Seven Signs of a Healthy Romantic Relationship
Maybe you’ve just started dating someone, or maybe you’ve been in a relationship for over a decade. Irrespective of where one is in their relationship, this question has crossed everyone’s mind at some point: Am I in a healthy relationship? And no, just asking this question does not mean that you are in a bad relationship. It is, in fact, a good sign; it shows that you care about your’s and your partner’s wellbeing.
Seven Signs of a Healthy Relationship
- You show mutual respect and acceptance:
In the context of romantic relationships, respect means that everyone deserves to feel safe and make their own life choices. In simple words, this means that any one partner does not have authority over the other. It also means that even though you might disagree with your partner, you put your faith in their judgment.
This means that you’d be able to openly talk about things on which you might disagree with your partner but still value each other’s feelings and need. When there is mutual respect in a relationship, you both feel heard, and your partner encourages you to pursue your hobbies and interests. You feel that you can be yourself with your partner and that your partner doesn’t attempt to control or change you.
- You can talk about anything with your partner:
Healthy relationships demonstrate a lot of communication about anything and everything, from something as simple as meal plans to more serious things like mental health issues or financial problems. Communication is a two-way process. It’s important for you to be able to voice your concerns, knowing that your partner will hear them out and then put forth their perspective.
Conflicts arise in every relationship. If you’re able to address these problems and respectfully come to an agreement, then you’re practising good communication. However, if you feel unheard in a conversation or if your disagreements don’t go anywhere after having had the same argument over and over again, it could mean that you’re not communicating in an effective way.
- You trust each other:
Trust can mean many things in a relationship. It means that you’re honest to your partner and can expect the same from them. It means that you feel safe that your partner would not pursue other people when they’re with you. It also means feeling comfortable with them, knowing that they would not hurt you physically or mentally.
Trust can be demonstrated in relationships through simple actions like respecting your partner’s space. Not constantly calling or messaging or keeping a tab on where they are going and who they are meeting. Even if you do feel like they might be hiding something, openly talk to them about it.
- You respect each other’s space:
Relationships work better when you know yourself and understand your own needs and values. Setting boundaries and effectively communicating them is essential in every relationship. Not setting these boundaries can lead to emotional manipulation while it might not be intended.
A simple example is saying no. It might seem easier to put your partner’s needs above your own than to say no out of fear of upsetting them. However, in case it is something that goes against your values or forces you to sacrifice something that’s important to you, it’s okay to say no. But it is also important to do so assertively, not aggressively.
In a healthy relationship, you are interdependent, but you still maintain your individual identities. You share love, respect and acceptance, but you’re whole self-image or self-esteem does not depend on them. This means that you have other friends and connections who your partner also encourages you to spend time with. You are also comfortable spending some time apart from each other.
- The relationship feels equal:
A healthy relationship involves teamwork. You put equal effort into the relationship and support your partner through the ups and downs of life. You put in the effort to know and understand your partner. You can trust that your partner will be there for you when you need them. And that they would know how to do that, whether you need to be comforted or need some space.
This also means that you both compromise equally in the relationship. Compromise means finding the middle ground when you disagree about something. This could be something as simple as splitting up house chores. Or you can spend time taking an interest in each other’s hobbies. The relationship does not feel unequal, as in you don’t feel like you’re the only one putting in the effort to initiate conversations or activities to do together.
6. You enjoy spending time together
Physical intimacy may not necessarily mean sex. Relationships can also work without sex. When you’re on the same page and both getting your needs met, that’s a healthy sign. It’s important to be comfortable enough to talk openly about your desires and also be able to discuss what you’re not okay with. It can also mean that you feel physically safe with your partner.
Intimacy can also be expressed in non-sexual or non-physical ways. By just spending quality time with your partner and feeling happy and comfortable in their presence. Having a general curiosity about each other, wanting to talk and know more things about your partner. You can be playful or keep things lighthearted in your relationship.
7. You are not in the relationship out of fear
This might sound odd, but it is a rather important aspect of a healthy relationship. If things don’t work out and one of the partners wants to end things, they should be able to do so without their partner blackmailing them or stalking them. It is the ability to be able to communicate and respect each other in the worst of times.
How to build a healthy relationship
- Number one, get to know yourself first!
- Relationships require constant effort, so keep putting in work in your relationship.
- Set your boundaries.
- Respect your partner’s boundaries.
- Talk, talk and talk. Communicate about anything and everything.
- Respect your partner, and don’t try to change or control them.
If you do find some unhealthy signs in your relationship, do not panic. You’ve successfully finished the first step by identifying the unhealthy signs. First of all, make sure you are safe. Don’t wait for your partner to change, they can only change if they want to. If you feel that your partner is also invested in making that change, then you might be able to work this out. However, there are some prerequisites for that.
Firstly, your partner should be able to accept and acknowledge the problem and be willing to take responsibility for their part of it. Secondly, they are willing to spend time and effort trying to fix or change things on their part. Lastly, if your partner is open to taking outside help. Talk to someone you trust, or reach out for support from a professional. You can browse our list of treatment centres here that provide counselling.
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Healthy Relationships – The Hotline. (2022, January 7). The Hotline. https://www.thehotline.org/resources/healthy-relationships/
What Does a Healthy Relationship Look Like? (n.d.). The State of New York. https://www.ny.gov/teen-dating-violence-awareness-and-prevention/what-does-healthy-relationship-look