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What Makes a Relationship Healthy?

Valentine’s Day is upon us. Love between you and your partner, love between friends, love of your fur baby, are all important kinds of love. But what makes love healthy? How do you know if you are part of a healthy relationship?  Psychology Today lists 6 key signs that are important for a healthy relationship: Honesty, Kindness & Caring, Responsible for Self-Care, Independence is Valued, Equality, and Healthy Conflict. Here we will break down each key factor to truly understand what is at the core of a healthy relationship.

Honesty. Honesty means more than not lying. Honesty is having open conversations about your joys, your heartaches, your wants and needs. If something is upsetting you, or you feel like you’re missing something, tell your partner. In a healthy relationship, an honest conversation will be well received and action will be put into place. Honesty about how you feel isn’t always easy, but it is important and necessary. Knowing that you can fully trust the other person paves the way for a healthy relationship of understanding and love.

Kindness and Care. Sharing and receiving kindness and caring feelings strengthen every relationship. Healthy relationships require both people to focus on kind and caring behavior. You’re doing things for the other person because you want to express your love, it should never be done out of fear of losing the other person. If you find yourself doing things just to keep someone around, it’s a sign of a very one-sided and unhealthy relationship. It’s a cycle of love and respect through kindness and caring that encourages a healthy relationship.  

Responsible for Self-Care. It may be easy to take care of another person’s needs, but what about your own? Your health and happiness are important in any relationship. Your partner should encourage you to take care of yourself. Make sure you return that encouragement. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and when you try, unhealthy actions will become part of your relationship. Taking care of yourself is never selfish; in fact, taking care of yourself is necessary to maintain physical and mental health. If you’re healthy and practicing healthy behaviors, you will find a healthy relationship.

Independence is Valued. Being in a relationship means your life changes, but it doesn’t mean your life should just stop. Healthy love encourages the other person to keep their family and friends and to find time to do the things they want. If you are being isolated from family, friends, or activities you enjoy, the relationship is not healthy. It’s fun to do things together, but it’s also fun to do things on your own. Never let anyone take away your independence. Unhealthy relationships demand dependence on the other person, healthy relationships are two people sharing a life together while allowing space for independence.

Equality. Relationships are all about give and take. They require decisions about life’s big and little challenges. Does your opinion have as much weight as your partner’s? This can be a hard concept, what if one person has more knowledge on a specific subject or is set up better financially? That doesn’t mean your feelings and thoughts about the situation should carry any less weight. Equal say and equal chance to share thoughts and ideas create a healthy environment. Healthy relationships mean working together to make decisions.

Healthy Conflict. This is not encouraging you to have conflict in your relationship. However, chances are conflict will arise. It may be a minor conflict or it may be a relationship altering kind of conflict, whatever it is, healthy conflict is the best solution. Healthy Conflict means the floor is open to healthy communication, listening as much as sharing your own thoughts and feelings. It concludes with both people walking away from the conflict with a mutually agreed upon solution. Disagreements do not have to turn into yelling matches and they should never include physical or verbal assaults. People in healthy relationships work together to overcome conflict, not against one another.

Happy Valentine’s Day! No matter how you celebrate, with your special someone, your family, hanging out with your fur babies, or just spending the day taking care of yourself, remember love should be celebrated. Love is a journey and healthy love never goes on this journey without honesty, kindness and care, self-care, independence, equality and learning how to embrace a healthy conflict.

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