Writing down your feelings is a powerful tool for relationships because by doing it, you get to know the number-one most important person in your life: yourself. The quality of any romantic relationship is going to be directly correlated to your own self-worth. You are the person you really need to get to know, and journaling is a great ally in that process.
Writing can help you tune in to your inner voice and appreciate who you are—in other words, your journal shouldn’t just be a dumping ground for frustrations about your partner. (Although that can definitely be helpful in some situations, like if you need to have a talk with them and want to organize your thoughts.) Rather, you can also look at it as a place to dig deep into who you are and what you want.
Here are a few journal prompts that can help take a person’s relationships to the next level, whether single or attached.
Journal Prompts for Single People
The perfect day visualization: A big roadblock people come up against when dating is that they don’t really know what they want. And if you’re not clear on your endgame, you risk wasting time and energy on people who ultimately aren’t going to be the best fit for you.
To find that clarity, try this two-part journaling exercise. First, take a little time to dream about what [your ideal] partnership looks like and feels like. These prompts can help get you started, but feel free to be creative here:
Journal out a whole day spent with this person. What does it feel like when you wake up together? Where do you go? What do you do? Really dig in and get specific.
Keep coming back to how it feels physically and emotionally. Are you energized? Does it give you a sense of safety? Are you having fun?
Next, use the intel gleaned from your perfect-day visualization to make a list of qualities you want to prioritize in a partner. What are the nonnegotiables for you?
The post-date debrief: One of the ickier aspects of dating-app culture is that it can make a person feel like they’re on a job interview, and it’s easy to put too much focus on the performance aspect. We’ve all fallen down the rabbit hole of self-doubt. But this is the absolute wrong approach. We’re often so preoccupied with being chosen that it’s easy to forget that you are picking your partner, as well.
You can use your journal to flip the script. Don’t just get caught up in the ‘shiny object’ aspects of their persona or appearance, ask yourself about the qualities they exhibited and if those are in alignment with what’s most important to you. Here are some things she suggests you journal about after a date:
How did your evening make you feel?
What did you enjoy about spending time with this person (or not)?
Did they make you feel good or kick up insecurities?
It’s not about judging your date. It’s about being connected with yourself through the dating process and assessing whether you two humans are a good fit for one another. You might be surprised to realize that person you were hoping to impress isn’t actually that impressive themselves!
Journal Prompts if You’re in a Relationship
The stress-buster: Stress is a major relationship buzzkill—if you’re obsessing over your to-do list or a conflict with someone at work, it’s hard to be present with your partner. Compounding this is the fact that self-care can often take a backseat when you’re coupled up. It erodes the foundation of the relationship long-term, because you both need to be taking care of yourselves in order to have the energy and clarity to take care of each other.
Here’s how you can use your journal to calm your mind and clear mental space for your S.O.
At night in bed, jot down a list of everything you want to get out of your head. This might help you sleep better—and wake up knowing exactly what priorities you need to tackle the next day. (That way, you’re not thinking about them during quality time with your bedmate.)
In the morning, do a free-write for at least four minutes and see what comes up on the page. Think of it like a juice cleanse for your brain.
The self-love party: Let’s be honest: One of the perks of being in a relationship is having someone constantly tell you how great they think you are. But if you’re solely looking to your partner to validate you, you’re likely heading down a sketchy path. We aren’t going to get all our needs met by a significant other. That’s unreasonable and unrealistic.
If you find that your moods peak and dip based on the amount of attention you’re getting from your plus-one, try giving yourself the gratuitous praise you’re seeking. Make a list of the things that you appreciate about yourself, and not a short list! Go for at least 50: traits, body parts, habits, you name it. Like how you set the dining room table? Include it. Think you have lovely feet, claim it. Love how you are a good friend to x person? Celebrate it. It’ll take the pressure off your partner to be the president of your fan club—but, more importantly, it can help you fall a little deeper in love with you.
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