Relationship

Signs of a healthy relationship

Don't be fooled by the initial excitement. Love is hard, and it takes work to make relationships last. Here are some signs that they're healthy and worth fighting for!

Dating Expert Janet Smith October 17, 2022 • 25 minutes read
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It’s a common refrain: you must love yourself before you can love someone else. The same could be said of relationships: a healthy relationship starts between healthy individuals.

As social beings, we all crave companionship and are driven to find someone with whom we share a deep connection. These connections are crucial for our survival, happiness, and well-being. [1] [2] And making meaningful connections with others is how we build a sense of self-worth and belonging. [3]

The emphasis on self-love and companionship doesn’t mean that every relationship will or should be a perfect, eternal source of happiness. We’re human, after all, and relationships are complex. But certain signs indicate a relationship is generally healthy, happy, and likely to last. Because it can be challenging to see them when you’re in the midst of a relationship, this article will explore the most common signs of a healthy relationship.

Relationships are not easy, especially in today’s world. Learn more on how to be happy and get advice on how to fix your relationship in this article.

What is a healthy relationship?

Green flags in relationships are signs that the relationship has long-term potential. When you’re in a relationship, looking out for green (and red) flags early on is essential. This way, you can determine whether the relationship is worth pursuing.

The most common green flags are things like having compatible lifestyles and interests, similar goals, etc. But countless little details can be signs of long-term potential with someone, whether it’s cleaning up after themselves or remembering your favorite candy bar.

In a nutshell, green flags are those things that show that someone cares about you. The more green flags you find, the more likely your relationship will become a long-term partnership.

12 signs of a healthy relationship

When we’re in a healthy relationship, we tend to feel good about ourselves. We feel supported, loved, and respected. We also feel a sense of trust and safety with our partner/s. And while all relationships will have their ups and downs, a healthy and satisfying relationship will typically have more positive than negative interactions. [6]

Healthy relationships come in all shapes and sizes, but there are some common characteristics that are worth paying attention to. If you’re wondering whether your relationship is healthy or not, here are some signs to look for.

1. There is social support from all sides

Do you have a partner who supports your life goals and dreams? If so, good for you! A supportive partner can make all the difference in helping you reach your goals and weathering the tough times. [7]

A supportive partner will also be there for you when you’re feeling down or going through a difficult time. They’ll lend a listening ear, offer words of encouragement, and be a shoulder to cry on. In short, they’ll be there for you when you need them the most.

Of course, it’s also essential to also offer support to your partner. A healthy relationship is a two-way street, after all. So make sure you’re also being supportive of your partner’s dreams and helping them grow as a person. [8]

2. You communicate well together!

You’ve probably heard it a thousand times, but it’s worth repeating: communication is key to a healthy relationship. When you and your partner can communicate openly and honestly, it’s easier to resolve conflicts, build trust, and maintain intimacy. [9]

Good communication involves listening, being able to express yourself clearly, and being respectful of your partner’s point of view - even if you don’t agree with it. It also means being receptive to feedback from your partner and considering their needs.

This is not to say that you must agree on everything - that would be impossible. But it is possible to be cooperative and compromise when you need to. [10] If you find it difficult to communicate with your partner, it may be worth seeking professional help to improve your communication skills.

In any healthy and happy relationship, both individuals are respectful of each other. Learn how to spot disrespect in your relationship so you can take steps to improve it.

3. You have healthy disagreements

Conflict and arguments are part of every relationship, romantic or not. [11] And like with friends and family, disagreements in romantic relationships provide an opportunity for you to define and assert your boundaries, learn more about your partner’s values and needs, and resolve differences. [12]

Of course, not all disagreements are created equal. Some can be more difficult to resolve than others, and some can even escalate into full-blown arguments. Healthy arguments will not lead to long-term damage; they will strengthen your relationship in the long run.

So, what makes a disagreement healthy?

That’s up to you and your partner. Every couple has different opinions on this question: What defines a healthy disagreement? It could be that both parties agree to disagree, or it might mean talking things out until you can come up with a solution together. Or maybe even just discussing the issue without coming up with a solution immediately.

However, healthy disagreements are all about the process, not the end result. So don’t get frustrated if you can’t reach an immediate resolution to your argument. You might need to revisit the issue again later on (or even multiple times). Just make sure to always communicate with each other while working through any conflict.

