A loving and healthy relationship is something everyone desires, but creating one takes hard work from both partners. Every characteristic of your relationship, such as how you communicate or how you feel when you’re around each other, contributes to the relationship as a whole. Keep reading to learn more about what makes a relationship healthy and resources that are available to you.
What characteristics make up your relationship? A healthy relationship is made up of characteristics like encouragement and support, whereas an unhealthy relationship is made up of characteristics like put-downs and disrespect. Ask yourself these five questions to find out how healthy your relationship is.
1. How Does This Relationship Make Me Feel?
When you are with your significant other, you deserve to feel respected, happy, comfortable, and free to be yourself. Are you excited before you see your partner? Does your significant other respect your values and opinions? Do you leave your time together feeling happy?
- Your partner is supportive of the things you do and encourages you to try new things.
- Your partner makes you feel happy with a general feeling of comfort and freedom to be yourself.
- Your partner listens when you have something on your mind and is uplifting with his or her words and makes you feel special.
- When you are together, you feel like you can’t do anything right or like no one else would want you.
- You feel anxious around your partner with a general feeling of “walking on eggshells.”
- Your partner uses more put-downs than compliments and is critical of what you wear or what you say.
2. How Do My Friends & Family Feel About This Relationship?
The opinion of your friends and family matters because they know you well and want what’s best for you. Ask your friends and family specifically what they like or dislike about you and your partner being together. Has being with your partner strengthened your friendships, or do you see your friends and family significantly less than you used to?
- Your partner gets along with your friends and family.
- You and your partner are able to spend time together with friends and family.
- Although your partner might miss you, he or she is supportive and understanding when you spend a weekend with the girls, have a guy’s night out, or go on a family vacation.
- Your partner does not attempt to get along with your closest friends and family.
- Your partner complains that you spend too much time with your family and rarely accompanies you to get-togethers.
- Your partner attempts to control who you see and when, constantly checks in on you when you’re away, or gets extremely jealous when you talk to someone of the opposite sex and accuses you of flirting or cheating.
3. How Do We Resolve Conflict?
Conflict is normal in relationships, romantic or otherwise. The question is not if there is conflict, but what causes conflict and how it is managed. Are you and your partner able to listen to one another and compromise, or do you sweep conflict under the rug and/or place blame?
- You and your partner can both express your thoughts and feelings to each other.
- You are able to disagree with your partner.
- You keep your personal conflict between the two of you and may seek help resolving conflict from a trusted friend or family member together.
- Your partner may express his or her thoughts and feelings to you, but does not listen when you express yours or vice versa.
- Your partner blames you for everything or you automatically claim that the fault is yours in order to keep the peace.
- Your partner yells and humiliates you in front of other people or threatens to hurt you, your friends, your family, or themselves.
4. How Does My Partner Express Anger?
Whether it is family drama, a work-related incident, or the car breaking down, you will see your partner angry at some point. How do they express their feelings when things don’t go their way or the two of you disagree?
- Your partner is able to calm him or herself down.
- Your partner is able to talk about what happened and does not place blame on you or others.
- Your partner remains level-headed and reasonable despite being upset.
- Your partner sometimes threatens to destroy your things, or breaks/throws things as a warning when angry and you are the only one who can calm your partner down.
- Your partner punishes you with the silent treatment and will not talk about what happened or seek to solve the problem.
- Your partner is unable to control anger and often yells one minute, then is sweet and apologetic the next.
5. Does My Partner Respect My Physical Boundaries?
You get to create the limits that identify what behavior is permissible towards you and how you will respond when someone pushes or goes beyond those limits. Does your partner respect you when you create boundaries around your time and physical comfort level?
- Your partner gives you the time and space you need.
- Your partner knows your physical limits and respects them.
- When your partner touches you, it is affectionate and within your boundaries.
- Your partner calls and texts constantly or shows up at your workplace unannounced, especially during times of conflict.
- Your partner pressures or forces you into having sex or going farther than you want to.
- Your partner has grabbed you harshly or has shoved, choked, punched, slapped, held you down, or hurt you in some way.
Whether it has happened only once or multiple times, anyone crossing your physical boundaries is NOT okay.
If you have noticed unhealthy signs in your relationship, help and support is available. It’s important that you know you are not alone and that there are places that can offer help, support, and a safe place to process.
For assistance with domestic violence or abuse, contact one of the agencies below:
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCADV) – 1-800-33-HAVEN (42836)
Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault – 1-404-815-5261
Hope Harbour for victims of domestic violence in and around Columbus, GA – 1-706-324-3850