Haven’t we all dreamt of finding that special someone who is perfect for us and will make us swoon like we often see in the movies? But as we grow up, we realize that infatuation like this sometimes comes with an expiration date. After the honeymoon period and the excitement comes the actual work of building a relationship. Love is not enough for a good relationship. It’s more important for a connection to have some characteristics of a healthy relationship for it to last.
But who said you can’t be head-over-heels in love in a healthy relationship? In fact, a healthy relationship is the real reflection of true love that cannot be tainted because of its sheer purity. Everyone tells us that love isn’t easy and will always hurt us in the end.
But have those people ever even been in a healthy relationship? Probably not. No relationship is a cakewalk but it’s just so much easier being with a non-toxic person and one who is willing to make things work with you. That way, you struggle less, love more and become a more wholesome and happy person in general.
With insights from, Amjad Ali Mohammad (M.Sc. Psychology), who specializes in innovative, scientific and systematic approaches in areas of health, education, relationship and occupation counseling, let’s decode what it takes to make a relationship healthy.
How Do You Define A Healthy Relationship?
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“A healthy relationship is one in which love enriches you; not imprisons you.” -Steve Maraboli
When you’re asked to define a healthy relationship, this should be the instant response that comes to mind. This is definitely one of the best definitions of healthy relationships out there. You know you are in a healthy relationship when it enriches you, helps you grow and makes you a better person.
If you’re wondering what to look for in a partner for life, look to share a healthy relationship with him/her. And if you can see the characteristics of a healthy relationship in your relationship, you have found the one. If you want to find out if you are in a happy, healthy relationship with your partner, then you can do it with this healthy relationships quiz.
Wendy and Steve (name changed), who have been married for 5 years, believe they have a healthy relationship because they support each other immensely. From the chores to career decisions, they want each other to always excel and do well. Not only do they share responsibilities, but also sorrows and triumphs. They feel they both are caring and are concerned toward one another but never controlling.
They also believe they are extremely sexually compatible and at the same time enjoy their dates and intellectually stimulating conversations as well. “Even when we have a conflict, we settle it amicably. There are no loopholes in our relationship, it’s rock-solid,” says Wendy.
15 Characteristics Of A Healthy Relationship
So you can somewhat see the ideal life-partner qualities in your boyfriend/girlfriend, but still, need to be certain they are the one? Ask yourself: Is your relationship adding more to your life in terms of well-being and happiness? If these following characteristics of a healthy relationship define your relationship, you can finally be sure that your partner might just be the perfect person for you to spend the rest of your life with. So without further ado, let’s get right into it.
1. You express your opinions freely and are honest with each other
One of the signs of a good and satisfying relationship is when you both express your opinions without fear of judgment. Amongst the many benefits of a healthy relationship, one is the fact that you can rely on your partner to always be honest with you. You’re not afraid of being honest with them because you know there is mutual respect in the relationship and that your valuable opinions will be appreciated.
If a guy has been hitting on you at work, you can probably laugh about it with your partner and maybe even take his advice on warding him off. But you are sure that your partner will take the whole thing in a good spirit and not become overly jealous about it. That’s the sign of a healthy relationship.
Amjad tells us, “Expressing your opinions freely is important for a healthy relationship as it builds trust, belief, openness and a close understanding among the partners. Hiding things from one another, not revealing things openly to each other can all divide and separate a couple emotionally.”
2. There is ample trust – Characteristics of a positive relationship
Both of you are secure in your relationship because you trust each other. Trust is one of the most important pillars of a healthy relationship and if you feel like one of you has trust issues, then maybe your relationship isn’t that healthy.
Jealousy, insecurity, control and over possessiveness in a relationship are a recipe for disaster. They all arise out of lack of trust and almost always ruin a relationship. Therefore, if your relationship is free from these, and you trust each other wholly, it is one of the important qualities of a healthy relationship.
And no, when it comes to trust, you cannot leave your weaknesses behind. If you trust your partner with your weaknesses, and if they accept the vulnerabilities, without resorting to making you feel small or insecure, then your relationship is definitely a healthy one.
3. You take care of each other in a happy relationship
Be it your mental health or physical, you take care of both tremendously. You’re there for each other through sickness and health, literally. You have the “bringing each other soup during sickness” kind of a connection. You do your best to comfort each other through the tough times.
You may not be able to fix the relationship problems immediately, but you sure are there with your unwavering support, affection and love for them. You are concerned about what is going on with your partner. One of the characteristics of a healthy relationship is the ability to listen to their feelings, without really saying much.
Even on regular days, you’re always there for each other and show how much you care through little gestures that are special to you both. Like maybe just stroking your hair if you can’t fall asleep or waking you up with coffee, made just the way you like it shows how much you both care for each other. You show your love to each other not just on the best days, but also through the worst.
