What is a Healthy Relationship?
A healthy relationship is one that’s supportive, honest, and has a positive impact on the lives of both people involved. Relationship health is important for all relationships, not just those that are romantic. As an essential component of any well-rounded life, healthy relationships are important to cultivate for people of all ages.
An unhealthy relationship can cause stress, discomfort, and even harm. This makes it important to understand and avoid the makings of an unhealthy relationship. When communication, boundaries, and/or respect are compromised in a relationship, it often has a negative impact on at least one of the people in the relationship.
To develop and maintain a healthy relationship, it’s important for both parties to be conscientious and respectful. Some relationships may start off healthy and become unhealthy over time, or vice versa. Oftentimes, a lack of empathy can lead to toxicity in a relationship. While an unhealthy or “toxic” relationship can be fixed, it’s important for the unhealthy behaviors to be recognized and addressed in order to regain trust. Not all unhealthy relationships can be fixed, however, and one may need to walk away from it in order to regain comfort and a sense of self.
Signs of Relationship Issues
Signs of a Healthy Relationship
While no relationship is perfect, a healthy relationship is one in which both parties strive to maintain positivity, respect, and communication. The following are common signs of a healthy relationship:
- The relationship moves at a pace that both people are comfortable with
- Mutual trust is present; you know that the other person wouldn’t intentionally hurt you or your relationship
- Both people are independent and confident as individuals
- Both people engage in activities apart from the relationship
- Both people engage with friends and family apart from the relationship
- Both people provide comfort and support to each other
- Both people can be completely honest with each other without fear for the other person’s response
- Both people are interested in the others’ activities
- Neither person fears violence in the relationship
- There is mutual respect for opinions, beliefs, feelings, privacy, and boundaries
- The relationship is balanced and equal
- Conflict in the relationship is resolved fairly
Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship
If you’re in an unhealthy relationship, you may experience one or more of the following:
- Feeling pressured to change, quit activities, or stop seeing family/other friends
- Fear over disagreeing with the other person
- A lack of privacy and/or boundaries
- Feeling dependent on the other person
- Conflict in the relationship isn’t resolved fairly
- Conflict often leads to yelling or violence
- Trying to manipulate or feeling manipulated by the other person
- Inequality and unfairness in the relationship
- Pressure to have sex or engage in unsafe safe
- Criticism over how you behave, dress, etc.
How are Relationship Issues Resolved?
If you suspect that you’re in an unhealthy relationship, you can seek professional help. Receiving professional help can ease the stress and emotional trauma that can result from a toxic relationship.
Therapy, either for couples or individuals, is the best treatment option for unhealthy relationships. Through talk therapy, people in unhealthy relationships can learn about healthy coping styles and set positive relationship goals. In the case of couples therapy, the involvement of a neutral third party, the therapist, can help to settle conflict in a productive manner. With consistent couples therapy, people in an unhealthy relationship can develop strategies to fairly resolve conflicts on their own.
It’s important to note that for an unhealthy relationship to benefit from therapy, both people must be willing to make an effort. It takes significant time and energy to resolve problems in an unhealthy relationship. If one person isn’t willing to commit to recovering the relationship, couples therapy is unlikely to help.
Not all unhealthy relationships can be treated. A relationship can be past the point of repair, especially if one partner is fearful of the other, or if the bond between the two people has faded. If you’re coming out of an unhealthy relationship, therapy can help you process thoughts and emotions. Therapy can help you move on from the breakup and better understand how to foster healthy relationships in the future.