Basic Tips To Write Healthy Relationships
Romance is a popular genre, but it's often handled quite badly. Relationships that would be unhealthy - even abusive - are frequently treated as normal, even desirable. So, here's a list to help you avoid some common pitfalls.
Make sure the characters have something in common.
Infatuation (AKA "love at first sight") is great for drawing people together, but it's not what keeps them together - there will come a point when basking in each others' beautiful presences just won't be enough. Make sure your characters have some interests or goals they share - eg, Marie and Pierre Curie shared a passionate love of science and enjoyed working together.
...But don't make their interests exactly alike.
Make sure your characters have some interests they don't share, and indeed enjoy doing apart. Having lives that completely revolve around each other is rather unhealthy.
They should act comfortable around each other.
Unless they're early in their relationship, they should not be afraid to just be themselves, nor worry too much whether they're saying the "wrong" thing in front of the other. If your characters are practically at the altar, yet one of them is fretting over whether what xe said will go over badly, there's something wrong.
They should not ignore friends from before.
Sure, new relationships will take up some time, but don't have your characters completely or almost completely stop hanging out and doing things with old friends.
They should not feel particularly jealous or threatened when the other talks to or hangs around with someone else.
Your characters should trust each other enough that they don't become jealous whenever the other hangs around someone else. Likewise, they shouldn't assume that this someone else is an "old flame" or such.
One should not be completely or almost completely dependent on the other.
While this can sound pretty in print, in reality it's a horrible situation! It's horrible for the "strong" partner because that's way too much responsibility to put on a person, and it's horrible for the "weak" partner because if something happened to the "strong" partner, xe'd be left up a creek without a paddle!
Remember, engaging in control freak behavior because "X just loves Y" is still being a control freak.
And it's freaking creepy, especially to those of us who have had to deal with emotionally abusive/manipulative people. Edward Cullen's behavior in Twilight actually sent chills down my spine when I read the book.
Remember, mind games aren't a sign of a healthy relationship.
- Asking the other person questions that there cannot possibly be any "correct" answer to ("Do you think you love me more than I love you?"), or trick questions that concern their relationship.
- Making the partner feel like there's no way xe could leave the relationship and not be a horrible person - eg, "If it weren't for you, I'd kill myself/slide back into depression/start drinking again."
- Dismissing or trivializing the other person's feelings. ("You're clearly misinterpreting/overreacting about this...")
- Treating the other person as weak or incompetent. ("Oh, you obviously can't carry that luggage to your room. Let me take it for you.")
- Victim-blaming in any way, shape, or form - eg, "Look what you made me do!" or "If you didn't want X to happen, you shouldn't have done Y!"
If you liked this, you might also be interested in:
Things To Avoid When Writing Romance Novels
Plot Punter - Romance Edition
Couple Development Questions
Basic Tips To Write Better Abuse Victims & Abuse Situations