Is it a Good Relationship... or Not?

by Andrea M. Darcy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

Doubting your partnership is a good thing? And truth be told, not really that sure what healthy relationships look like in the first place?

What is a healthy relationship?

For starters, they aren’t like anything like what the movies or social media portray.

A healthy relationship does not fall from the sky perfectly formed, it does not always feel amazing, and it doesn’t always look pretty. But it is something you are always becoming your best self in.

What ingredients make for healthy relationships?

1. You feel known and accepted for who you are.

Always working to act differently to please a partner? Or changing the way you dress, the music you listen to, and the hobbies you have to ‘fit’ with him or her? This is codependency, not a healthy relationship. A good relationship means you can be yourself, and all of yourself, and feel accepted and supported.

2. You aren’t waiting for your partner to change.

Here’s the other side of the coin - you also have to accept your partner as they are. If you are dating someone but only as you are sure who they might be, one day, with your help? Again, codependency, not healthy relating.

3. You feel safe.

If you tend to go for dangerous, exciting relationships, because they are ‘fun’, just know that they always take a psychological toll. Healthy relationships feel safe. They create a space for you to grow as a person, not burnout and become your worst self.

4. Your feel supported, and you give support in return.

Have a partner who always criticises or mocks your ideas for the future? Or are you the one who keeps telling your partner to be realistic and accept what they have? A good partnership means accepting and supporting each others future goals.

5. There is good listening going on.

When you share your feelings and thoughts, do you feel listened to, or brushed off? And when your partner shares with you, do you try to listen, or just criticise? Yes, it’s normal to have communication issues in relationships. But there should at least be an effort to hear and understand each other.

If a partner ever tells you to not talk, that you are not interesting, to shut up and not make noise… these can all be signs of psychological abuse, where one partner diminishes and controls the other.

6. You can engage in productive conflict.

Conflict is part of healthy relationships. Disagreements help us establish boundaries, learn about each other, and, if done well, can strengthen a relationship. If conflict is instead a big deal, if it leads to unkindness instead of fair play, or days or retribution, you are not in a healthy relationship.

7. Navigating life change together generally goes well.

Relationships work best when tough times make the relationship stronger, not weaker. If you can’t rely on your partner when stress hits, it can lead to a lot of bitterness and disconnection.

8. Saying no is not a problem.

Personal boundaries are an important part of a strong relationship. Remember, you are two separate people. You don’t have to always agree or say yes. You should be able to say no to a demand without big drama every time.

9. You have your own life and hobbies outside the relationship.

Thought an ideal relationship meant you do everything together? Absolutely not. That is usually an addictive relationship, not a healthy one. It’s important to maintain your identity and keep your interests.

10. Your happiness and wellbeing doesn't rely on the other person.

This is a big red flag of an unhealthy relationship, and a sign that you need to work on your self-esteem and identity.

Relationship are absolutely part of our happiness and wellbeing. But if we are lost without a relationship, then there is an issue.

A healthy relationship is not two lines merging. It is two lines running happily parallel in the same direction.

11. And yes, there is trust.

Note that just because one partner betrays another does not necessarily mean a relationship is over or there is no trust at all. Betrayal is horrible, but if it comes after a long time spent building up other forms of trust, sometimes relationships can survive and strengthen. But if a partner is always cheating, lying, and being devious, then it’s simply not a healthy relationship.

12. Calm reigns more than drama.

Dramatic relationships can be exciting and sexy. But they tend to drain us and monopolise us, and negatively affect other parts of our lives, such as our careers. And drama is addictive.

Or try this quick test...

Try to imagine you and your partner together in a decade. Does it make you feel calm, good safe? Great.

Do you instead feel anxious, trapped, panicked, or exhausted? Might be time to look at what is keeping you in this relationship, or if you have unresolved childhood issues that mean all relationships stress you out.

Time to get help with relating and attract real love at last? Book a therapist you like at a price you can afford now, and start making better choices.

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