One way to think about relationships is to visualize a continuum: Narcissistic… taking.. Healthy or, Codependent.. Giving Healthy relationships exist in the middle of this continuum with flexibility to change and to move back and forth in the direction of the end points. Good relationships mean that no one is involved in the relationship ever gets to the end point in either direction and no one stays in one place, for very long. We know what a narcissists look like—these are people that can give to others but who expect others to give everything to them. These people are the epitome of self-centeredness and usually they get can others to work for them. The codependent is exact the opposite. A healthy relationship exists in the middle between too much giving and too much taking. A good relationship also comprises of mutual respect and kindness to the self and to the other. These qualities can be, and often are, more critical to the relationship than love. If love means respect and kindness, then love is critical. Too often what we define as love really means a neediness and we treat the “ones we love” without respect and without kindness. A good relationship is comprised of trust, acceptance, communication, and a genuine liking of the other person and is willing to compromise at times. There must be a recognition of the other as a separate person from ourselves, with his or her own needs and values and choices. Good relationships are not about constant closeness or constant sharing and agreement. These attributes can quickly become suffocating and boring, One reason to have relationships is to challenge ourselves into growth and development. This growth and development cannot take place in a threatening and scary environment. Good healthy relationship provides a safe, secure, encouraging place in this crazy world. We are allowed to express feelings, make mistakes, experiment, take risks, and be nurtured along the way. It also provides stimulation and sometimes a good “kick in the pants”. Our society has taught us that sexual attraction and addiction to the other are the critical components for our relationships. It has also taught us that the purpose is to get our needs met through the other. The way to get past this way of thinking is that the most important relationship is what you have with yourself. All your other relationships will follow from that–you can never have a better relationship with someone else is with yourself. No one can love you the way you want to be loved; no one else can fill you needs.