If there’s one thing we know for sure is that people are very different, have different needs, expectations, behaviors etc. When it comes to relationships, what works for you might not work for someone else. What you consider a healthy relationship might be seen as dysfunctional by other people.
So, what exactly is a healthy relationship? According to Lindsey Antin, a therapist in Berkeley, California “one thing healthy relationships largely share is adaptability. They adapt to circumstances and the fact we’re always changing and going through different phases in life.” Read on to find out what other things indicate that you and your partner have a strong and healthy thing going on.
You voice your opinion
People in a healthy relationship are not afraid to speak their minds and be candid with their significant others. This means they don’t hide what they really think about a certain topic and they know that their opinion is important to their partners, no matter what that is. Communication is key to making a relationship work, not only because it can help you solve conflicts but also because it can bring you closer to your partner.
You have fights
A healthy and happy relationship is not all sunshine and rainbows all the time. There are times when you just don’t agree with your significant other and end up having a fight. It’s normal, even more so when the fights are productive and constructive, at the end of the day.
In fact, this is what separates healthy relationships from unhealthy ones. Instead of calling each other all sorts of names and criticizing one another, your fight is fair and square. It’s also about listening and understanding your partner’s point of view instead of focusing on winning the argument. Here are 10 Normal Fights Even Happy Couples Have.
You make decisions together
You’re not the only one running the show, neither is your partner. From what to have for dinner to the car you buy, you make decisions jointly and listen to what the other has to say in the matter. If this means you have to watch Bridget Jones’s Diaries for the 10th time or endure a two-hour-long football match, then so be it. Remember, it takes two to tango. It’s called a ‘partnership’ for a reason
You have fun together
Healthy couples enjoy each other’s company and have fun together. This doesn’t mean your partner is cracking jokes like a stand-up comedian every minute of the day or that they don’t get on your nerves sometimes. But, in general, you have a happy life together, and find reasons to laugh in the most mundane activities like making dinner, watching a movie or going grocery shopping (yes, it can happen!).
You are comfortable with how you and your partner are
Healthy relationships have nothing in common with fairytales. They are meant to last in real life. So, if you think things with your partner will improve if you buy your dream house or have a baby, you might want to stop dreaming and come back to Earth. Don’t put all your hopes in the fact that your relationship will change just like that. In a functional relationship, you accept that no one is perfect, and you simply learn to appreciate one another for you are not who you might be in the future.
You have your personal space
Just because you’re head over heels with each other, doesn’t mean you need to be attached at the hip from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed. You’re not betraying your significant other by pursuing your hobbies and interests and hanging out with your friends. It anything, it will only help you develop as individuals while keeping the love burning and solidifying your relationship
You split chores
At times, your significant other might have to stay longer at the office while you’re preparing dinner at home. Other times, you might need to help an elderly parent with household chores while your partner is doing the grocery shopping. It happens. In the long run, if neither of you feels like you’ve drawn the shorter straw, that’s all that matters.
You are kind to one another
A good indication that you’re in a healthy and strong relationship is that you’re kind and caring to one another. You show empathy, understanding and appreciation in all (or most) circumstances. If you realize that you are more considerate and respectful towards other people than your significant other, then you might want to get your priorities straight and focus on the people that really matter.
On that note, check out 8 Things You Should Tell Your Partner Every Day.
You have faith in each other
Couples in healthy relationships trust one another and communicate freely and honestly. They don’t do things that might hurt their partner or keep secrets that might damage their relationship. Curious if your partner is worthy of your trust? Check out this quiz from the University of California, Berkeley.
You confide in your partner
When something troubles or upsets you, you should be able to tell your partner about it, not venting to your co-workers during lunch break. Sure, your friends can remain the voice of reason but not the shield behind you hide to avoid tougher discussions with your life partner.
You don’t make a drama out of everything
Obviously, there are times when your partner is exasperating and drives you completely mad. Other times, you will do the same thing to him or her, as well. You will not say the nicest things, you will not be on your best behavior. But the thing is how you handle the whole situation. Your partner forgot to pay the bills again? It’s normal to want to show your disappointment but know when to let things go. Don’t stay mad forever!
You are intimate
Intimate relationships can support a committed and healthy relationship in more ways than one. But beside the physical aspects, there are also other aspects that make people feel closer and more loving. It’s the intimacy of your relationship, the bonding and familiarity of it all that makes you feel a deeper connection with your significant other, in and out of the bedroom.
Your relationship is your safe haven
A strong, functional relationship should be your safe haven, your sanctuary where you find love, peace and comfort at the end of a tiring day. Of course, you have your couple disagreements from time to time but in difficult situations, your partner is the first person you think of to make you feel better.
You are not afraid to say the magic words
What are the magic words? It’s pretty easy. When you can’t seem to find the right words to explain how you feel to your significant other, nothing works better than “I love you,” “Thank you,” and “I’m sorry.” Speaking of which, here are 10 Ways to Say “I Love You” Without Using Words.