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Do you find yourself wondering if you are in a healthy relationship? So, What is a healthy relationship?
A healthy relationship contributes to your life and helps you achieve your personal and relationship goals. In a healthy relationship you still have challenges, however, what makes a relationship healthy is your ability to face these challenges together and handle the problems in a loving way. With good communication and understanding you are able to find solutions that fulfil yours and your partner’s needs without anyone having to sacrifice.
In this article, you will learn what it means to be in a healthy relationship, what it looks like, and what it takes to create and maintain an enjoyable relationship.
What Is a Healthy Relationship?
Let’s have a look at what healthy means according to the Merriam-webster dictionary to then apply it to what it means to have a healthy relationship.
- Enjoying good health
Free from disease
Not displaying clinical signs of disease or infection
- Beneficial to one’s physical, mental, or emotional state : conducive to or associated with good health or reduced risk of disease
- Showing physical, mental, or emotional well-being : evincing good health
- PROSPEROUS, FLOURISHING
Not small or feeble : CONSIDERABLE
A healthy sum of money
A healthy romantic relationship involves emotional and physical intimacy. To maintain a healthy relationship you need to have specific goals, a plan and a timeline. If you are serious about your relationship, you should spend enough time together and have a plan for where your relationship is going.
Trust, communication and understanding are the key elements to keep your relationship healthy and avoid unnecessary arguments and fights.
A healthy relationship doesn’t mean that you don’t have doubts, disagreements or misunderstandings. It means that you are able to express yourself clearly and be willing to hear your partner’s point of view. And in doing so, you can resolve your issues.
Signs of a Healthy Relationship
- You trust each other.
- You can openly express your thoughts, feelings, doubts and concerns without the fear of being judged.
- You are willing to hear each other out.
- You talk to your partner enough to share interesting things but not so much that your conversations become boring.
- You spend quality time together and maintain physical closeness.
- You can maintain emotional intimacy through trust and effective communication.
- You can handle disagreements and resolve conflicts without unnecessary arguments, fights or silent treatments.
- You maintain a balance between your relationship and pursuing your dreams, goals and ambitions.
- You have a goal set for your relationship, a plan and a timeline.
- You have respect for each other’s privacy and space. You don’t have to be with your partner 24/7.
- Your partner encourages you to spend time with friends without them, and to participate in activities that you enjoy.
- You feel comfortable expressing your opinions and concerns to your partner.
- Your feel physically safe and your partner doesn’t force you to have sex or to do things that make you feel uncomfortable.
- Your partner respects your wishes and feelings and you can compromise and negotiate when there are disagreements or conflicts.
Having a Healthy Relationship
The foundation of a healthy relationship includes:
Boundaries: You and your partner are able to find ways to meet each other’s’ needs in ways that you both feel comfortable with.
Communication: you and your partner can share your feelings, even when you don’t agree, in a way that makes the other person feel safe, heard, and not judged.
Trust: building trust can take time and allows couples to be vulnerable with one another knowing that they can rely on the other person.
Consent: this is most commonly use when you’re being sexually active. Giving consent means that you are okay with what is happening, and that no one is forcing you or guilting you into doing anything that you don’t want to do. Consent can be given and taken back at any time, and giving consent once does not mean you automatically give consent in the future.
Having a healthy relationship can be challenging but not impossible. Effective communication is the key to a healthy relationship. Through effective communication, you can:
- Reach understanding
- Maintain trust
- Work on your relationship
- Manage your personal space
A healthy relationship needs a delicate balance of personal space and connection with your partner. You and your partner are individuals, and personal development should be on your list of things to do in your relationship. Personal development requires time and space.
Through effective communication, you work on your relationship and manage your personal space. A healthy relationship needs trust and understanding.
To maintain your emotional connection, you need to have effective communication. This allows you to express your thoughts and feelings and hear your partner’s point of view.
Many couples fall into the trap of talking too much. Excessive communication doesn’t leave room for personal space, leads to boring conversations and takes the time you would spend doing something fun with your family, friends or by yourself.
In a healthy relationship you are able to maintain the emotional connection with your partner through effective communication while having your personal space to live your life and do things that are important for you.
Having an Unhealthy Relationship
In a relationship you should expect to have misunderstandings. However, when this happens regularly, the whole relationship becomes toxic, and it just isn’t healthy for anyone.
You know your relationship is unhealthy when it becomes a struggle that brings you more sorrow than happiness. Some couples try to stay together even when their relationship doesn’t work.
If you answer YES to these questions you are quite likely in an unhealthy relationship:
- Do you feel miserable and disappointed in your relationship?
- Do you have different values and beliefs than your partner?
- Do you feel constrained and don’t have enough personal space for your passions and interests?
- Do you feel confused most of the time during your conversations?
- Do you and your partner have different life ambitions?
- Do you feel stuck in a relationship that is going nowhere?
- Do you feel bored in your relationship?
