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9 main characteristics of a healthy relationship

When thinking about a healthy relationship, a number of examples might come to your mind: one can consider a couple’s relationship where there are no fights or impatience. Or, you might think of a couple that is successfully bringing their children up. The core idea underlying a healthy relationship is that there are a couple of universal rules that one should always take into consideration as main characteristics of a healthy relationship.



Healthy relationships are defined differently

Psychologists define their understanding of healthy relationships differently. According to clinical psychologist Bethany Cook, a healthy relationship relies on trust, mutual respect for one another, love, forgiveness, vulnerability, humor, compassion, and intimacy. Life and family coach Kristen Carter formulates the main definition of a healthy relationship by emphasizing the importance of mutual kindness, compassion, and respect. In order to lead a relationship nurtured by love, trust is critical, as well as being honest, and not criticizing or judging your partner. You should always be forgiving, knowing that each of you is a human being and that no one is imperfect. Your relationship should be prioritized and continuously nurtured by love, trust, and respect.


After analyzing the studies conducted by psychologists and specialists in this field, we can conclude that healthy relationships are defined by a couple of necessary characteristics and components. Our experts identified 9 characteristics of a healthy relationship that encompass mutual trust, respect, empathy, respect toward each other’s boundaries, unwavering honesty, forgiveness, clear and open communication, and much more. Let’s explore the key characteristics of a healthy relationship together.


1. Prioritize trust in your relationship

Building trust is a timely process, but it is the most reliable way to build a relationship upon it. In other words, healthy relationships require trust. It is significantly essential to trust your partner not only with your feelings but also with your weaknesses. Trust should exist on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. Undoubtedly, trust is not gained on the spur of the moment. It takes practice and is earned one step at a time. Even if you feel you lost the trust of your partner, you should necessarily work on it to have a healthy relationship.


2. Empathy as a one of the main characteristics of a healthy relationship

Another key component of a healthy relationship is the ability to empathize with your partner. In fact, there is no healthy partnership without empathy. According to psychologist Newman, if people lack empathy, they often see their partners as extensions of themselves. As a result, these people would just be unable to understand that their partner has desires and needs, and therefore cannot regard their partner as a separate human being.


Even in case of disputes, being empathetic allows you to listen respectfully, without criticizing or blaming your partner. It not only helps you to readily and quickly resolve the dispute but also strengthens your relationship, as your partner would feel valued.


Actually, empathy might seem scary. However, the healthiest relationships open themselves up to that vulnerability. As a well-known psychologist stated, your partner would reveal the worst part of yourself. You should not face judgment in your relationship. An empathetic family is the safest place you come to when the whole world judges.


3. Respect each other

There is no doubt that each of us would like to be in a relationship where respect is prioritized. As a clinical psychologist, science writer, and speaker Dr. Carter states, we all necessarily need to feel respected within our relationships, otherwise we will not want to stay in them. In fact, when there is no respect in a relationship the people within may start to doubt themselves and what they bring to the table, which in its turn would lead to further more serious problems. A healthy relationship necessarily should rely on trust and should honor each person’s worth.


Patel finds respect crucial to keep a relationship healthy. When there is respect, you would not be likely to engage in behaviors that will hurt your partner. So, respect triggers you to value your partner and contributes to creating trust and increasing happiness. In a nutshell, trust is one of the most critical cornerstones upon which healthy relationships rest.


4. Present unwavering honesty toward each other

In a healthy relationship, it is of pivotal importance to express willingness to share what is going on, no matter what. There is no such option as hiding behind lies and deception if you strive to make a long-lasting healthy relationship. It would be really hard to feel safe in your relationship, in case you do not believe in what your partner is telling you, or when your partner is hiding something from you. Honesty is directly linked with trust and belief in each other. Consequently, honesty is what makes your relationship last longer and healthy.


5. Respect each other’s boundaries

When being in a relationship, it is very crucial to never forget that you are two separate identities. So, your needs are separate and sometimes can be such that they cannot be shared with your partner’s needs. It is normal not to always agree on everything and admit the reality that you both may not want the same things. Moreover, it is important to have respect regarding the existing differences and not to push each other’s boundaries. It this respect, it also entails having respect toward emotional boundaries, physical boundaries, and any other types of boundaries. So, boundaries are a necessary component in a healthy and long-lasting relationship.


6. Agree on compromises

In fact, no such thing as a perfect relationship exists. It is just such a matter of thing as two people willing to respect each other as they work together on the issues that arise. Even in the best relationships, there are disagreements. However, here the most important thing is that people should be ready to communicate openly and to put themselves in their partner’s shoes, then all the issues would be readily addressed.


It is worth mentioning the experience of Podgurski, who understood the importance of compromise after getting engaged. To resolve the relationship issues they addressed, they talked really long and agreed to compromise. They agreed on constantly supporting each other with everything connected with their life, including their professional career. Partners should comprehend how they can be helpful to each other. This is what paves the way to a successful and healthy relationship.


Moreover, it is really important to comprehend that trusting each other contributes to making the right decisions, and also admitting when we are wrong. It is all about respecting who we are, without judgments and criticism. The result is a successful relationship.


7. You should try to forgive each other

Another main characteristics of a healthy relationship is forgiveness. To keep your relationship healthy and last long, you have to accept your partner without any conditions – unique behavior, quirks, flaws, and anything else connected with your partner.


Likewise, sometimes you will get hurt because of the mistakes your partner has committed. We are all human beings with our own mistakes. The key to a healthy relationship is the ability to forgive quickly, let go of any mistakes, and start over each day. So, forgiveness is very crucial to the long-term health of the relationship. You have to learn to forgive and let go of all the trespasses. Forgiveness is related to courage, vulnerability, and practice.


Undoubtedly, forgiveness does not mean accepting all the mistreatment from your partner. There are several signs of an abusive relationship that are not actually physical to readily be aware of. In a healthy relationship, the first step is to have the courage to accept them completely. Afterward, you have to clearly explain what the things are that are bothering you. In a healthy relationship, your partner will necessarily take proper actions to address all these issues.


8. Always have an open and clear communication to ensure a healthy relationship

According to well-known and professional psychologists, proper communication is the key cornerstone in a healthy relationship, that stems from openness and thoughtful listening and as a final result leads to a better connection.


After respect, communication is the second criterion in a healthy relationship. It is critical to have the ability to express your needs and have them be heard to have a mutually beneficial relationship.


So, proper and good communication in a healthy relationship is a two-way street. Sometimes, people fixate on improving their partner rather than working on improving their behavioral patterns. If you are concerned about leading a healthy relationship, just make sure to have open communication and clearly express your needs and wants.


9. Be committed to the relationship

Undoubtedly, being committed is a worth considering main characteristics of a healthy relationship. Being committed to your partner is a must. But, more importantly, you should not only be committed to your partner, but also to your relationship. If you are concerned about the health and future of your relationship, you have to implement constructive actions and behave correspondingly. You need to understand that a healthy relationship is not about getting your partner’s and your needs met, but rather the needs of your relationship.