Healthy relationships are an essential part of a well-rounded life. Research continues to confirm that valuable social connections are vital for our physical and mental health. People who are engaged in worthwhile relationships are in better health and are more likely to practice beneficial habits such as eating well and working out, and have a lower risk of mortality. Research even indicates that people who are in healthy romantic relationships have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
We should all keep in mind that healthy relationships are not perfect relationships. Every relationship you have will be a combination of good and bad times, as well as healthy and unhealthy communication style. What makes a bond worthwhile is that each party in the relationship is willing to do the work that it takes to maintain a connection and work through disagreements.
People sometimes focus on how to tell when they’re not engaging in healthy relationships, but there should be more discussion about what it takes to have a thriving and fulfilling relationship. How do you know if you have a relationship that is worth holding onto, and what can you do to improve your relationships with the people you care about the most?
Everyone has different needs in a relationship. Some people need to engage in open and honest dialogue often and others require physical affection on a regular basis. The healthier the relationship, the more likely the people sharing a bond are able to have their needs met.
Here are some healthy relationships tips to keep in mind.
What Makes a Relationship Healthy?
It’s important to realize that healthy relationships are customized for the people who are in them — no two relationships are the same. However, there are some characteristics that show up in healthy connections that make a relationship secure and rewarding. Here are some of the things you should be looking for when you’re entering into a new relationship or want to improve your current one.
It is vitally important that you trust your partner if your relationship is going to flourish. According to research, your willingness to trust other people is based on your personal attachment style. The relationships you have in the early stages of your life help to set the expectations for your adult relationships. If your relationships with parents, siblings, extended relatives and childhood friends have been secure, reliable, and safe, you’re more likely to build similar bonds with adult friends and romantic partners.
The trust you have in your partner also depends on how you treat each other. When you see that your significant other treats you well and is there for you when you need them, you’re more likely to develop a trustworthy connection.
Keep in mind that trust requires vulnerability. You’ll have to share personal information about yourself and listen to your partner disclose their private information as well. As time goes on, both you and your significant other will be faced with situations that will test the trust you have in one another. It is up to you and your mate to ensure this trust is not broken.
If your relationship is a positive and secure one, you should feel that you can be yourself when you’re with your partner. Couples have different levels of openness with one another and this often stems from which phase of the relationship you’re in. However, the longer you’ve been together, you shouldn’t feel that you have to hide who you truly are to keep your partner happy or hold on to the relationship. Honesty and transparency will help strengthen your connection and build a foundation of trust.
When you disclose information about yourself, you are showing your partner that you want to build a solid connection. The same is true when your partner shares deeply intimate details with you. As you grow together, your intimacy will intensify and you’ll feel more comfortable sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with each other.
However, each party in the relationship needs to maintain their sense of individuality. There are some things you may not feel completely comfortable sharing with your partner and you shouldn’t feel like you have to reveal certain things about your life (i.e. past traumas, fears) before you’re ready to do so. When you and your partner are open with each other, this helps you navigate disagreements in a healthier way since both of you understand that even when you argue you never intend to hurt or undermine your significant other. You and your partner will have different needs at times, so honesty will make it easier for the two of you to compromise and maintain your boundaries while you work to find a solution that works for the both of you.
In a close relationship, people have a mutual respect for one another. They are not condescending and belittling to each other and offer their support to help their partner get through tough situations. Some of the ways couples can be respectful to one another include:
- intently listening to each other
- doing what your partner asks as soon as you can
- being compassionate when your partner makes a mistake
- encouraging one another
- making time for your partner
- developing an interest in your partner’s hobbies
- allowing your partner to be an individual and respecting their individuality
- saying “thank you” when your partner does something nice for you
- being empathetic toward your partner (and vice versa)
When you’re in a relationship with someone you’re genuinely fond of, you’ll like show that person affection often. Studies show that the initial spark of passion we feel in the early stages of a romantic relationship is not as intense as the years go on. However, this does not mean that you and your partner should give up being affectionate, tender, and loving toward each other.
During the passionate phase of your relationship, you will likely feel a yearning for your partner when they’re not around, as well as intense feelings of connection and a need to have physical contact with your partner as much as possible. Over time, this passion will grow into a compassionate affection for your partner, which is a sign you trust your loved one, are building intimacy with them, and are working to maintain your commitment to one another.
