What Makes a Relationship Healthy? - Ford Focus Electric Forum
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Old 09-12-2021, 04:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What Makes a Relationship Healthy?

If you have or want a romantic relationship, you probably want a healthy one, right? But whatís a healthy relationship, exactly?

Well, it depends.

Healthy relationships donít look the same for everyone since people have different needs. Your specific needs around communication, sex, affection, space, shared hobbies or values, and so on may change throughout life.

So, a relationship that works in your 20s may be nothing like the relationship you want in your 30s.

Relationships that donít align with more traditional definitions of a relationship can still be healthy. For example, people who practice polyamory or ethical nonmonogamy might define a healthy relationship somewhat differently than people who practice monogamy.

In short, ďhealthy relationshipĒ is a broad term because what makes a relationship thrive depends on the needs of the people in it.

But a few key signs do stand out in flourishing relationships.

What it looks like
ďOne thing healthy relationships largely share is adaptability,Ē says Lindsey Antin, a therapist in Berkeley, California. ďThey adapt to circumstances and the fact weíre always changing and going through different phases in life.

Hereís a look at some other hallmarks of healthy relationships.

Open communication
Partners in healthy relationships typically talk about the things going on in their lives: successes, failures, and everything in between.

You should be comfortable talking about any issues that come up, from things that happen in everyday life, such work or friend stress, to more serious issues, such as mental health symptoms or financial concerns.

Even if they have a different opinion, they listen without judgment and then share their perspective.

Communication goes both ways. Itís important you also feel that theyíll voice their own concerns or thoughts as they come up.

People in nonmonogamous relationships may place even more value on emotional check-ins and frequent communication about whatís happening with other partners.

Trust
Trust involves honesty and integrity. You donít keep secrets from each other. When youíre apart, you donít worry about them pursuing other people.

But trust goes beyond believing they wonít cheat or lie to you.

It also means you feel safe and comfortable with them and know they wonít hurt you physically or emotionally. You know they have your best interests in mind but also respect you enough to encourage you to make your own choices.

A sense of yourself as a separate person
Healthy relationships are best described as interdependent. Interdependence means you rely on each other for mutual support but still maintain your identity as a unique individual.

In other words, your relationship is balanced. You know you have their approval and love, but your self-esteem doesnít depend on them. Although youíre there for each other, you donít depend on each other to get all of your needs met.

You still have friends and connections outside the relationship and spend time pursuing your own interests and hobbies.

Curiosity
One key characteristic of healthy, long-term love is curiosity.

This means youíre interested in their thoughts, goals, and daily life. You want to watch them grow into their best self. Youíre not fixated on who they used to be or who you think they should be.

ďYou hold flexible mindsets about each other,Ē Antin adds.

Curiosity also means youíre willing to consider or talk over changes to your relationship structure if aspects of your existing relationship become less fulfilling. It also involves realism. You see them for who they truly are and care about that person, not an idealized version of them.

Time apart
Most people in healthy relationships prioritize spending time together, though the amount of time you spend together can vary based on personal needs, work and other commitments, living arrangements, and so on.

But you also recognize the need for personal space and time on your own. Maybe you spend this time relaxing solo, pursuing a hobby, or seeing friends or family.

Whatever you do, you donít need to spend every moment together or believe your relationship suffers when you spend some time apart.

Playfulness or lightheartedness
Itís important to make time for fun and spontaneity when the mood is right. If you can joke and laugh together, thatís a good sign.

Sometimes life challenges or distress might affect one or both of you. This can temporarily change the tone of your relationship and make it hard to relate to each other in your usual ways.

But being able to share lighter moments that help relieve tension, even briefly, strengthens your relationship even in tough times.

Physical intimacy
Intimacy often refers to sex, but not always. Not everyone enjoys or wants sex. Your relationship can still be healthy without it ó as long as youíre both on the same page about getting your needs met.

If neither of you have interest in sex, physical intimacy might involve kissing, hugging, cuddling, and sleeping together. Whatever type of intimacy you share, physically connecting and bonding is important.

If you both enjoy sex, your physical relationship is most likely healthy when you:

feel comfortable initiating and talking about sex
can positively handle rejection
can discuss desires
feel safe expressing your interest in more or less sex
Healthy intimacy also involves respecting sexual boundaries. This includes:

not pressuring partners about sex or specific sex acts when they say no
sharing information about other partners
discussing sexual risk factors
Teamwork
A strong relationship can be considered a team. You work together and support each other, even when you donít see eye to eye on something or have goals that arenít exactly the same.

In short, you have each otherís back. You know you can turn to them when youíre struggling. And youíre always ready to offer support when they need you.

Conflict resolution
Even in a healthy relationship, youíll have occasional disagreements and feel frustrated or angry with each other from time to time. Thatís completely normal. It doesnít mean your relationship is unhealthy.

