If you recognize these 10 signs, you have a healthy relationship

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Have you ever been told that when you meet the right person, you’ll just know?

Personally, I don’t think that’s always true.

For starters, even though our emotions can be a great guide, they can also be very deceptive at times.

Strong feelings don’t always equal a healthy relationship.

Because healthy relationships are a bit like healthy eating.

It’s often about making decisions that serve your long-term health rather than short-term desires.

So how do you know if you’re in a healthy relationship or not?

Here are some signs to watch out for.

1) You respect your differences

You don’t try to change each other.

He’s not the secret project that you’ve taken on as a “fixer-upper”.

She’s not going to be your perfect match…just as soon as you manage to iron out a few kinks in her personality.

It’s almost inevitable that you will have some different traits from your partner.

Both you and they will have behavior quirks, some of which you can’t quite wrap your head around.

Let’s get real:

You may not like absolutely everything about one another.

But you can respect those differences.

You don’t try to push and cajole each other to change. You allow each other the autonomy you both deserve.

2) You don’t avoid conflict at all cost, but you know how to resolve it

Here’s a huge misconception when it comes to successful relationships:

That happy couples shouldn’t fight.

A lot of people read too much into their disagreements. When in reality, it’s a natural part of a close connection.

We’re not always going to agree on things. No matter how strong communication is, there will be times when it is less effective.

And that will lead to a few disputes.

Of course, if you’re non-stop arguing, that’s another matter. But couples shouldn’t aim to hide from conflict.

Because what matters more is:

  • How you fight
  • How do you resolve it

You’re in a healthy relationship if you fight fair, and avoid things like personal attacks, name-calling, or assigning blame.

It’s a good sign if you give the other person a chance to speak and truly listen to what they say.

You both care more about resolving your problems than who is right or wrong.

You don’t threaten to split every time you have a disagreement. 

Knowing how to resolve conflict means you’re not just sweeping your relationship problems under the rug, you’re working on fixing them.

3) You approach one another with kindness

I’ll admit, in my younger years, my criteria for a partner probably overlooked some of the most important things.

It’s tempting to get lost in attraction and fun.

But as I’ve grown, I’ve realized that one of the most significant elements to the success of any healthy relationship is this:

Are you kind to one another?

It’s such an obvious thing, yet that level of deep compassion can be missing from way too many relationships.

And when it is, selfish streaks show up, arguments get out of hand, and power struggles are more likely to ensue.

If treating one another with as much tenderness as possible is at the heart of your connection, you can almost guarantee it is a healthy one.

4) You have a good friendship that is based on mutual respect

Not every romance can be Romeo and Juliet.

And why would we want it to be, because look how that turned out!

Fireworks and butterflies bring exciting feelings, yet they’re usually quite fleeting.

That’s not to say that passion has to die in a relationship. But desire tends to ebb and flow over the course of any long-term union.

Because let’s face it, life isn’t always sexy.

There’s nothing sexy about unloading the dishwasher, picking up the dry cleaning, or doing the grocery shopping.

A healthy relationship needs to be based on the firm foundations of a decent friendship.

You like, respect, and admire one another. You have fun together, laugh together, and genuinely enjoy each other’s company.

It’s these humble yet powerful things that allow you to go the distance. Because that’s what makes you a team.

5) You have interests and a life away from one another

Independence feeds a relationship and keeps it fresh.

Things can get stagnant when you have nothing else going on other than each other.

That autonomy can come in different forms.

It may be friendships, hobbies, activities, or interests that you pursue on your own.

But it doesn’t always have to mean time spent apart. Because independence can be psychological too.

Meaning that you feel well-rounded as an individual.

You aren’t looking for the other person to meet all of your emotional needs. You don’t rely on them for your self-esteem. You don’t think it’s their job to make you happy.

You haven’t slipped into a co-dependence where your entire identity feels based around you two as a couple.

Your relationship is two separate people (who both take responsibility for themselves) joining together to journey through life.

6) You’re committed to growth

You support one another’s individual growth, and you’re committed to continued growth as a couple too.

Rather than stifle each other, you are one another’s biggest cheerleaders.

You want them to evolve, pursue dreams, and develop as a person.

Similarly, you believe that relationships are much like anything in life — constantly changing.

And you are fine with that.

You don’t believe that your other half must stay the same, as you know that is holding them back.

Many couples break up because they have both changed as people and as they did so, they “grew apart”.

The real trick is to be able to grow together.

7) You feel good about yourself and your relationship

We can find plenty of fancy signs that point to a healthy relationship. But let’s not forget the simple yet one of the most profound indicators:

How you feel.

If you’re in a healthy relationship you should feel safe to be yourself, to express yourself, and to open up.

You aren’t afraid of being judged or rejected. You feel safe and secure.

And that makes you happy.

Your relationship may not be perfect, because nothing is. But overall, you count your blessings.

It is a positive force in your life that makes you feel supported and loved.

8) There’s honesty but also privacy in your relationship

Let’s turn another relationship myth on its head:

Healthy relationships require 100% full disclosure all of the time.

Yes, truth is important.

But the facts are that most couples do keep the odd thing from one another.

Rather than secrecy, that is often just privacy.

And research shows this can be really beneficial to both emotional and physical intimacy. Because a little mystery often fuels desire.

So the truth we’re talking about is deeper. It’s about whether you can be straight up with one another.

A good way of telling the difference between secrecy and privacy is how it makes you feel.

Secrets tend to bring with them negative emotions like anxiety, guilt, or rumination.

Privacy on the other hand isn’t harmful to your wellbeing.

9) You both make the important decisions in your relationship

When it comes to the important things, there should always be an even balance of power within a relationship.

What do I mean by “important things?”

I’ve seen it suggested that you should compromise and collaborate on all decisions, including the small things. But I’m not convinced that’s so crucial.

It’s not a big deal if your partner tends to pick the restaurant, because you don’t really care and they have stronger preferences.

Plenty of couples have a slightly uneven dynamic when it comes to the little things, because of their naturally different personality traits.

But when it comes to life’s bigger decisions, both voices must be heard equally.

Where you’ll live, where you’ll go on vacation, whether you want kids. 

Nobody is calling the shots or shaping the relationship to their own personal agenda. Your relationship is a democracy.

You make the choices that will affect both of you together.

10) You can rely on one another

I’ve had relationships fall apart in the past even though we loved each other and we had a good time together.

Why?

Because all relationships need to have a sprinkling of the seemingly boring stuff too.

Things like:

  • Dependability
  • Accountability
  • Consistency

It’s not usually on anyone’s wish list when they’re dreaming up the perfect partner. We may be too busy thinking about all the showstopping qualities we are looking for.

But relationships won’t work without mutual commitment.

It took years of painfully chasing the emotionally unavailable to finally admit that to myself.

Love is a choice, and it’s backed up by action.

You need to put in effort, and reliability is how you show that.

It’s this that creates firm foundations of trust and a sense of security.

Healthy doesn’t mean perfect

A lot of articles I read create a very aspirational image of what a healthy relationship should look like.

So I think it’s important to remember that healthy does not mean perfect.

You will always experience both ups and downs.

What matters most is that you have healthy foundations to rest upon.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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