We read a lot about red flags and signs that you’re in an abusive or unhealthy relationship, but what we don’t talk a lot about is what exactly makes a relationship healthy. So let’s take a look at what a healthy relationship looks like.
1. You TRUST each other completely.
You trust each other implicitly, without having to convince yourself. You don’t give each other “the benefit of the doubt” because, quite simply, you don’t have those doubts. This trust goes beyond simply trusting that your partner is faithful. You take what your partner says at face value. You feel safe with that person and can allow yourself to be vulnerable. You trust that they care and that they won’t hurt you.
2. You make POSITIVE assumptions.
In unhealthy relationships, people make a lot of negative assumptions. He canceled plans last minute? He didn’t want to see you. She went out for lunch with a male coworker? They’ve got something going on. He is grumpy? He must be annoyed with you. And so on. In a healthy relationship, you make positive assumptions. He canceled plans last minute? You believe his reason (working late, feeling tired, etc) and that it has nothing to do with you. She went out for lunch with a male coworker? They are friends and they like having lunch together. He’s grumpy? He had a stressful day and needs you to just give him a bit of breathing room. You don’t assume there is a problem between you, unless they have specifically told you there is a problem, or you can specifically point to an actual problem.
3. It feels NATURAL.
You don’t have to try around each other. Things don’t feel forced. Silence isn’t awkward. You are comfortable with each other and don’t feel like you need to put up appearances or question how the other person feels or ignore things you don’t like about them. You can totally just be yourself with that person. When you are hanging out together it just feels right. It feels natural.
4. You like each other’s FRIENDS.
A lot of people ignore the importance of this one. See, who a person chooses to keep as friends says a lot more about them than almost anything else. If you don’t like your partners friends then chances are, when it really comes down to it, you don’t actually like your partner. If you think all your boyfriends friends are dickbags, then there is a good chance you are ignoring a lot of things about your boyfriend that you don’t like (or he is hiding a lot about his real self from you). “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” —Jim Rohn.
Not to mention, when you actually genuinely like one another’s friends, you don’t have to deal with the stress of fighting whenever one of you wants to hang out with your friends, with or without the other person, because you like and trust those people.
5. You’re there because you WANT to be.
This is a big one that also is too often ignored. Co- dependency is not healthy. You should not depend on your partner for your sense of self or value. You shouldn’t depend on them to take care of you emotionally or financially (the obvious exception is if you choose as a couple to have one parent stay at home with the children while the other works). In a healthy relationship, you were fine on your own without the other person and their presence in your life is a sweet, sweet bonus. You’re not with them because you NEED them. You’re there for no other reason than you WANT to be.
6. You GET ALONG more than you fight.
We all know those couples who seem to be always fighting about one thing or another, and we wonder why the heck they are even together. In a healthy relationship, fighting is the exception, not the norm. Yes, you do argue sometimes, or get annoyed with each other, but the vast majority of the time you spend together, you are getting along. Fighting is NOT your normal/your default.
7. You are FRIENDS.
This comes back again to simply LIKING each other. In a healthy relationship, that person is not just your lover, they are your friend. If you were not in a relationship with this person, you could totally be friends with them. You think they’re cool. You like hanging out with them. You see them as a complete person, not as a sexual object or some relationship trope. In another life or another time, you could imagine yourself hanging out with them platonically as friends.
8. They bring out your best SELF.
You don’t feel pressured to change for one another, nor do you want to change one another. You accept each other the way you are, but you also support each other’s’ dreams and goals, and being around the other person brings out a better version of you. Not because you are trying to be better around them, or because you are hiding your faults from them, but because they are a positive influence on you and you feel like a better person with them. It’s easy to say no to your vices, or to pluck up the courage to work toward a goal when you’ve got a cheerleader in your corner.
9. You have a LIFE outside that person.
They are not the only person in your life, or the only thing you draw meaning from. You don’t do absolutely everything together. Sometimes you go out with your own friends without each other. Maybe you each have a hobby or two that the other person doesn’t share. The point is that you have a life outside that person. And the fact that you each have your own life doesn’t make the other person uncomfortable or insecure.
10. You’re HAPPY.
This one is simple. It’s basic. But it’s important and it’s true. If you are in a healthy relationship, you are happy. You’re not trying to change the other person. You feel satisfied, sexually and emotionally. When you think about your partner, you smile a bit. Thinking about them makes you feel calm and secure. Obviously, no person is 100% happy all the time. When I say you are happy, I mean that your relationship brings you a lot more happiness and joy than it does sadness or pain. Your relationship is a net positive. Your relationship doesn’t drain you emotionally, it energizes you.