4. You can handle criticism well

Although criticism can result in negative interactions with your partner, it’s not always so bad. Criticism can help improve a person’s behavior, and it can be a huge predictor of relationship satisfaction in the long run. [13]

And keep in mind that good criticism should not only come from your partner. Try to listen to others when they give you feedback too! It’s always helpful to review what other people say about you.

Suppose you’re in a relationship with someone who can give and receive constructive and honest criticism, well, congratulations! This is a sign that the partnership belongs to a lasting one.

5. There is no judgment when it comes to your true selves

A healthy relationship is built on trust, respect, and support - and that includes accepting each other for who you are. Being authentic or the degree to which you can be yourself without fear of judgment is a key ingredient in healthy psychological functioning. [14] [15]

When you feel like you can be your true self around your partner, it’s a good sign that you’re in a lasting and supportive relationship. Authenticity is particularly important not just in romantic relationships, but also in self-esteem and life satisfaction. [16]

In a relationship, both individuals ideally should positively influence each other, so be on the lookout for someone who has a positive impact on you. You shouldn’t feel like you should change for the other person, they should accept you for who you are.

Love is a shared passion for two people who want to make their relationship last. These 15 signs can help determine if your bond is real.

6. You can enjoy moments of silence together

Talking constantly is not necessary for partnerships. If you can enjoy being in silence together, it’s definitely a good sign! This means that both individuals are comfortable with the other person.

In a good relationship, there should be no pressure to talk constantly. Of course, it’s fine to talk about your day and any other issues you might have - just don’t be a broken record!

Now and then, sit down with your partner and enjoy the silence together. You might find that you can totally relax in their presence. And the silence doesn’t have to be awkward at all - it can be quite nice to sit and enjoy one another’s company.

7. They pay you interest and attention

Does your partner ask you questions about yourself? Do you feel like they’re interested in you and your life? If so, this is definitely a good sign!

When we first start dating someone, we usually put our best foot forward and try to impress them. But as time goes on, it’s normal for the novelty to wear off and for us to start taking our partners for granted.

If your partner is still paying attention to you and trying to get to know you, even after months or years of being together, it shows that they’re still committed to you and care about the relationship. [17] And you might find yourself becoming more generous towards them in return, as research has shown that people become more giving to their partners who they perceive to be interested in them. [18]

8. Their lifestyle fits with yours

One of the most important factors in a relationship is shared values. Generally, the lifestyles of both individuals should match up with each other. This homogeneity or similarity between people has been found to be a key role in attachment and companionship as people are more likely to feel a sense of belonging with those who have a similar lifestyle to them. [19]

Think about your partner’s lifestyle and ask yourself if it fits with yours. Do they have similar values to you? Do they like to spend their free time the same way you do? If so, this is a good sign that you’re compatible with each other.

If you both have different lifestyles, this could lead to conflict if not managed well. It’s important to be able to compromise and find some middle ground that works for both of you.

9. You make time for each other

It’s a no-brainer that relationships take time and effort. If you’re not willing to put in the work, then it’s unlikely that the relationship will last.

One of the best ways to show your partner that you care is to make time for them. This means setting aside time in your busy schedule to spend with them without any distractions. It might be hard to find the time, but it’s worth it. You might even find your well-being significantly improves as a result. [20]

Making time for your partner shows that you’re willing to prioritize them and the relationship. Even something as simple as talking on the phone or planning a date night can make a difference. [6] [21]

10. There is no fear of being vulnerable

Partners who are emotionally vulnerable with each other tend to have stronger relationships. This is because they feel safe enough to share their innermost thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment.

When you learn to relate to your partner’s feelings - a phenomenon called emotional interdependence - you’re more likely to feel a deep connection with them. [22] This is because you’re both able to share your true selves with each other and understand each other on a much deeper level.

You’re also more likely to have improved well-being than those who don’t share their feelings with their partner. [23] If you’re not used to being emotionally vulnerable, it might be worth trying to open up to your partner more.

11. They show you affection in a way you appreciate

Affection is an important part of any relationship. It’s a way of showing your partner that you care about them and appreciate them.