Related Reading: 12 Signs Of Unconditional Love In A Relationship
4. Important qualities of a healthy relationship – Giving each other space
Although you both are super close and comfortable in your relationship, there is still adequate personal space. You’re not clingy and don’t feel the need to be in each other’s business all the time.
Amjad suggests, “Space and taking time off – these things are very, very important in any loving relationship. Both the partners should respect, understand & allow each other space when desired. It is only natural to want to back off sometimes. Every individual needs these at some point or the other. Through personal space, a person can understand himself/herself better than before, use that time to reflect and come back to be a better version of themselves in the relationship.”
Space is important in a relationship and the fact that you both give each other personal space signifies that you are secure as a couple and that spending time apart does not threaten you. So if you’re wondering what to look for in a partner for life, this is it. Space strengthens a relationship and the right amount of space is what constitutes a strong relationship.
5. There is mutual respect in the relationship
Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized “~ Albert Einstein
You mutually respect each other without putting each other on a pedestal. Opinions, views, likes, dislikes, preferences, emotions and moods, are all respected in your relationship. Even if they are different, they are not a point of contention but a cause for respect and admiration for each other’s ideas.
Often, unhealthy relationships are characterized by a lack of respect which makes one or both of the partners feel inadequate. But when you’re in a secure and healthy relationship, the love and respect will be very palpable. This is one of the signs of a good relationship and also one of the benefits of a healthy relationship. Especially if you’re a woman, this is one of the qualities to look for in a husband.
6. Constructive criticism is appreciated in a happy relationship
Since you’re honest and open in the relationship, you view constructive criticism in a more holistic manner rather than taking it as a personal attack. You don’t chide each other, or call out on each other’s flaws. Even if you do bring up each other’s negative points, it comes from a place of love. In a loving relationship, you offer constructive criticism to make each other better, and not to hurt each other’s feelings.
There is a fine line between constructive criticism and scathing criticism that people in a healthy relationship know how not to cross. Partners don’t indulge in any kind of negging in a healthy relationship. Instead, if they have to criticize, they would do it but at the same time, they would ensure they are not hurting their partner. This defines a good relationship.
7. Yes, you fight but you always make up
Amjad tells us, “In any relationship small fights about trivial things are common. These disagreements are what allow one to understand the values of another person, fight for valid things and come to a better understanding about each other. To fight not to win is the right way to go about it. Fight to explore and discover one another. Expressing your concerns is okay. But when you fight to win or dominate a relationship, that is not good. It can leave scars for a lifetime.”
Fighting or having relationship arguments is normal in any relationship and also inevitable. But it’s how you deal with the fight and how you make up after a fight that makes your relationship toxic or healthy. Do you say hurtful things to each other, play the blame game, give each other the silent treatment and then finally get sick of fighting without actually resolving your issues?
If you do, then that is a reason for worry. Or do you have a disagreement and then have an open conversation about your issues and then strive to solve them out? Do you also apologize to each other for good measure in case someone got hurt? If you relate to the latter, congratulations, this is one of the most important characteristics of a healthy relationship and you are acing it!
8. What’s important to them is automatically important to you
When you’re in a healthy relationship, things or people that are important to your better half are also important to you. And this is not forced or unnatural. This is a characteristic of a strong relationship between individuals that comes innately because you are so deeply in love!
Sure, you do put in the effort to find out more about the things that matter to them but the urge to do so comes naturally. This is because you care about each other infinitely. You make an effort to be friends with their friends and be close to their family and also keep track of their interests and hobbies. All of these little things are what contribute to making your partner happy and ensuring a happy relationship as well.
Related Reading: 5 Ways Blame-Shifting In Relationship Harms It
9. You push each other to do better in a fulfilling relationship
One of the characteristics of a healthy relationship is pushing each other forward to reach your best capacity. When you’re in a healthy relationship, you won’t stagnate as a person because your partner will always push you to be the best version of yourself.
“A healthy relationship is one where two independent people make a deal that they will help make the other person the best version of themselves.” ~ Anonymous
This means pushing each other to reach your life goals together and believing in your partner in times when they don’t believe in themselves. You never act like a jealous boyfriend or girlfriend when it comes to your partner’s achievements. Instead, you revel in it and feel proud of them.
10. Friendship is the way to define healthy relationship
Isn’t friendship the actual definition of real love? Amjad explains, “A good friendship with your partner is important for any relationship. This helps in understanding each other closely. When you are good friends, developing mutual respect without any ego can be established. Moreover, the best thing about being friends first is that no superior/inferior type of a dynamic will pervade your relationship.”
In a happy relationship, you both aren’t just romantic partners, you’re also the best of friends. You confide in each other, play pranks on each other, are always there for each other, know how to cheer them up and enjoy each other’s company any time of any day.
