Top 10 Characteristics Of Healthy Romantic Relationships
Many people wonder whether their romantic relationships are considered healthy or unhealthy. Although every relationship is unique, there are several characteristics that most healthy relationships have, such as respect, intimacy, trust, and effective communication. Friendship, bondedness, commitment, healthy conflict, flexibility, and fun also play a role.
Even if your relationship doesn’t have many of the characteristics discussed in this article, it’s possible to improve your relationship health in various ways. Online therapy is one method of working together to address any areas of the relationship that may need help.
Top 10 Characteristics of Healthy Relationships
Healthy relationships care deeply for each other and have mutual respect for one another. They value each other for who they are and respect each other’s boundaries.
- Do my significant other and I respect each other for who we are, not for who we wish each other to be?
- Do we respect and uphold each other’s boundaries?
- Do we show respect for each other during times of conflict?
If you feel you lack respect in a relationship, it may not be as healthy as it could be. You can improve this aspect of your relationship by communicating and reaching out for help if needed.
There are multiple kinds of intimacy, but physical and emotional intimacy often play large roles in healthy relationships. Physical intimacy refers to sex as well as smaller acts of affection, such as holding hands and cuddling.
However, it’s important to note that not everyone desires or requires physical intimacy due to varying levels of attraction, and relationships can still be healthy without physical intimacy if both partners feel their needs are being met.
Emotional intimacy refers to a feeling of closeness and an ability to tell your innermost thoughts and feelings with your partner. In healthy relationships, both partners feel comfortable and safe talking about their thoughts and feelings.
- Do you feel close to your significant other?
- Are you satisfied with the current level of physical and emotional intimacy in your relationship?
- If you feel you’ve been drifting apart from each other, what is a way you could grow intimacy?
Long-term relationships often go through periods when partners don’t feel as close, but it’s important to have a foundation of intimacy for a healthy relationship. Often, honest conversations and quality time together create the right type of environment for physical and emotional intimacy to improve.
Trust is a vital part of healthy relationships. In a healthy relationship, you should not have to doubt your partner’s loyalty or truthfulness, and vice versa. Healthy couples spend time together, but they also have parts of their lives that are separate from each other. These often include work, hobbies, and friendships. When those in a relationship trust each other, it’s less likely for them to feel jealousy or doubt when their significant other spends time away from them.
- Do you trust your significant other? Do they trust you?
- If you ever feel the urge to be untruthful in your relationship, why is that?
- When your significant other does things without you, do you feel jealous or worried?
Healthy couples can spend time together and apart without being overcome by jealousy or suspicion. These feelings are normal and understandable, and everyone experiences them sometimes. However, healthy couples can express the way they feel about the situation and reassure each other to bolster trust.
A hallmark of healthy relationships is effective communication. This means clearly stating what you’re feeling and thinking, rather than hoping your partner will read your mind and know exactly what you need. It also means expressing your feelings in an honest but kind manner so that any conflict can be addressed and resolved.
- Are you comfortable telling your significant other about the good and the bad in your life?
- Do you fear judgment or criticism when you open up?
- Do you and your partner tend to avoid confrontation?
Healthy couples may feel some nervousness when discussing sensitive topics, but they are willing to talk things over and find solutions together, rather than letting their problems grow larger.
If you're in a healthy relationship, you probably consider your partner to be one of your closest friends. Maybe you same interests, have a similar sense of humor, and enjoy spending time together doing simple things like running errands and cleaning the house. Your relationship doesn’t only revolv
- Do you enjoy spending time with your significant other?
- Are you an important part of each other's lives?
- Do you have fun together regardless of what you’re doing?
Sometimes, couples jump into relationships, only to realize that they don’t have much in common. This can strain some relationships because it can be challenging to find things to talk about or do together. Fostering a close friendship with your significant other can make it easier to spend time together and have open communication.
