The four qualities of healthy relationships

Are you satisfied in your relationship? Do you and your partner make each other feel supported, secure and happy? What do you think is needed to make a relationship strong and healthy? Healthy relationships are key for personal well-being.

Romantic relationships almost always have a huge impact on your life, especially your mental health and wellbeing. Whether this impact is positive or destructive depends on the quality of your relationship.

In order for relationships to be good for you, they have to be healthy. This means that you and your partner care for each other, share your thoughts and feelings, take a genuine interest in each other, and more. The exact ways you treat each other can vary significantly, but there are qualities healthy relationships must have in order for them to be enjoyable.

What is needed to make a relationship healthy is a highly debated topic with many different opinions. While there will always be disagreements and new findings, there is a general agreement and evidence supports that fulfilling healthy relationships require respect, equality, trust, and communication. If a relationship isn’t based on these qualities, then it likely isn’t good for you.

If they aren’t all well developed, then the others will be missing or not as strong as they should be. You’re unlikely to trust someone you don’t respect or communicate with someone you don’t view as your equal. Therefore, it’s important that each of these qualities are present and valued in your relationship. When they are, maintaining your relationship will feel natural. This will of course be a struggle at times, but when you have the habit of thinking highly of your partner and treating them well, and they do the same, nurturing a strong connection and rewarding friendship can be enjoyable.

healthy relationships

Without these four qualities, it is not possible to have healthy relationships

Healthy Relationships Goal 1: Respect

How do you think of your partner? Do you believe they deserve your time and admiration? How do they think of and treat you?

Respect is essential to healthy relationships. You must believe your partner is a good person worth spending time with who has earned your esteem and you share or understand their values and beliefs.

Values are the principles that guide people’s decisions and behaviour. They’re ideologies people want to demonstrate and look for in others because they think they’re important to living a full and satisfying life. You could respect your partner’s value of family or honesty and believe this makes them a better person.

What some people think of as an admirable value, such as frank honesty, could be seen as a flaw by others. One person could be happy with a partner who isn’t afraid to speak their mind, while another would view this quality as hurtful and embarrassing.

You don’t have to agree with all of your partner’s beliefs and values. They can even believe things you find annoying. But your relationship can still be healthy and satisfying as long as you respect more about them than you dislike. No matter who your partner is, there will always be parts of their personality that will bother you. In order to be happy in a relationship, you have to look past what you think of as your partner’s drawbacks and respect them as they are. Disrespecting beliefs your partner has can erode your respect, so it’s important to be as positive as possible about the things you disagree with and view them as part of what makes you different, rather than as a reason to respect your partner less.

If you don’t think your partner is worthy of your respect, your relationship can’t be healthy. You’re unlikely to treat them as your equal, trust them, or be willing to listen when they share their thoughts and needs with you.

Healthy Relationships Goal 2:Equality

Do you and your partner take turns making routine decisions? Do you discuss larger choices before committing? Does one person have more influence and control than the other?

Having an equal relationship means you treat each other in ways that prevents one person having all the power and authority. You care about your partner’s opinions and feelings, and they care about yours.

You both get to make decisions, you can give opinions without being shut down, and you’re both willing to compromise when you disagree. You and your partner respect each other’s needs and desires, and try to meet them when possible. And you both accept when you’re wrong.

However, it’s important that you don’t give in or sacrifice too much in the name of equality. Agreeing to certain things can lead to resentment if you’re not comfortable doing so. Finding compromises you can both be happy with can be very challenging. But when it’s about something that’s very important to both of you, working together to find a solution you can both live with is important to preserving the relationship.

Some types of partners will tell you that they should be making more decisions than you. They can make you believe you’re less capable than they are and that you would make bad choices. Or they can act in ways that makes it easier to just go along with what they want, such as getting angry or sulking when they don’t get their way. If your partner always makes decisions without considering what you might like, expects all of their demands to be met, and generally makes the relationship about themselves, then there isn’t equality in your relationship. Your relationship might be toxic, or even abusive.

If your partner is willing to listen to what you want and make sacrifices so you can be happy, and you’re willing to do the same, then you have an equal relationship. Thinking of each other as equals and being willing to listen to your partner’s perspective helps you sharerespect, trust and communication.

Healthy Relationships Goal 3:Trust

Do you wonder if your partner is keeping things from you? Do you and your partner admit your mistakes to each other? Are you comfortable telling your partner sensitive information that could be used to hurt you?

To have a trusting relationship, you must be able to believe what your partner tells you and have confidence they’ll respect your emotions. You should be comfortable telling your partner things about yourself that not many other people know without worrying they’ll treat you differently or tell people. You also both admit to making mistakes because you’re confident that your partner will forgive you. Although admitting to your mistakes can be difficult, it’s important to establishing trust because it gives your partner permission and encouragement to do the same.