Think about it. Don’t all the characteristics of a healthy relationship sound a lot like a good friendship? If you have to have an equal partnership and a strong relationship, then being friends is vital. It helps the communication to flow better and you can share things openly without being afraid of being judged.
11. Your relationship moves at a good pace – Characteristics of a positive relationship
The thing about a fulfilling relationship is that you can feel that things aren’t moving too fast or too slow in your dynamic. In a healthy relationship, things progress at a pace that is comfortable for both partners, as they enjoy each other every step of the way.
One of the ideal partner qualities and characteristics of a healthy relationship is when your partner never rushes things if he/she feels like you’re uncomfortable. They will always try to do their best to make you feel at ease when you’re with them, especially in the early days of a new relationship.
Moreover, it is better to let things progress in the way that they should organically. If one tries to overstep boundaries, raise expectations too quickly – it might begin to suffocate the other person. A good partner knows to let time run its course and let the relationship bloom in the way that it should. To fall deeply in love, can’t happen overnight anyway. It takes some time.
12. You make plans about the future together
Be it future plans for a breathtaking adventure to go to Machu Picchu or simply just plans for your next date night together, you love spending time with each other and include one another in your future plans.
Every time you make a decision about your evening or your weekend or your Christmas party, you think of them and take their consideration into everything. Without them, your puzzle just starts to feel a bit incomplete. This is definitely one of the important qualities of a healthy relationship but it is not something you can force or develop. It comes from inside you.
You see them with you, holding your hand when you picture your future. Both of you have agreed that you’re in this for the long haul, and have made it verbally clear that you want to make it last, despite all the odds.
Related Reading: 25 Questions To Ask Before Marriage To Be Set For The Future
13. Their success makes you very happy
You’re not constantly competing in this relationship. If you are, well then that’s the sign of having a selfish attitude, which should ideally be completely absent from any relationship for it to thrive. A satisfying relationship is about finding happiness in each other’s success, be it on the professional or personal front. Their happiness makes you happy too. Not being jealous of each other’s successes is one of the characteristics of a healthy relationship.
Amjad says, “When your partner receives success, you should feel like you would do as if it’s your own success and feel proud of her/him. You both should be happy together and celebrate these sweet moments! Not the other way around.
Being jealous of your partner’s success can lead to an unhappy life and a very disturbed relationship. So try to learn to enjoy each other’s successes as much as you can. And if they don’t succeed, well then, being there for them during the rough moments and helping them get back up is also equally important.”
14. Important qualities of a healthy relationship – You both prioritize each other
You feel like a priority in your partner’s life and you give your partner priority. It should be as simple as that in a fulfilling relationship. If this doesn’t sound like one of the characteristics of a healthy relationship, then what does? You consult them before taking any important decisions (sometimes, even while picking which toothpaste to buy).
Not only this but you also value their advice and make decisions based on their impact on your partner as well. Thinking of them, valuing their opinions, making time for each other, showing them you care – are all ways to show that you prioritize one another in this relationship. One of the benefits of a healthy relationship is that you will never feel like you’re unimportant in your partner’s life.
15. Making each other happy – Qualities of a good relationship partner
Even when times are tough or when you’re in a long fight, you still do your best to keep each other happy and care for one another. You don’t mind adjusting or making little sacrifices for your loved one’s happiness. In fact, these don’t seem like sacrifices at all because their happiness brings you joy. You don’t mind hanging out with their friends or going to a restaurant of their choice instead of yours because, at the end of the day, it’s all worth it. You make each other so happy and fit together like pieces of a puzzle.
Amjad suggests, “Making little sacrifices can make a lot of difference in the mind of a partner when it comes to knowing how much you value them. It further builds trust and gives them a feeling that there is someone in their life who is always looking out for them. They feel more secure in the relationship and will be more trusting of you in the future and will also be able to depend on you more easily.”
At the end of the day, apart from all these important qualities of a healthy relationship, when you are actually in one, you will just know. That’s the beauty of it. There’s just an inner gut feeling telling you that this is where you are meant to be. Especially if you have had your fair share of toxic relationships in the past and previous selfish partners, this warm and loving relationship will feel like a breath of fresh air after a long time.
Trust us, if these characteristics of a healthy relationship match yours, then you’d best hold on to your partner instead of asking any more further questions on the subject. In fact, it might even be time to put a ring on that finger!
In a good relationship, you are equal partners where you help and support each other relentlessly, from the chores to major life-changing career decisions to be made. You communicate openly, have trust, care and concern and are not judgmental or critical about each other.
Trust, support, care and concern, being non-judgmental and happiness in each other’s progress are the most important characteristics of a healthy relationship.
Too much jealousy, lack of trust and need for control are the 3 most important and the biggest warning signs of an unhealthy relationship.