There is a ton of information out there about love and how we can make love work. Love brings us hope and purpose. We hope our bosses and colleagues approve of us. We hope our friends see the good in us. We hope we can find lasting love with a partner which sustains and empowers us. It should be easy, and yet so many of us either love, have fallen in love or have been loved by partners who aren’t loving to us. It was the hope that kept or keeps us locked in, trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. When our personal life is negative, it completely short circuits our ability to be functional anywhere else, especially work.
1. Healthy love is clear, not confusing.
If you want one clear indication if you’re in a healthy relationship, ask one question; “is r relationship clear or confusing?” The more confusing a relationship is, the more we have to guess about where we stand, the more we walk on eggshells, the more unhealthy the love is. The more stress we feel and the more debilitated we become, the less we can think straight and work efficiently. Our minds become consumed with worry and fears of what is going on at home when we’re at work. This type of worry pulls us away from work. Our body is there, our mind is not.
2. Healthy love disagrees without fights.
There is a saying that all couples fight. Healthy couples disagree and move on. When love is healthy, a difference of opinion isn’t taken by either partner as they are being called "wrong." In a healthy relationship partners cherish their differences. When love is unhealthy, disagreements escalate into full blown arguments, or horrible silent treatments until the more passive partner succumbs. We lose self-respect in these toxic dynamics. When we don’t respect ourselves people stop respecting us. They come to view us as emotionally unbalanced, which is not the reputation we want, especially at work.
3. Healthy love is relationship based, not agenda based.
It’s often easy to mistake manipulation for love, which is why many of us end up with manipulators but thinking what we have is love. Healthy love is not about having control or power over our partner. Healthy love is open and flexible. Unhealthy love is largely skewed towards the needs of only one partner. In this dynamic one person’s idea of love is based on measuring how much their significant other is willing to do for them. Don’t think manipulators stop manipulating just because we go to work. When we have to answer more calls from our partner than emails or texts to our boss, we have a problem.
4. Healthy love is honest, not hypocritical.
When love is healthy both people possess the integrity to be honest with each other, even when it hurts. There is an empathy present where active listening occurs. Defenses are down, so feedback can be received and given with a level of respect and understanding. When we feel supported in our private lives we have the tools to better communicate in our public/work lives.
Unhealthy love functions around rules one partner rigidly places upon the other, but this partner does not live by the rules they apply. Whenever the unfair person is confronted, they become immediately defensive, deflect and project all the problems, in a circular fashion, back onto the other person. This type of stress forces us to put career to the side to manage what is happening outside of work. Colleagues begin to see us as negative, distracted and lose confidence that we can carry our workload.
5. Healthy love is positive, not negative.
Healthy love is fun, easy, joyful, relaxed and quiet. Each partner knows it’s their choice what type of emotion, attitude and effort they bring into their dynamic. In healthy relationships each person makes a conscious choice to focus on the positive qualities of their partner. When we’re happy at home we come to work ready, focused and motivated to give it our all. Unhealthy relationships focus solely on the negative qualities of their partner. Each time an infraction occurs it creates a nuclear war. How effective can we work when we’re at war at home?
6. Healthy love is free, not controlled.
For love to exist there has to be space for each partner to think rationally about the relationship. Healthy love allows the necessary rope for each to be passionate outside the relationship, to do the things each needs to do to be independently happy, healthy and successful. This type of love allows and encourages the success of the other.
Unhealthy relationships are socially isolating. They tend to be controlled, usually by the person whose insecurities squash the independence of the other. When work relationships are not allowed, or we end up attending all work functions alone or not at all, it isolates us from our coworkers, and we are no longer perceived as being part of a cohesive team.
7. Healthy love compliments, it doesn’t put down.
Healthy love is empowering. Each partner is proud of the other and this is acknowledged verbally and emotionally. They are communicative, supportive and nurturing. Each person is empowered to live their dreams, and to get up and keep going after any type of personal failure. We work better when we’re supported to be our best. Unhealthy love neither enjoys nor celebrates the independence of their partner, and seem to relish in their partner's failure, often punctuated with an I told you so. These dynamics drain motivation to perform as we come to believe nothing we do is ever enough.
8. Healthy love isn’t nitpicky, it finds the humor.
Healthy love allows for human error. There are always going to be things about our partner which annoy us a little (or even a lot) but in healthy dynamics these idiosyncrasies are seen as adorable or endearing. When we feel accepted we have more confidence to perform because we’re allowed to make mistakes and learn.
Unhealthy love sweats the small stuff so intensely that if one partner is ten minutes late it can literally ruin the entire day for the other. These partnerships focus on rigid rules as the determiners of importance and respect, which keep the relationship in total distress over issues which don’t matter. When we are treated this way we live in a constant state of anxiety, which inevitably leaks into our work life, causing us to be extremely sidetracked and off balance.
9. Healthy love is affectionate, not resentful.
Healthy love is fun, open, and intimate. When two people love and respect each other, intimacy is their playground. These couples cuddle, hold hands, kiss and are intimate regularly. Unhealthy love is so consumed with broken rules, no-win games and conflict that these couples don’t like each other enough to want to intimacy. The more we are happy, satisfied and fulfilled sexually, the better we perform in all areas of our lives.
Healthy love is possible. It is shared between partners who are willing to consciously add love and grace to every aspect of their dynamic. Each is supported to live their individual lives to the fullest. When we are loved we are focused, we make fewer mistakes and are well liked at work. Anything less than this type of love and life becomes stressful. Relationship stress inevitably causes us to be distracted and to make more mistakes at work.