However, not all forms of affection are created equal. What works for one person might not work for another. This is why learning your and your partner’s love language - the way they like to receive and give love - is crucial. [24]

Once you know your partner’s love language, you can express affection to them in a way they’ll appreciate. This will make them feel loved and valued, which is essential for a healthy relationship. [25]

If their love language is physical touch, for example, you might try hugging them or holding their hand. If their love language is quality time, you might spend time with them doing something they enjoy.

12. You laugh a lot together

Laughter is an inherently social phenomenon. It’s a way of bonding with others and showing that you’re comfortable around them. [26]

In fact, studies that focus on shared laughter between couples found that the time spent laughing during conversations with each other is positively associated with relationship quality, closeness, and social support. [27]

So if you and your partner make each other laugh often, whether it’s inside jokes or just general silliness, you’re well on your way to having a healthy and happy relationship!

Is your partner cute, loving, loyal, and wants to spend all his time with you? If so, you might be one of the lucky ones to have a golden retriever boyfriend. Find out in this article what it means to have one!

These signs are just a few ways to tell if you’re in a healthy relationship. If you can relate to most of them, then it’s likely that you and your partner are on the right track.

Of course, every relationship is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for a perfect relationship. But if you’re both happy and healthy, that’s all that matters.


10 steps on how to have a healthy relationship

Let’s face it: healthy relationships don’t just happen overnight. They take time, effort, and two people who are willing to work on them. Before you start reaping the plethora of benefits of having a healthy relationship, you need to be willing to work to make it happen. [28]

Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 steps on how to have a healthy relationship.

1. Learn what you want

The first step to having a healthy relationship is being clear about what you want. Expectations are a natural phenomenon, and in romantic relationships, people expect that their partners will care for them, make them feel special, and meet their needs. [29] [30]

But this set of needs and expectations can vary greatly from person to person. So before you can have a healthy relationship with someone else, you must be clear about what you’re looking for.

Some people might want a partner who is their best friend with whom they share everything. Others might place more importance on having someone who is financially stable and can provide for them.

No matter your needs and expectations, it’s important to be honest with yourself about them. Once you know what you’re looking for, you can start looking for a partner who meets those needs.

2. Be proactive

Now that you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to find someone who meets your needs. This step is about being proactive and taking the necessary measures to find a partner who is right for you.

One way to do this is by using online dating platforms, which can help you connect with potential partners who meet your specific criteria. Another way is to put yourself out there and try to meet new people in your everyday life.

Whichever method you choose, ensure you’re taking the time to get to know potential partners before committing to anything serious. And of course, it’s a good thing to note to also be realistic about who you’re looking for. The higher your expectations are, the harder it may be for you to find someone who can fulfill them. [31]

3. Practice active listening

Active listening is a key communication skill that is necessary for all types of social relationships. [32] It’s the process of listening to someone to understand them rather than just waiting for your turn to speak. [33]

Active listening is important for understanding your partner and making sure they feel heard when you’re in a relationship. This skill can be particularly useful during initial interactions arguments, and even self-disclosure, as it can help your partner not feel judged and encourage them to employ better coping mechanisms. [34] [35] [36]

To practice active listening, ensure you’re giving your full attention to your partner when they’re speaking. By paraphrasing and asking questions, express your genuine interest in what they’re saying. [37] And most importantly, avoid interrupting them while they’re talking.

4. Establish healthy boundaries

Another key element of a healthy relationship has healthy boundaries. Boundaries are the limits that you set in a relationship to maintain your autonomy and protect yourself from being hurt. [38]

In order to have a healthy relationship, you must respect your partner’s boundaries and vice versa. This means that you need to be comfortable communicating your boundaries to your partner and respecting them.

Some examples of healthy boundaries in a relationship include:

5. Know when to apologize

There’s no doubt about it; apologizing is never easy. But a healthy relationship is an important part of maintaining trust and resolving conflict. [39]

Whenever you or your partner makes a mistake, take responsibility for your actions and apologize. This doesn’t mean that you’re admitting that you’re wrong, but it does show that you’re willing to take responsibility for your mistakes and work towards resolving the issue.

This is an important step in maintaining a healthy relationship, as it can help prevent resentment from building up and can foster a sense of forgiveness between you and your partner.