While your passionate feelings will eventually die down, if you’re in a healthy relationship, you and your mate will start to establish a closeness that include friendship and familial love along with romantic attraction.
However, you should keep in mind that your physical needs may be different from your partner’s. Both you and your mate should be aware of this and maintain a level of affection in your relationship that ensures you both feel loved.
Relationships that are rewarding and enduring require good communication. This goes for friendships and romantic relationships.
People may think that a relationship in which there is no conflict is ideal. However, most human interactions will involve conflict at some point, especially if you’re trying to build a lasting bond with someone. Instead of trying conflict, it’s better to focus on ways to resolve the conflicts in a healthy and effective manner.
In some instances, a conflict or disagreement can serve as a way intensify your connection with your loved one. Research indicates that conflict can actually be helpful in romantic relationships when serious issues need to be discussed. The conflict allows both parties to make changes that will benefit the relationship in the future.
When you have a disagreement with the one you love (and you will from time to time), make sure that you know the “rules” for fighting. You and your partner should be careful not to personally attack one another. You both must be willing to listen to each other and come up with a solution that works for the both of you.
Solid relationships are characterized by give and take. Both partners know that they can’t keep score or feel overly indebted to each other. Each party in the relationship does things for the other out of love and respect. Even though give-and-take is necessary, it is not always equal. There will be times when you will need more support and times when you’ll need to offer more support to your partner. Every relationship has its own dynamic so what’s most important is making sure both partners are in agreement about what it will take to keep the relationship healthy.
If you want to know how to keep healthy relationships in your life, it’s important to know which types of relationships are beneficial for you. The five main types of relationships are family, romantic, friendship, professional, and acquaintances. Each of these relationships requires you to be considerate, caring, understanding, and even assertive at times. You’ll experience different levels of closeness in these relationships, and the people in these relationships with you will care for you in different ways. For instance, you may be valued for your professional expertise with your colleagues, but your family may allow you the space to be vulnerable. You may also feel comfortable sharing things with your romantic partner that you may not feel comfortable telling a relative or friend.
The Three C’s in a relationship are communication, compassion, and consistency. When you need to know how to have a healthy relationship, you have to be willing to communicate with the other person in the relationship. You also have to learn your loved one’s communication style and they must learn yours to ensure you know what it takes to make your partner feel loved and valued and have the skills to resolve disagreements effectively. Compassion is necessary because you have to be understanding toward your partner’s character flaws and any issues they are working throughout. Consistency is vital in a relationship as well. You and your partner need to know that you can rely on each other and trust each other in all situations.
Many people are figuring out how to maintain a healthy relationship based their lifestyles and needs. While a “healthy” relationship may look different to everyone, there are certain principles that anyone can use for the relationship to thrive. If two people have a mutual respect for one another, this is part of a solid foundation for a relationship. It is also vital for people in familial and romantic relationships to have a genuine love and affection for each other. This is essential during the difficult times in a relationship. People are much less likely to help or be understanding toward people they don’t have a sincere bond with. When people are able to have fun together, this helps to enhance the bond the two people share and helps them create memories that will make the relationship stronger.
Honesty, communication, and commitment are the three essential aspects of a relationship. When people are able to tell each other the truth no matter how uncomfortable it may be, they start to strengthen their connection and prove to one another that they can trust the quality of the relationship. Communication is essential in any type of relationship because it eliminates confusion and helps to give you and your loved one a better understanding of each other’s personalities, wants, and interests. Commitment is also important in relationships. This doesn’t apply only to romantic relationships. Commitment is necessary in friendships and professional interactions as well. People need to know that you are dedicated to strengthening your connection and being a constant part of your life as you go through natural transitions and celebrate important milestones.
-A toxic relationship is one in which one or both parties is experiencing physical, mental, or psychological damage as a result of the relationship. A relationship can be toxic if one partner tries to discourage the other from pursuing their talents or professional goals. If one partner is making the other feel insecure about their appearance or uncomfortable when it comes to bringing up issues or problems in the relationship, these could be indicators of a toxic relationship. Of course, relationships that involve domestic abuse and sexual assault are also extremely toxic. People may sometimes need professional or legal assistance leaving a toxic relationship that is unsafe.