In general, healthy relationships allow for both partners to feel connected and supported, while maintaining their independence and ability to make decisions about themselves and their relationships. Healthy relationships involve honesty, trust, respect, and open communication between partners.
Having a healthy relationship involves compromise from both people in way that does not compromise dignity or respect of each other. Ultimately, partners decide together what defines healthy for both involved. Think of the nature of your relationship and see how you feel about it as you read the following ingredients of a healthy relationship.
One of the most important aspects of a healthy relationship is good communication. When partners communicate well, they are able to listen to each other and talk about themselves easily. The following tips are some ways to improve communication in your relationship:
Share and listen. In a healthy relationship, you feel comfortable sharing the good and bad with your partner. You’re able to listen to the positive and difficult things your partner shares without judgment.
Be caring and supportive. People in healthy relationships build each other up and help each other feel better. Be there for your partner when they need you and let them do the same for you.
Be respectful. Ask for what you need, but remember to respect your partner. Show them that their thoughts and feelings have as much value as yours.
Cooperate. Disagreements happen in every relationship. Working through problems together often makes healthy relationships stronger. If you can’t find agreement, find a way to work together on a compromise. If each person gives a little, both end up feeling respected.
Balance time together and away. Healthy relationships require space. It’s ok to have time for yourself and private aspects of your life that you don’t share with anyone else.
In healthy relationships, each person is able to tell their partner what makes them comfortable or uncomfortable and have this respected. Boundaries aren’t meant to shut out your partner or make either of you feel less intimacy; and creating boundaries doesn’t mean you don’t trust each other. By setting boundaries together about time, your sex life, finances, family, friends, and personal space, you and your partner can have a better understanding of what makes you happy in a relationship.
Healthy boundaries allow you to:
Boundaries help keep your relationship healthy and comfortable. Building boundaries is important in healthy relationships.
Disagreements happen in all relationships. It’s helpful to know how to approach your partner when you’re upset and need to talk about something important. The following techniques may be helpful. You know your relationship best. If you’re in an unhealthy or abusive relationship and you think any of these would put you in danger, don’t try them.
Find the right time. When it comes to discussing issues, timing is everything. It’s hard to listen well when your favorite show is on. And no one wants to have a heavy talk when they’re stressed about something or sleepy. Let your partner know you would like to have a conversation with them and select a time that works well for the both of you. Find a time when you have privacy and neither of you are doing anything important.
Talk face to face. Text messages, letters, and emails can be easily misunderstood. It’s best to avoid talking about serious matters in writing. Speak in person to be sure each person is able to clearly communicate their thoughts and feelings.
Be calm and respectful. When you stay calm and respectful, your partner is more likely to understand what’s really upsetting you. Yelling, “You’re always distant with me…” can sound like an attack, which can make your partner defensive and less receptive to your message. Instead, try using “I” or “we.” For example, say “I feel like we haven’t been as close lately,” or “I’d like it if we went out together more often,” instead.
Be honest. Tell the truth, but be gentle. Share your feelings honestly without blaming the other person. Admit your own mistakes and apologize.
Show you’re listening. Good body language shows you really care. Don’t take a phone call, text or play a video game when you’re talking. Nod and respond to show you understand.
Use the 48-hour rule. If you don’t speak up about what’s bothering you, there is no way for your partner to apologize or change. But you don’t have to say something right away. Let some time pass to get calm and gather your thoughts. If you’re still hurt 48 hours later, bring it up. You’re likely to have greater understanding about how you feel and communicate more effectively to your partner.