Relationships are an important part of a healthy life. Research has consistently shown that social connections are critical for both mental and physical health. People who have healthy relationships have better health outcomes, are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors, and have a decreased risk of mortality.
For example, research has shown that people in secure romantic relationships have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
It is important to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. Every relationship has a mix of both healthy and unhealthy characteristics. What makes a bond positive is that each person recognizes that these bonds take work and each person must strive to maintain the connection and remedy problems.
People often spend a lot of time talking about how to spot a bad relationship, but there is a lot less discussion about what exactly constitutes a healthy relationship. How can you know if your relationship is healthy and what can you do to make an okay relationship even better?
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Do you have trust in one another?
- Do you respect each other?
- Do you support each other’s interests and efforts?
- Are you honest and open with each other?
- Are you able to maintain your individual identity?
- Do you talk about your feelings, hopes, fears, and dreams?
- Do you feel and express fondness and affection?
- Is there equality and fairness in your relationship?
Every person’s needs are different. For example, some people have higher needs for openness and affection than others do. In a healthy relationship, each person is able to get what they need.
Characteristics of Healthy Relationships
While all relationships are different, there are some key characteristics that help differentiate a healthy interpersonal connection from an unhealthy one.