What Is a Healthy Relationship?

Happy couple.
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Are you wondering if you’re in a healthy relationship? Or are you trying to figure out what a healthy relationship actually looks like? Since all relationships can be complicated and can have their fair share of challenges and ups and downs, it’s important to understand the six key characteristics of a healthy relationship. That way, you'll be better able to determine if your relationship is on the path to success or on the road to failure.

1. You Openly Communicate

One of the cornerstones of a healthy relationship is open and honest communication. This means that you and your partner are fully able to express yourselves to one another, and no topic is off-limits or considered taboo. When you’re able to freely talk to each other about what’s truly on your minds, you’re actually deepening and strengthening your connection with one another. However, if you find yourself holding back your true thoughts and don’t want to share your point of view because of what your partner might say or how he or she might react, then your relationship will stay on a superficial level and will be less likely to develop into something real.

2. You Respect Each Other

Another critical component of a healthy relationship is mutual respect between you and your partner. If your partner doesn’t really respect you, or you don’t respect your partner, then your relationship will never be balanced, fulfilling, happy, or healthy.

Being in a healthy relationship means that you and your partner treat each other as true equals. But if you don’t feel as though you’re appreciated and are constantly made to feel subservient and disrespected, you’re actually settling for far less than you deserve and are far from being in a healthy relationship.

3. You Have Your Own Lives

An additional key aspect of a healthy relationship is that you and your partner have your own interests, passions, and pursuits outside of each other and outside of your relationship. While it’s clearly important that you have things in common, such as shared values and morals, it’s equally important that you both are able to pursue your own outside interests. Your life shouldn’t revolve around your partner or around your relationship, and if all you do is spend time together and neglect your friends, family, responsibilities, and personal passions, your relationship is more of an intoxicating infatuation than a healthy connection.

4. You Fully Trust Each Other

In a healthy relationship, another vital characteristic is mutual trust between you and your partner. But if you find yourself worrying that your partner isn’t being totally honest or has betrayed your trust, or your partner continues to doubt that you’re telling the truth, the truth of the matter is that you’re not in a healthy relationship. Having complete trust and faith in one another is a non-negotiable in a healthy relationship, as you have to be able to take your partner at his or her word and vice versa.

However, if you’re suspicious of one another, act in a jealous way, or knowingly withhold information from each other, you’re chipping away at any trust that you’ve built with one another.

5. You’re Able to Be Yourself

If you’re wondering if you’re in a healthy relationship, an additional component is that you’re able to be your best self. You shouldn’t feel as though you’re playing a role or trying to fit the part of who you think your partner wants to be with, but rather are the authentic and real you. Being in a healthy relationship means that you and your partner bring out the best in each other and are always free to be your true selves. And when you get to be yourself, your relationship will be that much more fulfilling, meaningful, and long-lasting. 

6. You Support Each Other

When you’re in a healthy relationship, you and your partner are able to rely on each other and support each other emotionally.

This means that you’re always there for one another, whether it’s providing words of encouragement or a shoulder on which to cry. Through thick and thin, you and your partner are a team and always have each other’s backs. However, if you feel as though your partner doesn’t truly believe in you or doesn’t show much interest, compassion, empathy, or support, you should look to find a healthy relationship with someone else who will.