There’s lots of content about toxic relationships, how to identify one, and how to get out of one. But, it is just as important to identify when a relationship is going on well. While I don’t mean to identify as a trend sell-out, it’s essential to acknowledge that healthy relationships exist, and that it’s possible to be in one.
So, what healthy relationship characteristics should you look out for to define a positive partnership? This is a critical question that deserves an answer.
But, first, let’s define what healthy relationships are.
What Are Healthy Relationships?
The definition of healthy relationships may vary depending on the people involved. Therefore, there’s no one single healthy relationship definition that cuts across the board. But, there are crucial elements that you can use to weigh your partnerships, alliances, friendships, or your marriage. Let’s take a look at some of them below:
- Mutual Respect: You understand each other and have an understanding of each person’s values and boundaries.
- Honesty: Honesty in all relationships is vital because it helps to strengthen the relationship through trust-building.
- Trust: You give each other the benefit of the doubt.
- Individuality: The people involved in the relationship have their own identity that isn’t founded on the other partner. People in any relationship mustn’t push physical, emotional, or different types of boundaries. Maintaining healthy relationship boundaries is an essential aspect of all partnerships.
- Compromise: This is mostly seen in romantic relationships where partners acknowledge that they have to give as much as they take and respect each other’s perspective.
- Open communication: Partners speak openly and honestly about issues that come up and avoid future miscommunication.
- Anger control: No relationship is perfect, and there are bound to be episodes of anger. However, both partners need to ensure that they can manage their anger to express their issues effectively.
- Healthy conflict resolution: All relationships have their ups and downs. Before things get out of hand, take a break, avoid insults, and then come up with viable solutions.
- Self-confidence: When you feel confident about yourself, it reflects on your relationships. You’re confident and calm, and you allow other people to express their opinions without feeling the need to subscribe to yours.
- Healthy sexual relationships: If you’re in a dating relationship or a marriage, your partner will not feel forced or pressured to do anything that would make them feel uncomfortable sexually. Also, any sexual activity is done only with the consent of both partners.
- There’s room for growth: Relationships may get boring or stagnate because the people involved aren’t progressing. When people’s interests, goals, aspirations, fears and hopes change, it doesn’t mean that the relationship must come to an end. As long as both parties involved are flexible in their expectations, the relationship can grow too.
The Link Between Healthy Relationships And Good Health
By now, you have a clear picture of how healthy relationships should look. But, did you know that it all begins with the relationship you have with yourself? You cannot have an excellent relationship with your coworkers, neighbors, family, or intimate partner if you do not value and respect yourself first.
Once you have a great perspective of yourself, self-esteem, and personal identity, you’re bound to contribute to other relationships in a balanced way. Think of this as an overview of human rights. You first become aware of yourself, your values, and your feelings. This allows you to respect another person’s dignity, feelings, and rights.
Healthy relationships lay the foundation for a happy life. But, did you know they affect our well-being and health too? According to the American Psychological Association (APA), relationships can influence different aspects of your health. Maintaining healthy relationship expectations can help you deal better with stress, live longer, build a strong resistance to colds, and develop healthy habits.
Naturally, human beings are social creatures. The quality of the relationships we have could improve or negatively affect our physical, mental, and emotional health.
Shakti Gawain, a personal development author, sums it all up and says, “My primary relationship is with myself — all others are mirrors of it. As I learn to love myself, I automatically receive the love and appreciation that I desire from others. If I am committed to myself and to living my truth, I will attract others with equal commitment. My willingness to be intimate with my own deep feelings creates the space for intimacy with another. As I learn to love myself, I receive the love I desire from others”.
If you haven’t yet, it is time to develop a strategy to strengthen all the relationships you’re part of. Unless you’re on a deserted island or are ship-wrecked, you have different kinds of relationships with the people around you. Knowing what you know now, what would you do to ensure that you contribute to a healthy relationship?