If you have or wish to be in a romantic relationship, you’d probably like a strong and healthy one? But what does it imply to be in a strong and healthy relationship? Healthy relationships aren’t the same for everyone. After all, people have diverse desires. This is because your cravings for sex, affection, space, communication, shared hobbies, or values, to mention a few, might change with time.
So, a relationship that works while you’re in your 20s might be nothing like the affair you crave in your 30s. Connections that don’t align with more conventional descriptions of a relationship can still be healthy. For instance, individuals who practice polyamory could characterize a healthy relationship rather differently than people who practice monogamy.
What strong and healthy relationships look like
According to Lindsey Antin, a Californian therapist, one thing healthy relationships generally share is adaptability. Healthy relationships can adapt to different conditions, and the truth is that people are constantly changing and going through several stages in life.
We are going to look at some signs of a strong and healthy relationship:
Trust involves integrity and honesty. It would be helpful if you didn’t keep secrets from one another, and when you’re away from your partner, you don’t feel concerned about them chasing other people.
However, trust reaches beyond knowing that they won’t cheat or lie to you. It also implies that you feel comfortable around your partner and know that they won’t harm you emotionally or physically. You understand that they have your best interests in mind and respect you enough to motivate you to make the right choices.
Partners in a healthy relationship generally converse about the things going on in their lives, such as failures, successes, and other sensitive matters.
You should feel comfortable discussing any problems that arise, from things that occur in everyday life like friend or work stress, to more urgent matters, such as financial troubles or mental health symptoms. Even though they have a different viewpoint, they would listen without judgment and then share their opinions when necessary.
Communication isn’t one-sided, and you should be aware that your partner would express their concerns or thoughts as they surface. Individuals in polyamorous relationships could place extra significance on emotional check-ins and regular communication about what’s going on with other partners.
One major characteristic of a dynamic, long-term loving relationship is curiosity. This implies that you’re enthusiastic about their opinions, purposes, and their day-to-day life. You want to see them evolve into their best self and you’re not focused on who they were or who you feel they should be.
Sex is a crucial aspect of healthy relationships. Nevertheless, it is not the most important aspect of a relationship. Sex differs from intimacy, which is less about bodily enjoyment than friendship, bonding, and understanding.
If you both appreciate sex, your physical connection is most possibly healthy when you:
- feel safe initiating and discussing sex
- can positively deal with rejection
- can talk about desires
- feel comfortable portraying your interest in more or less sex
Good intimacy also involves valuing sexual boundaries. This includes:
- not pressuring your partner about copulation or specific sex activity when they say no
- sharing information about different partners
- reviewing sexual risk conditions
If you are in a strong and healthy relationship, you should feel connected both in and out of bed.
A feeling of you being self-reliant
Healthy relationships are correctly characterized as co-dependent. Being co-dependent means you depend on mutual support (both you and your partner help each other). However, each of you maintains your individuality and still have friends or spend time chasing your personal goals and hobbies.
People in healthy relationships can be tagged as a team. You work concurrently and help each other, even when you have different opinions on something or have expectations that aren’t similar.
In a strong and healthy relationship, you will have occasional arguments and feel frustrated or angry with your partner from time to time. That’s entirely normal, and It doesn’t imply that your relationship is toxic. What counts is how you handle a dispute.
If you can discuss your disagreements reasonably, honestly, and with regard, you’re on the right path. Partners who address conflicts without judgment or hate can always find a solution or compromise.
Playfulness or lightheartedness
It’s essential to create time for leisure when the mood is right. If you can joke and laugh together, that is a good sign.
Occasionally, life challenges or discomfort could affect you or your partner. This can temporarily alter the mood of your relationship and make it challenging to communicate with each other in your typical ways. However, being able to spend time with each other can assist in relieving tension and maintaining your connection even in difficult times.
Your relationship should provide a feeling of fulfilment, joy, and connection. If you grow to feel more anxious, distressed, or upset around your partner, your relationship might begin to struggle.
Indications of unhealthy relationships differ, so this list is not all-inclusive. Nevertheless, it could help identify some possible problems.
When a partner attempts to control or change the other
If you’re apprehensive about a particular behaviour, you should be comfortable enough to talk about it. It’s good to express the way you feel and ask them to consider changing their attitude. But, it’s not appropriate to tell them what to do or try to control them.