What matters is how you address conflict. If you can talk about your differences politely, honestly, and with respect, youíre on the right track.

Partners who address conflict without judgment or contempt can often find a compromise or solution.

Relationship red flags
Your relationship should contribute to a sense of fulfillment, happiness, and connection. If you tend to feel more anxious, distressed, or unhappy around your partner, your relationship may be struggling.

Signs of unhealthy relationships can vary widely, so this list isnít all-inclusive. But it may help point out some possible issues.

One of you tries to control or change the other
ďWe are never in control of changing another person,Ē Antin says.

If youíre concerned about a specific behavior, you should feel comfortable enough to bring it up. Itís OK to express your feelings and ask them to consider making changes. But itís not OK to tell them what to do or attempt to control their behavior.

If they do something that really bothers you and you canít accept it, the relationship may not have long-term potential.

Your partner doesnít respect your boundaries
Boundaries can come into play across your relationship, from respectful communication to privacy needs. If you set a boundary and they push against it or pressure you to change it, thatís a serious red flag.

Maybe youíve said, ďI need personal space when I get home from work. Iím happy to see you, but I need to de-stress before any physical affection.Ē

But they continue to come up to you right when you get home, trying to kiss you and pull you into the bedroom. When you say no, they apologize and say ďthey just canít help themselves.Ē

You might brush this off as a sign of affection and keep restating the boundary, hoping theyíll get it eventually. But their behavior shows disrespect for your needs.

You donít spend much time together
Relationships often develop when people enjoy each otherís company and want to spend even more time together. Life events can sometimes get in the way of your time together, but these changes are usually temporary.

Your relationship might be struggling if you consistently see less of each other without a clear reason, such as family difficulties or more responsibilities at work.

Other warning signs include feeling distant with each other or relieved when you arenít together. You might even try to find excuses to avoid spending time together.

The relationship feels unequal
Healthy relationships tend to be fairly well balanced. You might equally share finances, or balance out a lower income by running more errands.

But relationship equality can also relate to intangible things, such as affection, communication, and relationship expectations.

Periods of inequality can happen from time to time. One of you might temporarily lose your income, struggle to help with chores because of illness, or feel less affectionate due to stress or other emotional turmoil.

But if your relationship regularly feels unbalanced in any way, this can become problematic.

They say negative or hurtful things about you or others
Thereís nothing wrong with showing concern when your partner does something that worries you. But in a healthy relationship, partners generally take care to express their feelings in helpful, productive ways.

Itís not healthy to constantly criticize each other or say intentionally hurtful things, especially about personal choices, such as food, clothing, or favorite TV shows. Criticism that makes you feel ashamed or bad about yourself is generally unproductive.

Also note how they talk about others. Your relationship with each other could seem perfectly healthy, but if they use hate speech, slurs, or make discriminatory remarks about others, consider what this behavior says about them as a person.

You donít feel heard in the relationship
Maybe you donít feel heard because they seem disinterested when you bring up a problem or share something thatís been on your mind. Or you might have a hard time sharing your opinion or talking about serious issues because you worry theyíll just brush you off.

Miscommunications can happen, of course. But if you do talk through an issue and they seem receptive but donít make any changes or seem to have completely forgotten what you talked about by the next day, thatís also a warning sign.

Youíre afraid of expressing disagreement
Partners should always feel safe to have their own opinions, even when this means they disagree. If your partner responds to your (different) viewpoint with dismissal, contempt, or other rudeness, this often suggests they donít respect you or your ideas.

If you find yourself censoring everything you say because you worry about their reaction, or feel like youíre ďwalking on eggshellsĒ every day, as Antin puts it, it may be time to seek professional help.

If you fear physical or verbal abuse, talk to a therapist as soon as you can. Donít hesitate to reach out to friends and family for additional support, too.

You donít feel happy or comfortable around your partner
For many people, key relationship goals include increased happiness and life satisfaction. If you feel uneasy or unhappy all the time, the relationship may not be meeting your needs.

This can happen even when youíre both putting effort into the relationship. People change over time, so feeling dissatisfied and trapped doesnít necessarily mean either of you have done anything ďwrong.Ē You may have just become different people who no longer fit well together.

Disagreements or discussions donít go anywhere
Healthy conflict resolution typically leads to solutions or compromise. Maintaining a relationship is an ongoing process, so you might not work everything out right away. But you usually feel good about your conversations afterward. You usually see some progress.

Itís generally not a good sign when you find yourself talking in circles or about the same issues all the time. Maybe thereís never any improvement, no matter how much you discuss something. Maybe they eventually just shut you out.
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Old 09-13-2021, 09:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi there, thanks for that link. Healthy relationships are different for everyone. Different people have different needs. So, healthy relationships also would be different. Everyone had specific needs around communication, sex, affection, space, shared hobbies or values. Everything may change throughout life. We all have different values, so health relationships are those that are common for you and your partner.
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