What is a Healthy Relationship? 8 Signs Of A Strong, Healthy Relationship
By: Carlos Cavallo
To keep your relationship healthy, you first have to know what a healthy relationship is.
Because you need to know when something is not right with your man and your connection. You have to be able to see the problems before they sabotage your relationship.
Are you in a healthy relationship?
In order to know that, we first have to ask -
What are the parts of a healthy relationship?
A healthy relationship is when two people create a connection based on:
Respect for each other
Rock solid communication
Trust & Honesty
Separate identities that come together
Playful & fun shared experiences
Now, these are very important - and we'll explore these in a moment -
But - do you think you'd know if you were in an unhealthy relationship? It's easy to ignore certain warning signs and even get caught up in unhealthy dynamics in a relationship.
Signs of an UN-healthy relationship
Just as important as knowing what a healthy relationship is, you also need to know what is unhealthy.
Let's go through a few of those right now:
Absolutely - Get Outta There Sign #1: Abuse - of any kind...
Now, this can be tricky because we have to define what 'abuse' actually is.
The dictionary definition:
ABUSE - to misuse. The improper use of something.
Use something for a bad effect or bad purpose.
So ultimately it comes down to you being able to figure this out for yourself.
Abuse is always about the misuse of your relationship connection.
If he ever hits you, it's abuse. No matter what.
If he uses words to hurt you in a mean or hateful way, then that's also abuse.
Really, the bottom line is, if you're wondering if it is abuse - it probably is.
And you should probably check with somebody who you know has experience with that sort of thing. Someone you can confide in. And then ask them what they think.
But always trust yourself first. If you suspect you're in an abusive relationship - Get out.
Sign #2: He's controlling in some way…
If your partner tries to tell you what to wear, who to hang out with, or how to live your life, in a way that is commanding or dominating, you need to consider this is him being controlling.
I could probably cover every one of these signs, but let's just skip to the chase and let me give you a quick batch of unhealthy signs to look out for -
Here are some signs to help you recognize a toxic and unhealthy relationship:
All take, no give. ... A relationship requires generosity
Feeling drained. ... if you're constantly losing energy in the relationship, where is it all going?
Lack of trust... (i.e., dishonest) You have to have truth between you to succeed
Hostile atmosphere. ... when all you have is anger, the love can't thrive
An imbalanced and unfair relationship... there needs to be justice and equity within your relationship
Constant judgment of you ... judging is just another way to keep the distance
Reliably unreliable... when a person can't be counted on, it undermines your trust
Brings out the worst in you... Obviously you need someone who can bring out the best not the worst
Constantly criticizing... when a person tears you down all the time, it erodes your self-worth
Growth and learning are not there... A relationship should be a place for growth
Brings your standards down... if it's a good relationship, your standards should be naturally increasing not decreasing
One or both of you behaves as a victim... victimhood is a way of life for some - don't get drawn into this downward spiral
Lots of jealousy and envy... you can't love someone that you feel envious of all the time
You're there because you can't seem to leave... are you in this relationship because you can't find a way out?
Constant daily challenges... Occasional challenges are natural in a relationship - But constant challenges mean there's a problem
Addictions... a person with addictions can be too much to deal with in a relationship
Psychological issues requiring help or therapy... deep mental problems must be handled professionally
Constant drama... when all you have is a roller coaster of emotions to ride, you're going to want to get off
It's really up to you to decide how much is too much.
But be aware if you are rationalizing your relationship or are you enjoying it. That's one of the best ways to figure out if you're in a healthy relationship.
Okay enough of the negativity. Let's get into what is a healthy relationship - the good signs to look for.
Here are the signs that you're in a healthy relationship. Remember to think of these as a general map. Your relationship may vary in some small ways, but these elements should be there.
Sign #1: You've got a smile on your face...
One of the biggest signs of a healthy relationship is simply how much happiness that you feel on a daily basis versus the amount of anxiety.
If you feel buoyant, light, and happy, there's a good chance you have a healthy relationship.
One of the key indicators is how much stress you feel like you're carrying each day. Anxiety is the opposite of happiness in a lot of ways because it pulls us towards fear and anger.
Sometimes our relationships can give us stress, but most of the time they serve to help us vent that same stress. The more stress free you are, the healthier your relationship is.
So if you feel overall pretty happy in your relationship, generally speaking you probably have a healthy relationship.
But if you ever notice that there's mental resistance or a reluctance to be with your man for any reason, that could be showing you there's a problem that needs to be looked at.
Sign #2: No matter what happens, you can talk about it…
This is probably one of most significant signs you have a healthy relationship. When it comes to communication, there is no substitute.
You have to foster a relationship where he feels like he can come to you and talk to you about anything.
What gets in the way of that unfortunately is when a woman is less than accepting, possibly rejecting him, and sometimes outright shaming him. A lot of men struggle in relationships because they do not feel accepted by their partner.
And this is one of the easiest things for you to prevent.
You have to be willing to talk with him about anything. If there are subjects that you won't go near, then you are risking the relationship harboring and hiding those secrets.
What I like to tell my clients is "no taboos". which simply means you can't have anything you won't talk about. Even the most embarrassing and darkest things.
Because if you allow there to be a place to hide these things, you'll find that you're going to start storing things there all the time. It's like an endless self storage unit that holds all of your uncomfortable topics and ideas.
And what's lethal is when you realize you can put anything in this secret space and never have to feel uncomfortable in your relationship - or confront the things that need to be talked about.
