “Well, I’m pretty good most of the time, but I do have a thing for cheeseburgers and fries.” You need to help people unpack what, where, when, why and how they eat – and the best way to do that is to ask specific questions. It’s the same in relationships. People are complex; while we may share certain traits, none of us fits neatly into boxes. There’s no such thing as a perfect partner and you should bolt from anyone who says they are. We all have our quirks and foibles, our good and bad days, our strengths and vulnerabilities, our inner demons and – hopefully – angels. But in order to “do” relationships well, we have to understand what a healthy relationship is – as well as have a clear idea of what it means to be a good partner. Here’s a test to help you figure it out. The questions are in no particular order but in various ways each of the seven pillars of love is covered.