Trying to survive your relationship can be a sign of commitment. But is it worth committing to an unhealthy relationship that’s toxic to your personal life?
Here are few signs of a toxic relationship:
- Lack of communication
- Feeling sad and frustrated more often than happy and fulfilled
- Feeling jealous and insecure for no reason
- Wanting to be with other people but feeling forced to stay in this relationship
- Compromising your personal life and spending this time with your partner because of guilt
- Sacrificing what is important for you to make this relationship work
- Using manipulation and control to get your partner do what you want
If your relationship doesn’t work and you are choosing to keep it going, ask yourself: What is keeping you in a relationship that is toxic and unhealthy?
When you notice signs of a toxic and unhealthy relationship, it’s time to reassess. If this happens, you have two options: try to fix your relationship or let it go.
How to Have a Healthy Relationship
To have a healthy relationship, you need:
- To have your personal space and give some to your partner
- Continue your self-development
- Develop effective communication
- Talk enough, don’t talk too much
- Talk about interesting and meaningful things and avoid boring conversations
- Express your thoughts and hear your partner
- Maintain emotional connection
- Have fun together as a couple and make the most out of your time apart.
- See each other frequently
- Go on trips and holidays together
- Maintain physical intimacy
- Compliment each other’s sex drives
- Keep your sex life exciting
The difference between a healthy relationship and a toxic one depends on:
- Your ability to express yourself
- Hear your partner’s point of view
- Maintain an emotional connection with your partner
- Handle disagreements the right way.
- Disagreements are inevitable because every person has their preferences.
You can never expect that two people in a relationship will have the same preferences all the time; it just doesn’t happen. The difference between having a fight and resolving a disagreement depends on your ability to handle conflicts.
You can fix most problems when you and your partner are willing to hear each other’s point of view and work out your issues together.
Hopefully, this article gave you an insight into what a healthy relationship should be like. All relationships have problems, but in a healthy relationship, partners know how to handle them.
Maintaining a healthy relationship relies on keeping a balance between emotional and physical connection while sharing your space when living together.
A healthy relationship should contribute to your overall state of health. For example, overeating could be a sign of emotional distress, and it could be linked to your relationship.
To maintain an emotional connection with your partner, you need to have effective communication. It means talking about interesting and meaningful things while avoiding excessive communication (i.e. talking too much about nothing).
If you don’t talk enough, you will loose emotional connection, your feelings will fade, and you will drift apart. If you talk too much, your conversations can become tedious, having the risk of your partner not listening to what you say.
If your conversations become regularly dull, you may lose interest in your relationship.
Encountering problems along the way will test your relationship. If you can work out your issues, your relationship will be stronger, but if not, your relationship may break up.
Your ability to express yourselves freely and openly and hear each other out will help you stay emotionally connected. Good communication will help you solve the challenges you face through out your relationship. Without these, you are likely to have arguments and over time your relationship can become unhealthy and even toxic.
If you find yourself in an unhealthy relationship, you need to talk to your partner to find a way to fix your relationship or let it go.
Help and Advice to Have a Healthy Relationship
- Never stop getting to know each other better
- Don’t suppress your feelings and don’t ignore your needs
- When resolving problems aim for a win-win where yours and your partner’s needs are equally important
- Take turns speaking
- When discussing specific issues in your relationship, takes turns to speak. Ensure one partner speaks, and the other one listen and takes notes, then the person listening repeat what they heard
- Create the time and space to discuss sensitive topics
- Reflect on your emotional and physical intimacy every now and then. It will show you whether you are still close or if you are drifting apart
If you don’t know how to have a healthy relationship and need professional help and advice, we’ll be happy to help! Check out our coaching options here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the point of having a relationship?
A healthy relationship contributes to your life and helps you fulfil the needs that require another person. Such needs include connection, understanding, and sharing.
Can you be in a relationship without labels?
You can have a healthy relationship without giving it a label as long as both of you understand each other and are clear about the expectations each of you have.
Why do I feel like I’m not good enough for a relationship?
The idea of not being good enough come from personal insecurities. It is worth taking the time to get to know yourself better, understand your insecurities and work through them one by one. The more you understand yourself, the more chances you will have for creating a healthy relationship.
Is having a relationship in high school worth it?
It is good to have a relationship in high school, but keep in mind it is not likely to last a lifetime. At this time in your life, you and your partner are still quite young and have a full life ahead of you. You will have to consider your goals and ambitions and whether you both have the same relationship goals to consider a relationship for the long run.
Is having a relationship worth it?
A healthy relationship contributes to your life in many different ways. The tricky part is to create a relationship for the right reasons, manage your personal baggage and build understanding, trust and intimacy to develop a more meaningful connection.
What are some warning signs of an unhealthy relationship?
Lack of interest
Lack of intimacy
Lack of trust
Is it normal to have second thoughts about a relationship?
It’s ok to question whether your relationship is healthy and how it contributes to your life. What is unhealthy is having constant doubts about your relationship without taking the time to address them.