Healthy relationships after addiction, divorce, and bad relationships

What does a healthy relationship look like?

I have asked this question of friends, my therapist, and my boyfriend.

Most importantly, I have been asking it a lot of myself lately. Is this healthy? Is my response to this or that rational, emotional, or healthy? There is no checklist. I’ve Googled it and researched it at the library. Apparently it varies by person and relationship.

I find this all very irritating. I am nearly through with my divorce and onto the next relationship. I am ass-deep into therapy and journals and I just want to have a healthy relationship for crying out loud.

But it’s not that simple. I have deeply ingrained patterns that date back to my childhood and apparently I am supposed to sit with my feelings and take note of how I’m reacting and none of this is solving anything quickly enough.

I have come to the realization that I’ve never, ever actually been in a healthy relationship. I’ve been in a handful of long-term relationships, but none were healthy.  All left me feeling bereft, clingy, unloved or too loved or suffocated or ignored.

P never told me he loved me, though I wanted him to. He was an angry, bitter man.

K did love me, she was a lovely person, although I never loved her back. She was perhaps too stable and most definitely not exciting enough for me.

Zach loved me deeply and I loved him. But now we’re fighting over kids and money and lies and clearly that was not meant to be.

So how do I make sure this one is a healthy relationship?

Here is what my therapist says: go slow, notice your feelings, go slow, pay attention.

Here is what I’m doing: spending most of my sparse free time with boyfriend, Kyle, having amazing sex, and feeling like breaking up with him the minute things get uncomfortable. Not taking care of myself or getting enough sleep.

I’m not comfortable with someone else’s feelings of discomfort or disappointment.

Maybe I’d be better off alone. I’m definitely not healed from my divorce yet; it’s not even final.

In the meantime, I’m left to ponder, what is a healthy relationship?

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