Relationships are about as human as breathing. To relate to each other fills an innate desire that we social creatures need. Healthy relationships are essential to our wellbeing, and could even help us live longer. Unhealthy relationships, however, can be harmful to our mental, emotional, and physical health.
What are the signs of a Healthy Relationship?
Healthy relationships are the building blocks of society. While no relationship is perfect, there are clear signs that may reflect your relationship is a healthy one.
- Growing Together
Healthy relationships allow for both people to see each other as they are, and patiently allow each other to grow and develop. In a healthy relationship, each partner should want to see the other flourish. Growing and changing is normal and healthy when each person is appreciated for who they are, and who they aspire to be.
- True, Mutual Trust
Trusting each other is key to any relationship. If you trust your own and your partner’s judgement, a relationship can grow as it should.
- Strong Mutual Support and Commitment
If both partners consistently support and validate each other, a healthy relationship can develop. Knowing your partner has your back for the long term helps to build the trust that is so important.
- Open Communication
Effective communication is one of the most important life skills to master. In every relationship, healthy communication means both partners can be seen and heard. Validation of the individual and offering respect are vital components.
- Successful Conflict Resolution
Research offers that couples who argue or respectfully confront, are 10 times more likely to have a happy relationship. Arguing, as in a peaceful disagreement, can work toward the good of the relationship.
Maintaining a well-rounded life outside of your relationship keeps it healthier. Both partners should make each other happy with a general feeling of comfort and freedom to be themselves. Togetherness is balanced with individuality.
- Having Fun
If you can be silly with your partner, you’ll have a stronger and healthier connection. Studies have shown that couples who are more playful in their relationships tend to have more fulfilling ones.
Healthy relationships take work – from both partners. One of the most common mistakes people make in relationships is to make excuses for their partner not valuing the same priorities that they do. They may see the value in trust and communication, but their partner clearly does not feel the same. Unless each partner comes around, the relationship won’t grow to a healthy place. Remember – if both partners are mutually invested in growing the healthy relationship basics mentioned above, their relationship can thrive.
What are the signs of an unhealthy relationship?
Not all unhealthy relationships start off unhealthy. In fact, a relationship can start off happy and grow toxic over time. A loving and healthy relationship is something everyone deserves. It is important to recognize an unhealthy relationship before it becomes unsafe or destructive.
How do you know if your relationship is not just unhappy, but unhealthy? The following feelings may indicate that you are in an unhealthy relationship.
- You Feel Like You’ve Lost Yourself
Are you no longer excited to see your partner, or do you leave your time together feeling unhappy? If you’re feeling less like yourself when you’re with your partner, the relationship could be draining your energy. It might be time to reevaluate.
- You Feel Guilty Often
Your partner blames you for everything or you automatically assume the fault is yours in order to ‘keep the peace’, or your partner never assumes responsibility… This could be a sign of emotional manipulation.
- You Feel You Cannot Exist Without Your Partner
A healthy relationship allows for both partners to have individual lives outside of the relationship. This negative feeling could be a warning sign of codependency. A partner in a healthy relationship may miss you, but he or she is supportive and understanding when you spend time with others you value.
- You Are Losing Contact With Friends or Family
If your partner refuses to hang out with your friends, or complains about the amount of time you spend with your family, this could be a sign of a controlling relationship. The opinion of your friends and family matters because they know you well and want what’s best for you. A controlling partner will seek to isolate you – to strip you of your support system in order to make you more dependent upon them. This is not healthy.
- You Cannot Speak Honestly
Conflict is normal in all relationships. The question is what causes the conflict and how is it managed?You and your partner should be able to disagree. You both should be able to feel freely vulnerable and able to express your feelings without reservation, and without fear of the other partner’s response. You should be able to speak up in your relationship and also seek help solving that conflict by moving towards seeking help from a trusted friend or family member together.
- Your Partner is Possessive or Controlling
It is unhealthy if your partner attempts to control who you see and when, is always “checking up on you”, or shows extreme jealousy when you talk with someone of the opposite sex, and accuses you of flirting or cheating. A possessive partner may literally tell you what you can and cannot do, or they may be more subtle and say things like, “If you loved me, you wouldn’t…..” Both are unhealthy.
- There is No Trust
Jealousy might seem flattering initially, but it can lead to possessiveness. Trust has been defined as “Confidence that your partner won’t do anything to hurt you or ruin the relationship.”
- Your Self-Worth has Deteriorated
Your partner should have your back. If you feel belittled or demeaned, you are not being loved and valued for who you are as a person.
- You Do Not Feel Like They Are ‘There For You’
If you are always there to support your partner, but you do not feel the same support in return, that is not a balanced or healthy relationship. A supportive partner will be caring , comforting, and not sabotage your reputation, achievements, or successes.
- They Do Not Respect Your Physical Boundaries
Remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. Physical and sexual violence are rarely one-time experiences. Rather, they are usually the beginning of a dangerous pattern of behavior. Emotional abuse (shouting, spiteful language, manipulation, etc.) should be treated the same way. Though the scars may not be visible on the outside, they’re equally as harmful.
If you recognize unhealthy signs in your relationship, assistance and support are available. At Open Arms Real Choices Clinic, we offer classes and counseling to help you develop a healthy relationship whether you are single, dating, engaged or married. Call us now at 208-667-5433 or schedule an appointment online for support.
Whether it has happened only once or multiple times, it is NOT okay for anyone to cross your physical boundaries. If you think you are in a dangerous situation, trust your gut and get help.
For assistance with domestic violence or abuse, contact one of these agencies below:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline 800.799.SAFE(7233)
- Northern Idaho Crisis Center 208.635.4884 (24 hours a day/7 days a week/365 days a year)
- Safe Passage 208.664.9303
- Abuse Recovery Ministry and Services (ARMS) 209.484.0600