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Being territorial in a relationship sounds like an instant red flag, right?
While it can be a warning sign of more controlling, abusive behavior, it can sometimes be quite beneficial.
It’s important to understand that not all territorial behavior within a partnership is healthy, so we’ll run through some of the times that it can actually be pretty great…
What is being territorial?
A lot of people mistake territorial behavior for possessive behavior – there may be some crossovers in the actual actions, but the motive is totally different.
Possessive people are often jealous and insecure, and they try to ‘own’ their partner and control how they act, who they spend time with, and what they’re saying.
This is all done so that the possessive person feels more in control of the relationship, but can often lead to them pushing their partner away.
Territorial partners are different – they don’t try to ‘own’ their loved one, but they make it clear that they are committed and that they care about the relationship.
They see the relationship as written in stone and, while they want to protect it, they have more trust for their partner because they know that they’re both on the same page.
7 Benefits Of Healthy Territorial Behavior In A Relationship
Being in a relationship with a territorial partner can be healthy because…
1. It shows they care.
Provided you already feel safe, loved, and comfortable, having a territorial partner can sometimes add to those existing feelings.
If your partner wants to be around you a lot and wants people to know that you’re together, it can make you feel really appreciated and like they’re proud to be with you.
This shouldn’t feel possessive or negative – if it’s healthy, it should feel like they have your back and enjoy showing off how much they love you and how great a couple you are.
2. It shows they are committed.
We don’t both mark our territory if we’re only staying for a short time – what’s the point?
Provided this doesn’t slip into any kind of jealous actions, your partner being territorial can be a sign that they are really committed.
They are planning on sticking around long-term, and want people to know that you aren’t going to be single or available to anyone else any time soon.
It’s nice to know that the person we love also loves us and sees the relationship working out in the future, and having someone proudly claim you as their loved one can help reassure you that they’re in it for the long haul.
3. It can add passion – if it’s in a healthy way.
Part of being in a healthy relationship is accepting that you both may find other people attractive from time to time.
Obviously, neither of you should be acting on this! It’s totally natural to still find people attractive, but being in a relationship with someone territorial can mean that all that attraction builds up and is then shared with only your partner.
You might have someone flirt with you or check you out, which can make you feel sexy and attractive – that excitement is then shared with only your partner and can make your sex life even better.
It’s not about being possessive or jealous, it’s about knowing that you two will always come back to each other, even if you check out a stranger at some point.
4. It can allow for better communication.
Jealousy in a relationship can either be very silent and secretive or it can be explosive and destructive.
If your partner is jealous, they might keep it to themselves and silently panic and worry; or they might criticize you and try to restrict you from seeing certain friends or wearing certain outfits in case you get attention.
Both of these are very unhealthy styles of communication – or lack thereof.
However, if your partner is territorial, it tends to be very clear. They are more likely to communicate openly and honestly about how they feel as they go, rather than letting it build up and lashing out randomly.
If your partner is territorial, they will work with you to establish some boundaries. They’re more likely to be vocal about how they feel about you seeing an ex, or how far they’re happy for you to flirt with other people.
This means that you both know where you stand, and you can really be loyal to each other while having your own lives.
5. It gives you both your own space.
Jealous partners can find it really hard to let go and give you space to do your own thing.
They worry that you’ll have more fun without them, or that you’ll meet someone else if they’re not constantly there to monitor your behavior.
If your partner is territorial in a healthy way, you know that they care about you and you both know where you stand.
As such, they don’t feel the need to follow you around or check your phone – they know that you are committed to each other, so what is there to worry about?
This means that you can both enjoy some really healthy alone time, and focus on yourselves as well as the relationship.
Maintaining independence is such a key aspect of a healthy relationship, and having a partner who is territorial can actually offer so much more freedom that you might initially imagine.
The better your time alone, the better your time together – it’s really that easy.
6. It can build trust.
As we’ve mentioned above, there is a huge difference between jealous partners and territorial partners in a relationship.
If you are with someone territorial, you are both aware that you are committed to each other and that you’ll always come back to each other.
This doesn’t come from jealousy or insecurity, so there are less likely to be trust issues. Instead, it comes from them knowing that they love you and want to be with you.
They’re not worrying about who you’re messaging or whether or not that outfit means you’ll get hit on. Instead, they’re happy to let you live your life and they trust that you will come back to them.
This means that you can both enjoy alone time, as mentioned above, and have the freedom to do what you want within the boundaries that you’ve established together.
Knowing that your partner trusts you also makes it easier to have open conversations and feel comfortable with each other – there is nothing to hide, you don’t need to worry about tip-toeing around them, and you’re on the same page about being committed to each other.
7. It fosters stronger support.
If you know that your partner will always have your back because they can be quite territorial in the relationship, you know that you have a really strong support system in them.
Some partners don’t make it obvious enough how much they care, or how loyal they are, which can cause communication issues and a lack of emotional support.
Knowing that your partner will always be by your side can encourage you to become more emotionally vulnerable and really let your guard down.
This, in turn, can lead to deeper communication and trust, and an even stronger connection between you and your partner.
It’s not about them keeping you to themselves or being possessive, it’s about you knowing that you belong together and that they are invested in the relationship in every way.
Despite what we may think about territorial behavior, there are reasons it can be healthy in a relationship.
Relationships are all about balance and figuring out what works for you both, so it’s important to be aware of how you feel and check in from time to time.
Make sure you feel safe and valued, and like you can express how you feel. Remember that you always have options if things do start to feel unsafe, or you worry that your partner is behaving inappropriately or is starting to make you feel worried or in danger.
There are trained professionals you can safely confide in, as well as free online resources that you can consult if you are worried about your partner, their behavior, or your relationship.
Not sure whether your partner is healthy territorial or unhealthy possessive? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.
You may also like:
- 13 Things That Possessive Boyfriends And Girlfriends Do (+ How To Deal With Them)
- 5 Ways Jealousy Can Be Healthy In A Relationship (+ 3 Times It’s Not)
- 7 No Bullsh*t Ways To Stop Being Jealous In Your Relationship
- 12 Signs Of A Committed Relationship (+ 6 Things It Means For You)