Two individuals holding hands.

What Does a Healthy Relationship Look Like?

An individual will have a lot of different relationships in their lives, from friends, family, partner to work colleagues. All your relationships will look very differently. While there is no such thing as a perfect relationship, there are healthy relationships. But even healthy relationships do not look the same for everyone since every person has their own needs when it comes to communication, affection, values, and personality. The following are some things that a healthy relationship usually includes:

Clear Communication

Typically healthy relationships include talking about fears, successes, failures, joys, and everything in between. You should be both be comfortable talking about anything, and not just the positives or negatives in your life. When the other person is talking, you can actively listen, which means listening without judgement. Often clear communication means frequent emotional check-ins and communication.

A Sense Of Yourself Outside the Relationship

While relationships are about mutual support, you should still be able to maintain your own identity. You should rely on the person to fit all your needs, and you should have friends, connections, and hobbies outside the relationship. If you have a partner, it is healthy to go on a date with yourself, treat yourself to your loves and interests on your own.

Kindness

There should be signs of gratitude and appreciation in the relationship. Learn each others “love language” to know what kind of love appreciation you want and give as well as what your partner/friend/family member wants and gives. Kindness also includes empathy, where you are willing to take on another person’s perspective.

Trust

You should be able to feel safe and comfortable with the person. You know that they will be honest to you or keep secrets from you, and visa versa. You know that they have your best interests in their mind, and also respect you to make your own choices.

Respect

You act as teammates rather than competitors when it comes to decisions. When there are disagreements, you talk to each other in ways that do not invalidate or belittle the other person. You should not be using each other as a butt of jokes or as the hired help who is always cleaning and cooking for the other person.

Curiosity

There is interest in both sides of the relationship on getting to know the person and their thoughts, goals, interests, and daily life. You watch them and assist them grow into their best self, which is a realistic version, not the idealized version. Curiosity also means you are willing to see and talk about parts of the relationship that are not working.

Healthy Conflict Resolution

All relationships can get into arguments, it is more a matter of how that argument is handled. Relationships that express their emotions and work to resolve them as they come up have been shown to have longer lasting relationships than those who hide their upset with one another. When you argue, you do not disrespect or stonewall (when one person absolutely refuses to see the other person’s point of view, or emotional disengages from the conversation) the other person.

Questions to Ask Yourself About the Relationship

  • Does this relationship encourage me to grow?
  • Do we share goals for the present and future?
  • Do you have time to be with yourself in the relationship?
  • Do you accept the other person for who they truly are?
  • Do you give and take from each other fairly equally?
  • Is your life better with them in it?
  • Does your time together have meaning to both of you?

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