Define healthy relationships
As I’ve written before, the term “healthy relationships” doesn’t necessarily pertain to just romantic partners; it can also include family and friends. A handout I received during an event with Hanover Safe Place (see image above) listed the following characteristics as being part of a healthy relationship:
- Self-esteem: Feeling positive about yourself before you’re able to take care of partners, friends, and family
- Communication: Talking out problems, feelings, and ideas, but also being a good listener
- Agreements: Promising to be respectful and follow “rules of relationships”
- Connections: Having more than one relationship so as to not remain isolated
- Balance: A give and take between the two people in the relationship
Are you in a healthy relationship?
An article in Psychology Today, written by Alice Boyes, Ph.D., goes a few steps further. It lists 50 characteristics of healthy relationships. By clicking the link, you can read through these characteristics; if you can answer “yes” to most of these statements, it’s likely you’re in a healthy relationship. Remember to be truthful with yourself!
There are also questions you can ask yourself about your relationships (see above handout). These questions vary, but include:
- Do you make decisions together? Give examples.
- Do you trust and believe them? Do they trust and believe you?
- Is your relationship built on choices, not pressure?
What to take away
Healthy relationships are built on equality between the partners. One person should not have most of the power in the relationship! Being in communication with one another, giving as well as receiving, and keeping the relationship balanced are all important to maintain a healthy relationship.