Being in a healthy relationship is probably one of the ultimate goals of your grown-up life. It’s something that can make a huge difference in your happiness and sense of contentment with your life.
A successful relationship means different things to different people, but there are a few characteristics most people agree on.
What is a healthy relationship?
We all know that one couple who just seem made for each other. It’s not that they have the perfect relationship, or that they never fight, it’s just that their connection with one another is real. It’s adult. It’s healthy.
They represent the relationship goals everyone talks about. Their relationship is built on respect, honesty, and trust. It involves compromise and a lot of communication.
It means fighting fair. It means supporting one another and being faithful no matter what. A healthy relationship is easy to spot in others, but how do you go about having one?
The warning signs of an unhealthy relationship
Before we dive into the 13 secrets to a healthy relationship, it’s important to point out some of the signs that your relationship might not quite be on the right track.
No matter how much you love someone or how hard you try, sometimes it just doesn’t work. You are stuck in a toxic loop with someone and you just need to get out. Here is a list that might ring a bell:
- You disagree on everything and end up fighting all the time
- He cheats on you, but you keep taking him back because he promises to change
- There is verbal, emotional, or physical abuse in the relationship
- He’s emotionally immature and not ready for a serious relationship
- He humiliates you in front of your friends and family
- He takes but doesn’t give back
- You can’t really trust him or rely on him
If you are dating someone who falls into one or more of the above categories, you need a wake-up call. You know you deserve better than that! In fact, below is a list of 13, healthy relationship qualities to keep in mind.
1. He treats you like a lady
There’s something about a man who just knows how to treat a woman right. It’s reflected in his behavior towards you and any other women he interacts with. He’s a true gentleman – and he owns it. He respects women, he doesn’t belittle them.
He doesn’t mock women with his mates. He roots for women. He adores his mother.
That’s the kind of man you should be building a future with. That’s the man that you need for a healthy relationship. He should be your biggest fan and help you be your best self.
2. You’ve only got eyes for each other
A healthy relationship is built on mutual love and adoration. There is no place for playing games, avoiding one another, sulking, or flirting with others. If you’ve found the man who’s got all your attention, you are one lucky woman.
The same goes for him – you need to make sure you are on the same page about each other. Have you defined the relationship? Are you exclusive, or is he still chatting to other girls behind your back?
3. You fight fair
Fighting is a completely normal part of any relationship, but it’s only healthy when the two partners know how to fight fair and don’t let their arguments get ugly.
They don’t attack or abuse one another. They know how to discuss things as adults and how to move from conflict to understanding and growth.
Fighting fair means:
- Cooling down any strong emotions before talking to each other
- Using “I” statements like “I feel disrespected when you do X”, not “You are horrible!”
- Keeping it clear and concise
- Focusing on the issue at hand and not bringing up the past
- Avoiding generalising with statements like “You always do that!”
- Facing up to one’s mistakes and admitting it
- Being able to be the bigger person for the sake of the peace
Find the person who you don’t mind fighting fair with for the rest of your life – after all, even a bit of negative communication is better than no communication. Talk things through before they become a real issue.
4. You are being authentic
When you are in a healthy relationship, you know you can be your true self and you don’t need to worry about what the other person will think about you. You are 100% you, 100% of the time. You can goof about, be vulnerable, be honest, and not be judged.
That’s the true beauty of being with the right person. The same applies to them – you accept him for who he is and you don’t have an agenda to change him into something he isn’t. You don’t treat him as your project.
The best way to achieve this is to make peace with your expectations regarding who this person should be and how they should behave. There will always be things about him that annoy you, but it’s up to you how you view them – as annoying or kind of cute.
Not trying to change each other is a key ingredient to a successful relationship. It comes with the humility to accept another human being for all they are – warts and all. It also means you are protecting yourself from potential disappointment.
If your expectations of him aren’t met (the same goes for his expectations of you), you will need to make a decision – accept them for who they are, or move on from them and find someone else.
5. You don’t let jealousy in
Jealousy is a tricky thing. A lot of people out there might tell you that a little bit of jealousy is always healthy in a committed relationship. It’s a sign that the person really cares about you and doesn’t want to lose you.
However, jealousy can very quickly get out of control. The best thing to do is to not give each other reasons to get jealous in the first place. That’s the true sign of a healthy relationship.
At the end of the day, if you truly trust your partner, you won’t have time to worry about other people.
6. You demonstrate your love daily
Showing each other love is all about the small things. Two people in a healthy relationship know how important it is to demonstrate their love and care daily. It means taking care of each other and not doing things like keeping a tally on who did what around the house.
Make him a coffee in the morning. Hug him often. Text him just to say how good-looking he is. Buy him cute little gifts without occasion. All the little things combined are what make a relationship stronger and more loving.
7. You give each other space
Two people can’t and shouldn’t be together 24/7, it’s just not natural to expect that in a relationship. If you want to have a healthy relationship you shouldn’t stand in the way of your loved one’s hobbies.
Let him have time on his own and time with his friends without you and see it as a healthy separation. Remember how your partner was when you fell in love with him, and make sure you don’t lose each other in the relationship.
There needs to be the right balance between interdependence and independence in order for the relationship to work and for both partners to feel happy. When the balance shifts, it can only lead to feelings of resentment or feeling trapped.
Taking time away from one another is essential for a successful relationship. It helps to miss each other more and increases love.
8. The relationship is a priority
There are many important things in life, and a relationship is healthy when a couple knows what comes first – the relationship. They don’t test each other’s boundaries by putting other things first. They don’t neglect each other’s needs.
When you truly love someone, you make sure that your number one priority is the relationship and their happiness.
9. Physical intimacy is essential
Physical intimacy and sex are a key part of any healthy relationship, and it’s quite easy to neglect that area, especially in a long-term relationship with a lot of other priorities.
Make time for making love regularly and use the power of touch to remind your partner how attracted you are to them.
10. You plan for the future together
Any healthy relationship requires a fair dose of planning together – beyond what to get for takeaway or where to go on summer holiday. It’s about really planning for the future together and having open and honest conversations about where you stand on a variety of topics:
- Owning a house together
- Moving countries
- Job aspirations
- Having children
One of the best things you can do for a healthy relationship is to have a joined bucket list together. List all of the things you want to have or achieve together and talk about how you are going to get there.
11. You push each other to succeed
A healthy relationship is all about both of you pushing each other to do better. You know each of your partner’s strengths and you help him to do well in life. The same goes for him – he’s your biggest fan and always roots for you.
12. You are soulmates
Not everyone is lucky enough to meet their soulmate, but when you do, you just know it. And even if not everything is easy or perfect, that one reason means you can build something really special together.
Your soulmate is the one person who is just right for you. The one person you want to always be with. It’s much easier to have a successful relationship if you simply find the right person.
13. You make each other laugh
Humor fixes everything! Life can be tough, but if you and your partner can usually laugh it off, you will soon find out that you are a lot happier than the average couple. Don’t take things too seriously and you will attract more positivity in your life.
Couples who laugh often don’t waste time on sulking or petty fights either. They know how to make each other smile and move on from silly arguments.
Now that you know the 13 secrets to a healthy relationship, it’s time to take stock of your relationship and be honest with yourself – is your relationship successful or not?