Our relationships define many pieces of our lives. Everyone has different ideas for what they want in a relationship, but all healthy relationships have a few things in common. If you’re worried about whether your relationship is healthy for you and your partner, keep reading to learn more.
One of the defining characteristics of a healthy relationship is healthy communication. Partners need to be able to talk with each other and express their needs, wants, and expectations. Healthy communication includes:
- Speaking Up For Yourself – If you want or need something, you shouldn’t be afraid to say it.
- Respect for Each Other – Both partners in a relationship should respect each others’ opinions and feelings.
- The Ability to Compromise – Conflict is natural in any relationship, but healthy relationships will be able to reach compromises that work for both parties.
- Support for Each Other – Partners should support, reassure, and encourage each other, and they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help.
Though boundaries are often brought up in a negative context, healthy relationships actually thrive on strong boundaries. If you set boundaries with your partner, you both gain a deeper understanding of what the other person wants from the relationship. Boundaries shouldn’t make you feel trapped – rather, they’re an expression of what you are and aren’t comfortable with and what you expect from your partner. The ability to respect your partner’s boundaries is an important part of any healthy relationship.
Remember, your relationship boundaries should still allow you to:
- Go out with your friends without your partner.
- Participate in activities and hobbies you like.
- Not have to share passwords to your email, social media accounts or phone.
- Respect each other’s individual likes and needs.
Activities and Habits
It’s natural for a relationship to change and shift over time. However, sometimes relationship shifts can make you feel disconnected or distant from your partner. It’s important to develop activities, habits, and other ways to spend time together to keep your connection strong.
For instance, you can look for:
- Shared hobbies or interests that you can do together.
- Simple activities like walking, hiking, or going out together – anything that gives you time and space to talk comfortably and build up your connection.
- Ways to make time for each other, such as taking a vacation day from work or getting a babysitter to go on a date.
Additionally, don’t forget to also spend time on and with yourself. Your relationship isn’t just about you and your partner. You should be able to spend time on your own activities and with your own friends or family.
What Isn’t a Healthy Relationship?
What do you do if you don’t feel like the above guide applies to your relationship? While it’s never easy to consider, you might need to think about whether your relationship is truly healthy. Consider some of these hallmarks of unhealthy relationships and whether they feel familiar:
- Your partner being overly possessive, jealous of others, or controlling of your behavior.
- Different rules or standards between you and your partner.
- Your partner engaging in insults, humiliation, physical or mental threats, or threats of self-harm.
- A lack of trust or truthfulness in your relationship.
Unlike healthy relationships based on respect and equality, unhealthy relationships are generally based on power and control. If you feel in any way that your partner is trying to exert control over you rather than respecting you, your relationship could be unhealthy.
This raises the question: What do you do next? If you’re in an unhealthy relationship, you need to start thinking about alternatives and ways forward. Some people try to help their relationship and their partner with counseling, treatment and relationship therapy. Others may feel their best path forward is to break the relationship off and get out. Your choice will depend on the nature of your relationship. You can also look for support and guidance from friends, family members, and counselors.
Help, Guidance, and More
If you need help or guidance for your relationship, call or visit Hope Clinic today. We can help you with your questions and assist you in working out your next steps. Call 601-264-2181 today to speak to one of our caring volunteers or make an appointment to visit when it’s right for you.