Our relationships are essential for our well-being. Having good, strong bonds allows us to be happy, and research shows that loneliness is about as harmful to us as smoking for our physical and emotional health.
Toxic relationships, however, can be as harmful as being alone, leading to problems with our well-being. A good relationship is a great thing to have – but how can you tell that your relationship is healthy?
Here are the seven signs that can show you the truth.
1. You are equal
In a healthy relationship, you both stand on equal ground. You share the responsibilities and duties of the relationship, you both give your opinions and these hold equal weight.
Equality doesn’t always mean a strict 50-50 split of everything. It means that both partners give and take in a way that is comfortable for them and both of them matter the same, without placing one partner above the other.
2. You don’t need to pretend
In a healthy relationship, you are free to be yourself. You don’t need to pretend or change who you are in order to be accepted. Instead, you are able to express your true feelings and thoughts without fear of rejection.
A healthy relationship goes in-depth and allows you to remove any protective layers from your true self.
3. You can say no
A healthy relationship involves a lot of respect for one’s boundaries. In a toxic one, your partner might often push you to do things you don’t want to do and ignore it when you say no.
A partner who respects you also respects your boundaries and allows you to say no without pushing you to engage in things you don’t want to do. Being able to set your boundaries and respecting those of your partner is important for defining a healthy relationship.
4. You care about each other’s feelings
A good relationship involves a degree of sensitivity and caring for what the other person is feeling. There is a constant dialogue about each person’s experiences and emotions, and there is always an openness to changing something that is not working.
When your feelings are validated and acknowledged, it is definitely a good sign.
5. You feel more positive
A healthy relationship is likely to have its ups and downs and conflicts as well. This is perfectly normal. However, a good relationship is likely to bring more positive emotions than negative ones.
You should feel safe and comforted with your partner, not anxious or sad, or angry most of the time. Unhealthy relationships might have moments of happiness, but they often create a situation where you feel mostly bad when with your partner.
6. Your mistakes are accepted
Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. In a good relationship, this will be understood and acknowledged. Your mistakes will be forgiven and accepted, which means that they will not be thrown in your face time and again or brought up in other situations.
At the same time, your partner will have the same freedom to make mistakes and apologize for them. In a toxic relationship, a mistake might be unforgivable, and it remains a fixture in all future conflicts. A healthy relationship allows you to let go and move on.
7. You can be vulnerable
While some associate vulnerability with weakness, in reality, vulnerability is important for any close relationship. When we allow ourselves to drop our defenses and connect with the other person, we are truly building a deep bond. When we are vulnerable, we can share and show our true selves.
In a healthy relationship, you feel comfortable with vulnerability and allow yourself to relax, knowing that it’s a safe space to be yourself.
A healthy relationship is not entirely free of conflict or issues, but rather it is defined by how these issues are handled and how things are most of the time. Two partners who can talk to each other, reveal their true feelings, and show vulnerability can build a healthy relationship by being willing to commit and work through problems together, and that’s an incredibly valuable relationship to have.
“A great relationship doesn’t happen because of the love you had in the beginning, but how well you continue building love until the end.”