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How to Tell if You Are in A Healthy Relationship

Relationships are a vital part of a healthy life. Studies have consistently shown that social relationships contribute immensely to a person’s physical and mental health. Having a healthy relationship is key to better health outcomes. People who enjoy healthy relationships are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors and have a low mortality risk.

This article discusses what makes a healthy relationship and how you can identify the signs of potential relationship problems. It also explores steps that can be taken to improve your relationship:

Essential Questions You Should Ask Yourself

You should have it in your mind that there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. Every relationship has its ups and downs and healthy and unhealthy characteristics. What unites a couple positively is that each person understands that every relationship takes work, and each person must strive to strengthen the connection and tackle whatever problems come up.

People spend most of their time discussing and analyzing bad relationships and identifying red flags, but there’s a minimal discussion about what constitutes a healthy relationship. It would help if you considered the following:

  • Do you trust each other?
  • Is there mutual respect?
  • Are you open and honest with each other?
  • Can you maintain your respective identities?
  • Do you discuss your hopes, feelings, dreams, and fears?
  • Do you feel and express affection and fondness?
  • Is there fairness and equality in your relationship?

You see, we all have different needs. For instance, some people may desire affection and openness more than others. But, in a healthy relationship, everyone can get their needs met.

Signs You Are in a Healthy Relationship

Yes, no two relationships are the same. However, some key characteristics can help a person differentiate a healthy bond from a chaotic relationship.

1. Trust

Trust is essential in any relationship. Studies have shown that your ability to trust other people is influenced by your attachment style.

Early relationships help to shape what you expect of your future relationships.

If you’ve had stable, secure, and trusting relationships, you will trust your future partners. However, if you’ve struggled through undependable and unstable relationships in the past, you may have to battle some trust issues in your future relationships.

How well partners trust each other depends on how they treat each other. If your partner is dependable, treats you well, and is there for you when you need them, there’s a higher chance of developing solid trust.

Building trust requires a great deal of mutual self-disclosure by opening up yourselves to each other. As time passes, you’ll encounter opportunities that will help test and evaluate your trust in each other. And as the confidence grows, your relationship will become more comforting and secure. If you always have to hide things from your partner, it may be because you don’t trust each other.

2. Honesty and Openness

One important thing in a healthy relationship is your ability to be yourself. Yes, couples have varying levels of self-disclosure and openness, but then, you should never feel like you have to hide some things about yourself or change who you are. Instead, being honest and open with each other helps you feel more connected as a couple and builds trust.

You may hold back and exercise caution about what you want to reveal about yourself at the start of a relationship. But, over time, as you get more intimate with each other, partners will reveal more of themselves to each other, including their beliefs, thoughts, opinions, memories, and interests.

We’re not saying that you should share every bit of yourself with your partner. Every individual needs their space and privacy. The most important thing is whether your partner feels comfortable sharing their fears, hopes, and feelings with you. It is important to note that healthy couples do not have to be together every moment or share everything.

There may be differences in opinion over the level of honesty that should exist in a relationship. However, studies have shown that when a person is unhappy with their partner’s level of openness, they’ll discuss the problem with their partner. This is an excellent way to address a problem openly to help solidify a relationship.

While your partner’s needs may differ from yours, it is essential to find common ways to compromise while not crossing your boundaries. By boundaries, I do not mean secrecy. Instead, you respect the other person’s needs and expectations.

A partner with unhealthy expectations of honesty and openness might want to monitor your every movement, where you are, what you are doing at a particular time, request access to your social media accounts, and even restrict the people you spend time with.

3. Lightheartedness

Every healthy relationship should make time for fun and spontaneity (when everyone is in the right mood). If you can laugh and joke together, that’s a sign of a healthy relationship.

Sometimes either of you may be affected by the distress or challenges of life. This can temporarily change your relationship’s tone and make it difficult to relate with each other as you usually do.

However, sharing fun and lighter moments can help ease the tension and solidify your relationship in tough times.

4. Physical Intimacy

Most people think about sex whenever the word intimacy is mentioned. However, it is not always that intimacy refers to sex. Not everyone wants sex or enjoys it. And there could be a sexual disorder that you are reluctant to share. Research shows that 35% of men hide their sexual disorders from their sex partners. If you are hiding something from your partner, you aren’t in a healthy relationship.

The thing is you can still have a healthy relationship without sex – as long as you and your partner are on the same page about meeting each other’s needs.

If neither of you is interested in sex, you can enjoy other forms of physical intimacy such as hugging, kissing, sleeping together, and cuddling. However, physical connection and bonding are necessary for whatever form of physical intimacy exists between you and your partner.

If you’re both big fans of sex, your physical relationship will blossom when you:

  • Can handle rejection positively
  • Can you discuss your desires
  • Are you comfortable initiating sex or discussing it
  • Feel safe expressing how interested or disinterested you are in sex.

Healthy intimacy also involves respecting your partner’s sexual boundaries. This includes:

  • Not forcing your partner into sex when they don’t want to have it
  • Discussing the risks associated with specific sexual acts
  • Sharing information about other partners that you may have.
5. Teamwork

A healthy relationship is more of teamwork. You support each other and work together, even when you don’t agree on something or have very different goals.

Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship

Some relationships can change. You see, relationships don’t stay perfect all the time. During stressful periods, either partner may display unhealthy behaviors that cause problems. A relationship is unhealthy when the negative outweighs the positive or when some behaviors are harmful to either or both individuals.

The following are signs of an unhealthy relationship:

  • Avoiding one another
  • Trying to control your behaviors
  • Being pressured to quit or discard things that you’re fond of
  • Being pressured to change your personality
  • Criticizing the things you do, the people you spend time with, your clothes, etc.
  • Feeling that you’re under obligation to spend time with each other.
  • Poor communication
  • There is little or no privacy or being under pressure to share every detail of your life with your partner.
  • Putting your partner’s needs above yours

Final Thoughts

Even if you have a seemingly “perfect” relationship, you can sometimes try to step back and find a way to improve what you share.

In healthy relationships, each partner can recognize problems that might threaten the success of the relationship. Therefore, your willingness to analyze your relationship and work together will help build a healthier relationship.

Author Bio

Edwin Madison is a business lecturer and the founder of No More PE which is a blog dedicated to men’s health blog. I’m a dad, music-lover, traveler, and someone who is all set to break social taboos.