Healthy relationships have a deep bond that can be fostered by spending time together and nurturing their connection. Checking in with each other regularly, even when life gets busy, is one way couples can reinforce their bond. Making time for experiences together, such as dates and trips, can also grow a couple’s bond.
- Do you and your significant other make spending time together a priority?
- What are your favorite things to do as a couple?
- What is a memorable experience you can plan to do together?
It’s not always easy to create space for quality time when you and your partner live busy lives. Sitting down together and comparing your calendars to find opportunities for experiences can help, as can scheduling childcare and making plans to cover other responsibilities if needed.
Commitment is one of the key characteristics that hold healthy relationships together. When both partners choose to commit to each other and stay together through the good times and the challenging ones, they can feel safe and safe knowing that no matter what happens, they will be able to rely on their partner.
- Have you discussed your relationship status and agreed to a level of commitment that works for both of you?
- Has there been any form of infidelity in your relationship?
- Is commitment a priority to both of you?
Infidelity can be very upsetting and difficult to cope with. In some cases, a breach of trust may be a reason to separate. For others, it may be a sign that it’s time to work on the relationship together, perhaps by attending couples therapy.
Conflict plays a role in every relationship, but it’s important to address that conflict in a healthy way. In unhealthy relationships, you may see styles of conflict that involve name-calling, manipulation, harsh words, or even violence. In healthy relationships, it’s still normal to feel upset or angry with your significant other. Continuing to show respect, love, and a desire to understand your partner’s point of view often results in healthy conflict resolution. Those in healthy relationships team up to address the problem together, rather than viewing each other as opponents.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, know that help is available. You can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
- When you disagree with your significant other, are you able to discuss the issue calmly?
- Are you and your partner willing to compromise when needed?
- Have you noticed any unhealthy conflict styles in your relationship?
Many people in relationships struggle to control their emotions and maintain healthy communication during times of conflict. It’s important to remember that you can always change the way you address conflict and that there are many resources, such as online articles, podcasts, and therapy, that can help.
It’s normal to grow and change throughout your life, and in long-term relationships, both are likely to change over the years. Those in healthy relationships are willing to accept that their significant other will not always be exactly the same as they were when they got together. Instead, they encourage the person they love to continue growing and embracing their true self as time goes on.
- Does change lead to feelings of tension in your relationship?
- Are you and your partner willing to accept each other as you are?
- Do you support each other's dreams and goals, even if they change over time?
Embracing change and flexibility in relationships can improve your relationship health. Part of being in a long-term relationship is understanding that regardless of the small things that may change, you and your partner have committed to living life together.
The last characteristic of healthy relationships is fun! While life always contains challenges, tempering them with a good balance of fun moments can help maintain your relationship health. Finding time to laugh and enjoy the little moments together, and ensuring those fun experiences outnumber the negative ones, can greatly contribute to a healthy relationship.
- When was the last time you had fun together?
- What do you think your ratio of positive to negative interactions is?
- How can you increase your positive interactions?
A positive interaction doesn’t have to be an expensive vacation or fancy date night. Instead, it may be a hug and kiss before going to work, a sincere compliment, or a joke. The small, fun moments truly add up and make a difference in long-term relationship satisfaction.
Online Therapy Can Improve Your Relationship Health
Online couples therapy may be beneficial if you’d like to cultivate more of these characteristics in your relationship. You and your significant other will be able to discuss tough topics with the help of an objective party. In addition, you can schedule sessions that fit into your busy schedules and get the support you deserve without ever leaving the house.
This 2020 study showed that, despite their initial doubts regarding online therapy, couples were able to create a strong therapeutic alliance and found the experience to be positive and beneficial for their relationships.
All relationships are different, but most healthy ones have the following characteristics:
- Effective Communication
- Healthy Conflict
If you feel that your relationship is lacking in one or more of these areas, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your relationship is unhealthy. Instead, it indicates that you and your significant other have an opportunity to grow and improve together. Online couples therapy is one way to cultivate your relationship health.
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