Ultimately, a healthy relationship is one where your individual wants, needs, and values sync up with your partner’s. They don’t need to be exactly the same. No two people are alike in every way. But they should complement each other.
Our Guide: What Does a Healthy Relationship Look Like?
You trust each other
If you’re wondering, what does a healthy relationship look like? Start with trust. When you have it, you feel invincible, like you can do anything with your partner. But without it, it’s impossible to grow together. In a serious relationship, trust means being honest, being vulnerable, and doing what you say you’re going to do. Having trust issues doesn’t mean you’re doomed to break up, but it does mean you need to work to resolve them.
It takes time to build trust, but if you’re both committed and willing to put in the work, you’ll be rewarded with a happy, healthy relationship.
You communicate well…
Ask any relationship expert or couples therapist what a couple needs to succeed and they’ll say open, honest communication. In a healthy relationship, both you and your partner need to be able to explain your wants, needs, and feelings—plus hear, respect, and accommodate each other’s wants, needs, and feelings. You need to be able to communicate about everything from what to cook for dinner to how you approach your finances.
If you regularly get sucked into arguments about small day-to-day things, it doesn’t bode well for how you’ll communicate about bigger topics in the future.
…and know how to fight fairly
It sounds strange, but fighting is a good thing, as long as you’re doing it fairly.
It helps you address problems head-on and find better ways to do things. And fighting fairly means even though you might take opposing stances on a topic, you’re still on the same side—the side of wanting to make your relationship work.
It means skipping the blaming, yelling, and theatrics of arguing, and focusing instead on accepting responsibility, working together, and finding a solution.
You set healthy boundaries
Those asking what does a healthy relationship look like?, should get familiar with setting healthy boundaries.
Setting boundaries with your partner might sound like a sign of trouble, but there’s nothing negative or worrisome about it. It’s simply a way of assuring that your needs are met in a relationship. So don’t feel guilty for having them!
You still maintain a strong sense of self
We all know somebody who changes their hobbies, interests, and personality to match the person they’re dating. And more often than not, it isn’t the best idea.
While it’s natural to adopt some of your partner’s favorite things and want to spend a lot of time with them, it’s still important to have a strong sense of self.
Enjoying your own hobbies, having your own friends, and spending time alone strengthens your sense of self, which makes for a healthier overall relationship.
The relationship is equal
If your relationship doesn’t feel equal, that’s a sign it’s not healthy. In a healthy relationship, both partners contribute equally and feel the relationship is balanced.
Partners don’t have to split everything down the middle 50/50. Actual contributions will vary depending on jobs, incomes, and schedules. But there should be a sense that both parties are contributing their fair share.
In addition to contributing equally to physical duties and expenses, partners also need to contribute equally when it comes to communication, emotion, and affection.
So, what does a healthy relationship look like?
Well, the six characteristics listed above are key. If any of them are missing from your relationship, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in an unhealthy relationship. But it could be a red flag, so talk to your partner about getting things back on track.
Healthy relationships don’t happen overnight. They require time, work, effort, and maintenance. But taking the time is worth it to enjoy a loving, caring partnership that lasts a lifetime!