6 Characteristics of a Healthy Relationship

Relationships… well, they’re messy. They’re hard. And they take a lot of work. Even the best ones. Even the ones where it seems like the couple has it all together.  So what is it about those relationships that make it seem so easy?

Well, something that I help a lot of my clients with is learning what a positive and healthy relationship looks like, and how to set themselves up for relationships that are less chaotic, go more smoothly, and are a lot less stressful.   Here’s my list of 6 things to look for which may help you determine whether a relationship is healthy, or whether it may be worth taking a little more of a look at.

  1. Equality: Unless the relationship is between parents and children, or supervisors and employees, most relationships, and those with intimate partners in particular, should be equal.  This means that neither person has more control than the other, and that decisions and responsibilities can be decided together.
  2. Respect: Both people listen to each other, help and support each other, and accept each person for who they are. Neither person constantly criticizes or makes fun of the other. Instead of tearing each other down, people in healthy relationships help lift each other up.
  3. Open and Assertive Communication: Feelings and conflicts are discussed openly and honestly, and without passivity or aggressiveness. People are honest, rather than deceitful, with each other.  Both people feel comfortable and safe when discussing issues at hand.
  4. Physical Safety and Comfort: Both people feel safe with each other. Differences are accepted and resolved without physical force or aggressiveness. Each person can “be themselves” with the other.
  5. Independence: Each person has their own identity outside of the relationship. One person does not “feel lost” without the other, and both people have other friendships outside of the relationship. Either person can end the relationship at any time without threat of retaliation.
  6. Humor: Each person finds the relationship enjoyable and/or fun; neither finds that they must “walk on eggshells” to avoid conflict or aggression.

There you have it – my take on six important things that any healthy relationship should have.  What do you think – is there anything you would add?  Let me know below!

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