As social beings, we place a lot of value on relationships. Whether it’s a friendship, romantic relationship, family bond or work collaboration, the quality and strength of our relationships can have significant impact on our health and well-being. Having at least one strong healthy relationship can help people feel more satisfied in life and have been shown to add years to your lifespan!
Relationships can take many forms and each type serves a different purpose. Some are more temporary, like a summer fling; while others are more long-term, such as a parent-child or friend relationship. Relationships can also be a combination of these, such as a roommate relationship or business partnership.
A healthy relationship is based on trust, respect and open communication between partners. It takes effort and compromise from both parties and allows each person to make their own decisions without fear of retaliation or manipulation. It is a relationship where each person feels comfortable expressing their opinions and feelings to the other. A healthy relationship is a partnership that nurtures each individual, but neither becomes dependent on the other or feels entitled to their partner’s time and attention. A healthy relationship is secure enough for each person to have their own interests and activities, while still having the ability to be together on a regular basis.
It is important to remember that a relationship’s purpose may change over time, and it’s okay if it changes. What was once a relationship that provided us with comfort, safety and belonging may evolve into a relationship that requires us to stand up for our rights and advocate for ourselves. This is normal and a good thing.
Some common characteristics of a healthy relationship include:
Honesty – Do your words match your actions? Are you willing to tell the truth even if it’s difficult? Do you listen to your partner’s needs and concerns? Do they trust you?
Respect – Do they respect your independence and the things that make you who you are? Do they allow you to spend time with friends without them? Do they share your interests or encourage new hobbies? Do they support you in your goals and dreams?
Belonging – Do they treat you as you would want to be treated? Do they care about you and want to know your thoughts, fears, and needs? Do they appreciate and love you for who you are, even when they don’t agree with you?
Communication – Do they communicate with you regularly and listen attentively? Do they avoid using defensive or attacking language and try to find solutions together? Do they keep you informed of any issues in the relationship?
Being in a healthy relationship doesn’t have to be hard. It can be as simple as listening to each other, being respectful, and making an effort to connect on a daily basis. By taking small steps, you can grow into a relationship that is fulfilling and makes you happy.