What is a Healthy Relationship?
First Step: A healthy relationship can mean different things to various people. Caring and loving yourself is the first step in building healthy relationships. When you can recognize the good things about being you, then it is easier to share this love with someone else. When a person feels good inside, he/she/they can accept, respect, encourage, trust, and reward themselves. The following points below are signs and ways to develop healthy relationships:
- The most important part of any healthy relationship is being able to communicate with each other. You can:
- Decide things together, as a team
- Compromise - make sure your needs are not overlooked or what you are saying is not being taken into account
- Have difficult opinions and interests
- Listen to each other’s viewpoints and feelings
- Listening carefully and sharing your thoughts and feelings with another person shows them that they are an important part of your life. It is also important that this behavior is also reciprocated by your partner.
Trust & Respect
Honesty & Support
- Respect and trust are two very important characteristics of a healthy relationship. Think about your relationships. Do you do the following?
- Work through disagreement
- Value each other for who you are
- Both agree that it is okay to spend time away from each other with your friends or family - you don’t always have to be together
- Respect each other’s need for privacy
- Don’t control each other; there shouldn’t be any fear in your relationship
- These are all important qualities of a healthy relationship.
- Be honest with each other from the beginning and be responsible for your feelings.
- Tell the truth even when it’s difficult to do so
- Being honest is one way to show respect for yourself and your partner
- Express yourselves to one another without fear of consequences such as violence, abuse, or mockery
- Do not expect the other person to solve all of your problems, but create a loving and healthy environment in which you both support one another through difficult times.
- "Creating boundaries is a good way to keep your relationship healthy and secure. By setting healthy boundaries together, you can both have a deeper understanding of the type of relationship that you and your partner want. Boundaries are not meant to make you feel trapped or like you’re “walking on eggshells.” Creating boundaries is not a sign of secrecy or distrust — it’s an expression of what makes you feel comfortable and what you would like or not like to happen within the relationship." - LoveisRespect.org
- Remember, healthy boundaries shouldn’t restrict your ability to:
- Go out with your friends without your partner
- Participate in activities and hobbies you like
- Not have to share passwords to your email, social media accounts or phone
- Respect each other’s individual likes and needs
Relationships that are unhealthy are based off of power and control rather than respect, trust, and equality. It is hard to recognize that you may be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship in the early stages because you may translate another person's controlling and manipulative behavior into love. Here are some signs of unhealthy relationships:
what is an unhealthy relationship?
- Unhealthy relationships will exhibit characteristics of distress more often and frequently compared to healthy relationships
- Put one person before the other by neglecting yourself or your partner
- Feel pressure to change who you are for the other person
- Feel worried or fear to communicate your feelings when you disagree with the other person
- Feel pressure to quit activities you usually/used to enjoy, or are forced to do so
- Notice one partner feels obligated to have sex or has been forced, or your partner refuses to use safer sex methods
- Experience yelling or physical violence during an argument
- Attempt to control or manipulate each other, make the other person agree with you
- Notice your partner attempts to controls how you dress and criticizes your behaviors
- Do not make time to spend with one another, or have a lack of respect for each others’ friends and family
- Notice an unequal control of resources (e.g., food, money, home, car, etc.)
If you are still unsure whether you’re in a healthy relationship, take our Healthy Relationships Quiz below