Your partner does not respect your boundaries
Boundaries tend to come into play across relationships, from thoughtful communication to privacy demands. If you establish a limit and they push past it or pressure you to alter it, that’s a severe sore point.
Perhaps you’ve asked for personal space whenever you get home from work or required rest before any bodily tenderness. But your partner keeps coming up to you precisely when you get home, attempting to kiss you and drag you into the bedroom or any other place you aren’t comfortable with. When you turn them down, they apologize to you and say, “they can’t help themselves.”
You could brush this off as an indication of affection and keep on telling them your boundaries, hoping they’ll eventually understand. But their behaviour continues to disrespect your needs.
Your partner says harmful or hurtful things about you or to others
There isn’t anything wrong with exhibiting worry when your companion does something that bothers you. However, in a healthy relationship, partners naturally care to convey their feelings in logical and productive manners.
It is not healthy to continually condemn each other or say hurtful things, particularly personal preferences, such as diet, outfit, habit, or favourite TV shows. Criticism that makes one feel embarrassed or bad about oneself is naturally unproductive.
You’re apprehensive about expressing disagreement
Partners should always feel comfortable to have their opinions, even when this implies they are contradicting. If your spouse reacts to your (different) viewpoint with contempt or is being rude, this usually indicates that they don’t appreciate your opinions.
If you observe that you’re always censoring everything you say because you’re bothered about your partner’s response, you may require the help of a professional.
The relationship feels unbalanced
Healthy relationships should be reasonably well balanced. You may equally share bills or balance out lower earnings by running extra jobs. But relationship parity can also be associated with immaterial things, like devotion, communication, and relationship prospects.
Moments of imbalance can occur from time to time. One of you could temporarily lose your source of income, struggle to assist with tasks due to illness, or feel less sincere because of pressure or other emotional confusion. Nevertheless, if your relationship regularly feels shaky in any manner, this can become a problem.
Questions you need to ask yourself
It’s challenging to apply similar principles to every affair. Nonetheless, if you’re seeking guidance on whether yours is strong and healthy, there are some questions you can ask yourself as a form of self-test.
These are some of the following questions you can ask yourself:
- Does my spouse motivate me to grow?
- Do we share similar intentions for the future?
- Do we seek the exact type of relationship?
- Is my life a lot better with them in it?
- Can I be myself around them?
- Do I understand the kind of person they are?
- Do we benefit from each other?
- How have they influenced me so far in the relationship?
If you mostly replied in the positive, then your relationship is possibly a healthy one.
Tips for establishing a strong and healthy relationship
If some of the relationship warnings touched a sore spot, couples counseling could be the right step. Getting assistance doesn’t imply that you’ve failed. It should only suggest that you wish to work at growing, for yourselves, and also for your partner. Even the healthiest of relationships can sometimes need some additional assistance.
Here are a few pointers to ensure things remain on the right path:
Understand each other’s dissimilarities
Perhaps, your partner is ambitious, while you’re more of a homebody. This is good since one can prompt an activity or go out on an adventure, while one of you appreciates quiet time
Value your partner’s opinion
Be interested in the manner at which your partner view and do things rather than attempting to get them to look at things from your viewpoint
Solve problems together
Work concurrently to solve issues, rather than making each other the problem
Tell your spouse what you need, and be equally prepared to give attention to their desires
You might not often approve of what your partner demands, but that’s ok because you’re two distinct people, after all. However, being able to find a solution is very important
Try out new things together
If your relationship appears stale or seems like it’s not going anywhere, attempt taking it somewhere and observe what follows. A change of view can sometimes alter your perspective
Discuss your goals and ambitions
This can assist you in reconnecting with your partner and ensuring you still share the same expectations and values
A shared affection and mutual appreciation for some things like food could have assisted you in meeting your partner halfway, if not fully. However, these circumstances have less to do with maintaining a healthy relationship. You should trust and feel comfortable around each other and believe in your potential to understand and grow together.
If you’re anxious about your relationship or feel it’s not as active as it used to be, believe in your intuitions and find out what they mean. Also, visiting a relationship counselor could go a long way to ensuring a strong and healthy relationship.