When you trust you partner, you don’t have to wonder what they’re doing or thinking, question what they tell you, or second-guess your beliefs about them. If they say they’re working late or going out with friends, you trust that they’re telling you the truth instead of asking yourself if they’re lying.

Trusting relationships are more secure because you’re less likely to worry about your partner suddenly leaving or fear that you’re driving them away because you trust their commitment. Partners who trust each other are also more likely to talk to each other if there’s something that’s making them unhappy, rather than staying quiet and letting it create resentment.

When you’re secure in your relationship, you’re likely to feel capable of being your authentic self. This means being the person you are deep down by honouring your beliefs and values, rather than acting like the version of yourself you think other people would prefer.

Without trust, your relationship can’t become deep and meaningful. You won’t let each other in to your inner private worlds so there will always e distance. But when you trust each other, you’ll feel free to relax and enjoy yourself in the relationship and think of your partner as someone you can share your life and authentic self with.

If you and your partner don’t trust each other, then you won’t be able to respect each other, treat one another as equals, or be able to communicate openly and honestly.

Healthy Relationships Goal 4: Communication

How often do you and your partner make time to catch up with each other? Do you listen to each other and set aside distractions? Are you and your partner able to share your emotions and talk through challenges?

Communication is essential to nurturing the friendship exists between happy couples. You don’t have to use sophisticated techniques to communicate with your partner – the majority of communicating that takes place between you should be casual conversations where you talk together about anything that makes you feel closer and more connected.

When you and your partner communicate, you know about their lives, hopes, challenges, how they want to be treated, and much more. And they know the same about you.

Sharing your thoughts and feelings is important because everyone changes over time. Without discussing how you feel and taking the time to explain how new habits or beliefs fit into your life, and listening to your partner when they share the same things, you and your partner can become increasingly distant and even feel like strangers to each other.

When communication is part of your relationship, you’re likely to be treated the way you want more often. What you want from your partner may seem very obvious to you, but it isn’t always as clear to them. You could know you had a rough day at work and need to be left alone, but if you don’t tell your partner, they can think you’re mad at them and feel hurt and worried, even though your behaviour has nothing to do with them.

This also applies to what makes you happy. If you wish your partner would text you more often, or they surprised you on your lunch break once and you’d love for them to do it again, tell them so they know what you like.

Communicating and sharing your personal beliefs and experiences can be very challenging, especially if you struggle with vulnerability. This is why your relationship must be based on respect – so you know your partner already thinks highly and will continue to do so, equality – so you’re both able to speak and be listened to knowing that your thoughts and emotions will be respected, and trust – so you know your partner won’t use what you told them to hurt you.

Communicating your beliefs and emotions can be uncomfortable, but it’s necessary. Your emotions can be complicated, even to yourself, so you must be willing to openly and honestly share them and make sure you understand each other.

healthy relationships

If you and your partner treat each other well, you’ll work together to make life better for one another

Healthy relationships require positivity

Your relationship is unlikely to have these qualities if it isn’t positive. Relationship that aren’t positive can’t be healthy, enriching, or enjoyable.

A positive relationship means that you and your partner typically think the best of each other. You’re forgiving of mistakes, assume your partner had good intentions or a reasonable explanation when they let you down, and you easily remind yourself of what you like and love about your partner when they irritate you. Because your relationship makes you happy, when your partner upsets you, you want to restore your relationship as soon as possible.

In order for relationships to be positive, your positive interactions must outweigh the negative interactions by a ratio of five to one. This means that every time you or your partner does something the other doesn’t like, there must be at least five interactions that you both enjoy.

If you aren’t achieving this ratio, your relationship is in danger of becoming negative. Couples in negative relationships aren’t forgiving of each other. They expect to be disappointed and are therefore hypervigilant for their partner to do something wrong while ignoring or minimising everything else their partner does. This acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy that leads to disappointment and more negativity. Negative relationships are exhausting and don’t improve your life the way a positive relationship can.

Relationships are likely to become negative when partners are disrespectful, ignore each other’s needs and desires, question each other, and don’t communicate.

Not all relationships are good or healthy. But many struggling relationships can be improved by developing respect, equality, trust and communication. Incorporating these qualities into how you treat each other helps you want to look for ways to make your partner happy and improve the relationship, which they’re likely to do as well.

Healthy relationships enrich your life in countless ways. This is why it’s worth addressing challenges in your relationship and doing what is necessary to be a good partner. Although they take energy and effort at times, healthy and strong relationships are more than worth the effort they take to build and maintain.

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