The healthiest relationships have an open-door policy when it comes to talking about things. And they have a protocol for handling uncomfortable topics so that both people feel safe talking about them.
As soon as you condition your partner to not come to you with these things, they will find someone else to go to them with.
Someone who will listen, and probably wind up in a relationship with your partner.
Uncomfortable, but very true.
Sign #3: Your relationship is built on the "H rock…"
When I talk about the "H rock," what I'm talking about is honesty.
Honesty is the bedrock of your relationship. And without it, it's only a matter of time before your relationship disintegrates.
When a relationship does have honesty, truth is the only outcome.
You must be in place to handle the truth though. Again this requires open communication. And of course open communication requires safety.
Make sure your relationship feels safe for both of you. Without it, your relationship doesn't stand a chance.
Sign #4: A "couple" isn't One …
The best relationships understand that you can't be two people trying to create one person. Trying to be too close creates poor boundaries.
And eventually it will push you apart as one person feels smothered and can't handle it anymore.
On the other hand, if you understand that you are two separate people, you can then start to come together as one.
Separation can be as simple as having time alone, in private. Or just time to yourself with other people.
Another form of separation you have to have is emotional separation. If your partner's emotions depend on your emotions, then you may have a problem. They used to call this codependency.
For example, if your partner cannot be happy while you are unhappy, they may be too emotionally tied to you.
While we may feel sympathy and empathy for another person's emotional state, we should not feel that our own emotions have to match our partners.
Sign #5: You feel fully supported and an individual…
One of the hallmarks of a bad relationship is when one person feels pressure to change to accommodate the other person. Of course if you're trying to be someone you're not, this will only end up creating a miserable relationship.
On the other hand if you feel your partner supports your growth and development as a separate person, then you will feel comfortable and worry free in your relationship.
You have to watch out for when a partner decides that they are insecure with you growing. This is a very big warning sign of a dysfunctional relationship.
That's where this always comes from. Insecurity.
When someone feels threatened in the relationship because you might grow past them or beyond them, they will do whatever they can to keep things the way they were.
You might even see this kind of behavior in larger groups, and even in cultures and countries.
Sign #6: Plenty of connection time…
Again I have to contrast this with the opposite. In an unhealthy relationship, one partner tends to feel neglected. This is typically because that person isn't really engaged in the relationship. They are not feeling the same emotional connection.
You should have lots of time together to connect, as well as time apart to recharge. If I were going to give a percentage, I would have to say you could spend up to 75% of your time together and 25% apart.
But there are no hard and fast rules for this. Some weeks you may swing towards 90% together and 10% apart. Other times, you may find yourself spending more time apart as circumstances dictate.
However, if you feel like you're not getting enough time with him you need to speak up and let him know.
As long as your needs are not unhealthy, then you should expect at least a significant portion of time together if you have a committed relationship. And especially if you're married or in a long-term relationship.
Some women are too quiet when it comes to voicing their needs to their partner. Sometimes this is out of fear of his reaction, sometimes they're just afraid they will seem too needy.
You can't hide neediness because it will come through in your moods, your words, and your attitude.
You simply can't help but broadcast how you feel to people. And it's even worse when someone tries to cover up their feelings of sadness or being deprived.
Sign #7: Meeting in the middle…
Compromise is an essential part of a healthy mature relationship.
If you find that your partner demands their needs be met at the expense of yours, you have an imbalance that is unhealthy.
Compromise is often thought of as giving something up to make the other person happy. But at the same time if compromise is going to work, you can't give up making yourself happy too.
Some would also describe compromise as "meeting in the middle." Which again is a decent definition, if you find a middle that isn't too close to the other person.
I like to say: “Compromise is a sign that your relationship is more important than your ego."
Which means that you have to recognize the reason for compromise more than actually getting to the compromise sometimes.
What I mean by that is that you both have to have an attitude of wanting to work it out. That's the critical part. Eventually everyone finds a good middle ground.
Sometimes that just takes time. For example, a man might just completely give in to whatever you're wanting - if he's just allowed enough time to think about it. For a man, making you happy makes him happy.
And sometimes we dig in and don't want to give up ground just to be stubborn. Which of course is something that we all need to work on in relationships.
Sign #8: Emotions are manageable…
Being able to handle your emotions in a relationship is important. It's a sign of maturity and self-control.
If you are feeling excited, angry, threatened, jealous, you-name-it - you have to be able to manage those feelings.
The interesting thing is that when you're in an unhealthy relationship, those feelings can sometimes spiral wildly out of control. And they often do. There's just something about a toxic relationship that brings out the worst in us.
On the other hand, a healthy relationship somehow steadies us.
Our emotions are more manageable and more easily contained.
You're much more likely to be able to stay rational and levelheaded even in the face of any arguments. This is mostly because you understand that your emotional connection is safe.
When your connection to a man is threatened, that will immediately trigger feelings of anxiousness and panic. And if you ever experienced these feelings before, you know how quickly they can get the better of you.
And the truth is you don't ever have to panic when you're in a relationship that's built on solid connection.
Unfortunately, most women don't really understand how to connect with men. They assume that if they know how to connect with women, it's pretty much the same.
Some things are the same - and a lot of things aren't.
When you know how to connect with him, you can create powerful bond.
And when a man feels this he's devoted to you!
I have a short article that you might want to read to explain how connection works with men.
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