Whether platonic or romantic, relationships are a fundamental part of the human experience. Humans are a sociable species, and sharing love and care is essential to our well-being and development.
While healthy relationships can increase your mental well-being, unhealthy ones can have a detrimental effect on your mental health. In this case, leaving the relationship may be the best or only way forward.
But how do you know if your relationship is healthy? Here are seven signs of a healthy relationship.
Mutual acceptance is essential to a healthy relationship. We cannot feel truly loved unless our partner accepts us for who we are. You should feel comfortable being yourself, pursuing your interests, and voicing your opinion. You should never feel like you need to change yourself for your partner.
In turn, you should offer your partner the same level of acceptance. They are free to be themselves, and you are not responsible for their actions. Maintaining mutual acceptance helps you both feel loved, cared for, and confident in who you are.
In a healthy relationship, both partners are equal. Both of your voices and opinions hold the same weight. Neither one of your lives is more important than the other. Discussions and arguments should feel balanced, with both partners listening to and considering the other side.
Equality in a relationship does not mean that everything is split fifty-fifty – there are some tasks or roles that one of you may prefer over the other. However, it does mean that you should have an equal say in allocating these duties throughout the relationship.
3. Honest Communication
Healthy relationships involve open and honest communication of your feelings, thoughts, and emotions. You should be able to voice your concerns without fear of rejection, and your partner should listen and respond.
Conflicts and arguments are a normal part of any relationship. Yet, when under pressure, communication can break down. However, it is essential to revisit these issues when you both feel calm so that your partner understands and recognizes your concerns.
4. Respecting Boundaries
Boundaries are an imaginary line between you and another person. They are the limits of what you will and will not do based on what you are uncomfortable with. Personal boundaries may relate to physical space, spending time with the other person, or what responsibilities and obligations your partner can expect from you.
Setting and respecting boundaries is a crucial part of a strong relationship. It helps you maintain your individuality, identity, and sense of self. It’s also essential for self-care, protecting the time and space you need to maintain good mental health and look after yourself.
In a healthy relationship, your partner should respect you when you say “no”, and you should never feel like you are being made to do things you don’t want to. You should both be able to communicate your boundaries openly and honestly so you can understand how to respect each other’s needs.
5. Attention and Affection
To feel loved, we need to receive both affection and attention. We need to feel like our partner has time for us and cares about what we are doing. We also need our partners to show us love and affection.
Each partner has their own life – constant attention is neither necessary nor healthy. Likewise, displaying intense affection and suddenly withdrawing is a form of emotional abuse and a warning sign of a toxic relationship. Instead, it is important to provide your partner with a healthy and balanced level of attention and affection, so they feel loved and cared for.
6. Forgiving and Accepting Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes. In a healthy relationship, your partner should acknowledge and understand that you are not perfect. They should be able to accept your apologies and forgive you without returning to the same mistake in future conflicts or arguments.
This does not mean that you should accept all mistakes – your partner may say or do something that you see as unacceptable, and you may want to leave the relationship. In particular, there is no reason you should accept any verbal, emotional, or physical abuse from anyone.
7. Working Through Problems Together
No relationship is free from issues and conflicts. What’s important is how you handle these issues most of the time. A healthy relationship involves working through problems together and coming to solutions that you both accept. These relationships can offer support, love, and care for both of you in the long term.