What are Growth-Focused Relationships Like?

· January 24, 2019

A lot of people believe that relationships are synonymous with discomfort. This is because, for them, a relationship represents a permanent sacrifice, an uncomfortable place to be in. What is your personal view of a relationship in terms of success and personal growth? What do you think others think about this?

In this article, we talk about growth-focused relationships (romantic relationships, for that matter) and their characteristics. By reading this article, you’ll learn that it’s possible to have relationships where you feel that you grow as a person, relationships that allow you to expand your comfort zone. Getting to that point may not be easy, but it’s not impossible. Besides, the investment will be worth it.

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

-James Cash Penney-

Growth-focused relationships: What are they like?

They bring out the best in you

Interpersonal relationships can bring out the best and worst of us. In relationships, we’ll experience happiness, as well as hard moments or doubtful situations. However, growth-focused relationships strive to minimize harmful events and take advantage of good situations. By doing this, both parties can become the best version of themselves.

What do we mean by “a relationship that pushes you to be a better version of yourself”? This type of relationships inspires you to be a better person, makes you feel good, and helps you move forward in life.

Growth-focused relationships are easy to recognize. The people in these relationships seem happier and talk about their future plans with their partner. Overall, they show complete respect towards their significant other and the relationship per se.

A happy couple smiling at each other.

Relationships and professional challenges

A 2011 study by Ackerman, Griskevicius, & Li that was published by the American Psychological Association (APA) explained that being able to grow professionally and take on challenges often means taking risks and dedicating a large part of your time to your profession or your personal project.

In this context, a relationship can be an obstacle. A person can either feel supported or tied down by their partner. There are many people who feel that their significant other hinders their progress. You have to choose which of the two realities you want for yourself.

Growth-focused relationships are all about encouraging each other’s challenges and dreams. In fact, your partner may even be the one to inspire you to take on a new professional or personal goal and work hard to achieve it.

In this type of relationship, you know your partner will be there for you every step of the way, supporting you at all times. Encouragement, support, partnership, reassurance, and comfort are just a few of the ingredients that make up growth-focused relationships.

A happy couple hugging.

Balancing personal space and couple space

Being in a growth-focused relationship implies taking part in projects that allow you to maintain your individuality, tend to your personal needs, and be true to yourself. Although your relationship is important to you, it’s important that you know you have the right to individuality. Don’t feel guilty for having your personal space and enjoying it. In other words, you have no reason to feel bad for wanting to spend some time by yourself. A healthy relationship is one where both parties have personal space.

“Genuine relationships depend first on a healthy relationship with ourselves.”

-Sonia Choquette-

It’s important to note that every personal or professional challenge can be either positive or negative, depending on the way we perceive it. We must think of the right way to approach said challenge and make sure we surround ourselves with supporting people. This is why it’s so important for your significant other to be there to encourage you during difficult times.

Living with a partner can help you grow because you’ll have to face different kinds of situations. Likewise, a scientific article concluded that those who live with a partner must put in the work to achieve a balance between personal space and the space they share with their partner (Fletcher, Simpson, Campbell, & Overall, 2015). That way, the relationship won’t hinder their personal growth and help them discover their boundaries and tear down the walls that may keep them from establishing a healthy couple dynamic.

In brief, if being in a relationship makes you feel tied down, limited, and restrained, something’s not right. It’s true that a relationship requires quality time and effort, but keep in mind that your partner can support you during difficult times.

Ackerman, J. M., Griskevicius, V., & Li, N. P. (2011). Let’s get serious: Communicating commitment in romantic relationships. Journal of personality and social psychology, 100(6), 1079-1094. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022412

Fletcher, Garth & Simpson, Jeffry & Campbell, Lorne & Overall, Nickola. (2015). Pair-Bonding, Romantic Love, and Evolution: The Curious Case of Homo sapiens. Perspectives on Psychological Science. 10. 20-36. 10.1177/1745691614561683.