Two gophers

—Eric O., SUNY College at Oneonta, New York

Ah, don’t we all want to have a happy and healthy relationship with our partner? Sometimes it can be easy to see and you can tell in your gut if your relationship is going well. But other times, it’s not so easy to figure out. A healthy relationship doesn’t mean everything is picture-perfect all the time—instead, look for the following components in your relationship, which means you’re heading in the right direction.

Respect 

One of the best indicators of a healthy relationship is respecting each other. This includes being able to discuss likes and dislikes, from where you eat out to what you do in your free time together. If a person doesn’t like to do something, then that needs to be respected. Additionally, respect also means not calling each other names if you disagree, ignoring text messages or calls if you’re in an argument, or talking behind each other’s backs.

Communicating concerns

Being in a good relationship means being able to communicate any issues you have with one another. Being heard by our partners and being able to see how we each contribute both positively (and sometimes negatively) to relationships is also vital. When seeing something that we may be doing is negatively impacting our relationships, it’s important to be able to take ownership and responsibility for it.

Having good relationships with others 

A healthy relationship is also about maintaining relationships outside of the couple. Being able to see friends and family and being a part of activities separate from the relationship are important for our own mental health and individuality. Another reason having other supports is healthy is because relying on one person can’t meet all our needs all the time. Being able to have some separation can help strengthen bonds in your romantic relationship.

Maintaining your own boundaries 

This includes not having to share all of our personal information, such as passwords to our accounts, or having to share all details when we go out with our friends. We should also be able to leave a relationship and not experience fear or retaliation because we want it to end.

Showing support and encouragement

Couples in healthy relationships are supportive and encouraging of each other’s dreams and aspirations. Good partners will always look to help us achieve and be our most authentic selves.

Here’s a great resource from “Love Is Respect” for more tips and information on healthy relationships.