We all know there’s plenty of toxic relationships out there. We’ve seen them, and for many of us we have been in them. But how do you know if you’re in a healthy relationship and why is it so important to have one?
A healthy relationship is one where both members feel valued, love and equal. It doesn’t mean you don’t have insecurities or you don’t argue. These can both be normal and healthy elements to a relationship (to a degree).
Sometimes relationships get a little out of balance and we need a bit of a check up of sorts. You’d never let your car go for years without a service so why should you expect your relationship to be able to?
It’s good to actually take some time to assess your relationship every now and then. Is it where you want it to be? Are you getting out of it what you want? Is it healthy?
These signs of a healthy relationship may be blazingly obvious but sometimes we need things written in black and white for us to see that we are on the right path.
1 – You both understand the need for personal space and for time alone.
You also both understand the need for time together. This doesn’t mean that you don’t want to be around each other… time alone is important, even more so if you are an introvert.
Some people need more time alone than others but we need to understand that time alone is just as important as time together. This gives you a chance to recharge and an opportunity to just be you as well.
2 – You can talk to each other about anything, without feeling like it will be used against you.
Have you ever hesitated in telling your partner something because you are worried they will be upset and use it against you in the future?
This should never be the case – while we sometimes get worked up and worried about sharing our feelings, they should never be used against each other. We should feel free to express ourselves without fear of repercussions.
3 – You support each other.
You may not always understand why something is important to your significant other but if it is important to them, then it should be important to you too.
This is particularly relevant when you are sharing your goals with each other, you should feel built up and supported rather than being told something isn’t possible.
4 – You don’t hide secrets from your past.
Your partner knows the names of all your exes and why you broke up. They know about the time you got fired from your job, even though you told everyone else you quit.
Everything that has happened in your past has brought you to where you are today – you might not be happy with it or particularly proud but it has happened and cannot be changed.
Your past is nowhere near as important as your present and you should never feel like you need to hide details.
5 – You never go to bed angry.
You talk things out, you don’t have to agree but you don’t go to sleep angry, even if it takes until 4am to be in a good place. Otherwise, that negative energy will carry on to the next day and give more fuel to the fire.
You don’t even have to resolve the issue – but you need to be able to stop and take a break from it, cuddle, kiss and be close to each other. You can continue to resolve the issue the next day, or even seek outside help if you need to.
6 – You say ‘thank you’ to each other and mean it.
You appreciate the little things… emptying the dishwasher, doing an extra load of laundry, refuelling your car for you, bringing you a cup of coffee in bed… it’s the little things that get us through each day and make us fall even more in love with each other.
Saying ‘thank you’ isn’t just a response, but a genuine expression of gratitude. Make eye contact, say it when it’s not expected and be authentic.
7 – You never feel isolated.
You never feel like you can’t spend time with your family or friends and your wonderful partner even encourages it.
They may not like your family and they may not get along with your friends but if someone is important to you, then you partner should never keep you from seeing them. And they should never make you feel guilty for spending time with others.
8 – You don’t want to ‘fix’ them.
You need to accept your loved one for who they are – you don’t pick out traits that you want to change. Have you ever said ‘my partner would be perfect if only he would…’
Some people do talk like this and do try and change their significant others. They aren’t broken… you fell in love with them for a reason, you need to learn to look past any traits or habits you find to be unfavourable and focus on the ones that made you fall in love with them (this totally excludes leaving the toilet seat up…).
9 – You share responsibilities.
I recently read a post on another blog about a woman’s resentment when her friends said ‘oh your husband helps you so much.’ As in, helping her because it was her responsibility to do everything.
A relationship is equal – and that may look different for everyone but you don’t help your wife and you don’t help your husband, you take care of your responsibilities. If that means you work and your husband stays at home then that is fine, but both have equal shared
responsibility for your family and for your house. How you divide that up is between you and your partner and what works for you.
10 – You smile, often.
As much as I would love to say, you always smile, I know this is impossible. My rule has always been that a relationship should make you happier more often than it makes you sad – as soon as that balance tips, then you know you need to take action.
You should always be looking for ways to make each other smile, even if it is as simple as leaving a little note on the counter before you leave for work. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference.
For most of us, relationships don’t just happen. You have your peaks and troughs; you have your good times and your bad. But it is how you handle yourself and your relationship through those times that really counts.