What are they?
Every relationship exists on a spectrum from abusive/toxic to healthy. Healthy relationships are those that connect us to those in our lives in meaningful and safe ways. They contribute to our mental health and well-being in positive ways.
Is my relationship healthy?
Answering this question can at times be difficult to navigate, especially if you have never learned about or examined a relationship in this way before. While every relationship is unique, healthy relationships often have the same key components for their core. A few of those components are:
- Trust and Respect: Trust between you and your partner(s) is something that is developed over time through consistency. Feeling comfortable and not questioning your partner's intentions should build naturally in a relationship and should not be something that is "tested" by a partner.
- Boundaries: Each person in a relationship should have the ability to set and maintain their own boundaries and have them be respected. Boundaries can be physical and emotional and can be adjusted over time. Building a healthy relationship includes openly communicating boundaries with your partner(s).
- Equality/Equity: Nothing in a relationship will ever be a perfect 50/50 split, but when considering your relationship overall you should feel confident that responsibilities are evenly shared among all parties. Each person in a relationship should also be valued and treated with equal respect.
Things you can do to build and maintain a healthy relationship:
Learning how to improve communication, especially with regard to conflicts within your relationship, is one of the easiest ways to grow and enhance a healthy relationship.
- Conflict is a natural part of all relationships, but there are things partners can do to help maintain healthy conflict. When sharing your concerns, practice using "I statements" and focusing more on how you felt when something happened and what you need moving forward. Approach having these conversations at a time when you are calmer, not when you are heated in the moment.
- Communicate openly about your needs and check in on your partner's needs as well. Learning more about your communication styles and needs can alleviate times of conflict and situations of misunderstanding.
Concerned your relationship may not be healthy?
If you are concerned about your current relationship or feel like a past unhealthy relationship is still impacting you, support is available. You may want to consider meeting with a professional, like an advocate or a counselor. Here are a few local and national advocacy resources:
Skills for Healthy Romantic Relationships | Joanne Davila | TEDxSBU
The difference between healthy and unhealthy love | Katie Hood