6. Be willing to compromise

Compromise is another important cornerstone of a healthy relationship. In any relationship, there will be times when you and your partner will disagree on something. When this happens, it’s important to be willing to compromise and negotiate to protect your needs while remaining attentive to the other’s feelings. [40]

Compromise doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything your partner says or does, but it does mean that you’re willing to find a middle ground that works for both of you.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to compromise, but it’s important to remember that the goal is to find a solution that can work for both of you.

7. Learn to complement each other

In a healthy relationship, both partners should feel good about themselves and their relationship. One way to foster this positive feeling is to learn to compliment each other.

Giving compliments is a great way to show your partner that you appreciate them. It’s also a way to make them feel good about themselves and the relationship.

When giving compliments, try to be sincere and specific. For example, reframe your partner’s qualities as strengths, such as “I love how you’re always so patient with me” or “I’m so grateful for your sense of humor.” This can help foster security and trust in the relationship, especially if your partner is dealing with self-esteem issues. [41]

8. Be each other’s best friend

One of the signs of a healthy relationship is having a solid friendship. Friendship is a good predictor of well-being and is the foundation of any good relationship so it’s important to nurture your friendship and make sure that it’s as strong as it can be. [42]

There are many ways to strengthen your friendship, but one of the best ways is to spend time together and do things you both enjoy. This can help you connect deeper and build a stronger bond.

Another way to strengthen your friendship is to be there for each other during difficult times. This means being supportive and understanding, even when it’s tough.

9. Look out for yourself, too

Often, the practice of self-care falls by the wayside in relationships. This is especially true for many people, who were taught at a young age to put others first. But in a healthy relationship, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself, too.

Self-care looks different for everyone, but it generally includes things like getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and taking time for yourself. [43] When you take care of yourself, you’re better able to take care of your relationship and be the best partner possible.

Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. So make sure you’re taking care of yourself and filling up your cup so you can be the best partner possible.

10. Seek professional help if needed

No relationship is perfect and even the healthiest relationships can benefit from professional help at times. If you’re struggling in your relationship, don’t be afraid to seek professional help.

A therapist can provide you with tools and insights that can help you improve your relationship. They can also help you identify unhealthy patterns or behaviors that may hold you back. [44]

If you’re not sure where to start, you can look for a therapist in your area by searching online or asking your doctor for a referral.

These 10 steps are just a starting point for building a healthy relationship. If you’re struggling in your relationship, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Remember, a healthy relationship is built on trust, respect, and communication. With these things in mind, you can create a strong foundation for a healthy and happy relationship.


FAQ about healthy relationships

1. What does a healthy relationship look like?

A healthy relationship will look different for every couple, but some general characteristics are common to most healthy relationships. These include trust, respect, communication, and feeling like you’re each other’s best friend. These healthy relationships positively impact the physical and mental health of the people in them. [45]

If you’re in a healthy relationship, you should feel safe, respected, and supported. You should also feel like you can be yourself around your partner and that they accept you for who you are.

You’re also more likely to work towards improving yourself and being reliable when you’re in a healthy relationship since you know that it matters to your partner. [46]

2. What are the green flags in a relationship?

Green flags are signs that indicate that a relationship is healthy and has potential. They’re things like effective communication, mutual respect, and feeling comfortable around each other.

While every relationship is different, some general things are good signs. If you’re wondering if your relationship has potential, notice how you feel around your partner.

Do you feel safe, respected, and supported? Do you feel like you can be yourself around them? If the answer is yes, you’re likely in a healthy relationship with someone who cares about you. And these green flags are a good indication that your relationship has potential.


Secrets to a healthy relationship: Books every couple should read

It's no secret that a healthy relationship is key in a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship. This list of books about healthy relationships will help you learn how to communicate better, resolve conflict, and deepen your connection. From classic self-help books to more modern reads, these titles will give you the tools you need to build a strong and healthy relationship.

  1. Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships
  2. Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of Every Healthy Relationship
  3. Love More, Fight Less: Communication Skills Every Couple Needs: A Relationship Workbook for Couples
  4. Infidelity Recovery Workbook for Couples: Tools and Exercises to Rebuild Your Relationship
  5. Healthy Me, Healthy Us: Your Relationships Are Only as Strong as You Are

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Dating Expert

Janet Smith

Janet Smith is a freelance writer who writes about psychology, relationships, and dating. She has always been interested in understanding the human brain and how it affects our …

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