Relationships are challenging. People and relationships evolve over time. It can be a bit like hitting a moving target or trying to understand something that’s constantly in flux. While relationships can be hard to manage, a healthy relationship is worth the effort.
A healthy relationship can have amazing benefits, but an unhealthy relationship can be worse than being alone.
How can you tell if your relationship is a good one? There isn’t a foolproof method for scoring a relationship, but healthy relationships have several common features.
Look for these healthy signs:
- Balance. Balance will mean different things to different relationships. For example, there might be a great imbalance in the financial responsibility within a relationship, but some other aspect could serve to compensate for that discrepancy.
- In general terms, is the relationship fair? Is each party committing the same overall effort and resources? Or is one party consistently getting the better end of the deal?
- Openness. Both parties feel free to share their feelings and concerns honestly and openly. It’s no fun to be in a relationship where you feel you must keep your pain and concerns to yourself. How open can you be with your partner? Are you comfortable sharing any issue?
- A common long-term outlook. For a relationship to thrive over the long-haul, it’s important that there be a common objective. That objective might involve children and a life in the suburbs. Or, it might be retiring at age 40 and travelling the world. Do you both want the same things 10 years or more from now?
- Fun. Good relationships are fun. Do you regularly have fun with your partner? Do you like sharing the same space together? Do you have fun in your relationship or do you depend on your friends for fun and entertainment?
- What interests do you share? How do you spend your time together? Is the time you spend together enjoyable?
- Respect. Mutual respect is imperative in any healthy relationship. Without respect, one person will be mistreated or minimized. Do you respect each other enough that both of you feel valued and important?
- Able to settle conflicts without abuse or resentment. Conflicts arise in any relationship. Settling conflicts fairly and respectfully is part of any healthy relationship. It’s just as important to be able to let go of any resentment that resulted from the conflict. Holding on to anger is poison to the future of the relationship.
- How do you solve issues in your relationship? Do these types of conversations make your relationship stronger or more fragile? Do you feel anxious raising issues with your partner?
- Acceptance. Do you accept each other as you are? Some partners enter into a relationship with the objective of changing the other person to better suit their own preferences. Few people are accepting of this strategy. If you can’t accept your partner as they are, consider finding someone else.
- Keep in mind that no one is perfect, and you’ll never find the perfect partner.
- Commitment. Relationships are work. If one or both parties aren’t committed to making things work, the relationship is unlikely to survive. How much of a priority is the relationship to both of you? Most relationships can be successful if the level of commitment is high enough.
Healthy relationships are an important part of a full and happy life. Unhealthy relationships can create misery and hardship. Ensure that your relationships are adding something positive to your life.