Every person of datable age has heard a variation of the saying that relationships are hard. And they aren’t wrong. Learning to communicate and cohabitate with someone else isn’t always an easy task. But this saying can be deceiving because even though all relationship go through tough spots this doesn’t mean they are all healthy.
If you find yourself unhappy in a relationship, chances are it could be toxic for all individuals involved. This is why it is important that you only work to maintain healthy relationships and let go of all the rest that don’t meet these qualifications.
40 Characteristics Of Healthy Relationships
1. Mutual Respect
According to Psychology Today, mutual respect is one of the most important aspects found in a successful and long-lasting relationship. This is because it is nearly impossible to get along with someone if you don’t respect them or if they don’t respect you.
In the case of a lack of mutual respect, the two of you will never see eye to eye and instead you may both spend time quietly resenting each other’s decision. Not having mutual respect in a relationship is a major red flag no matter which end it is on. And if you find your partner doesn’t respect you, or you don’t respect them, get out, and fast.
2. You Think Your Partner Has Good Ideas
Thinking your partner has good ideas is a sure sign that things are going well in your relationship. It establishes that you are at the same part in your life and headed down the same path. It also shows that you respect their ideas. If you don’t think their ideas are good, this doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship is toxic, but it is definitely a sign you need to sit down with your partner and talk some things out.
3. You Can Name Positive Qualities About Your Partner
If you think about your partner and only their negative qualities come to mind, this is most certainly an indication that the relationship isn’t a healthy one. You should be able to name numerous positive qualities about your partner, and very few, if any, negative ones. But if negative qualities are all you can think of, ask yourself if it is your view of your partner which is skewed, or if perhaps your partner truly isn’t the one for you.
4. Mutual Trust
This is along the same lines as mutual respect, but if you and your partner don’t trust each other, you will begin to doubt the things they do or say. And once you start doubting your partner, you may start accusing them of things they didn’t say or do. These situations will often lead to arguments which will become exhausting over time.
Trust has long been a mainstay in our society, as it takes trust in leaders, or a team, to get things done. And according to Forbes magazine, when we lose trust in something, our energy starts to drop and we begin to withdraw. And being withdrawn from a relationship is definitely not a good thing for the relationship.
5. You Think About Each Other Even When You’re Apart
When you’re at work, do you think about your partner? Or are they the furthest thing from your mind? Individuals in healthy relationships always wonder what the other is doing even when they are apart. If you find being away from your partner feels more like an escape, you likely aren’t in a good relationship to begin with.
6. You’re Enthusiastic About Each Other’s Lives
When your partner shares exciting news, you should be excited too. Good news in your partner’s life should never breed feelings of jealousy or contempt. These negative feelings are dangerous and could quickly snowball into resentment of your partner if you aren’t careful. Remember that negative feelings towards another can be contagious, so make sure you always exude positive feelings into the relationship so that your partner can feel positive too.
7. You Love How Your Partner Has Grown
At any given time in your relationship, you should be able to look at your partner and admire how they have grown since you met them. If you can’t do this, or you think your partner hasn’t grown in the time you’ve been together, this is certainly an indication that perhaps you aren’t the proper match for one another.
Maybe you haven’t been together that long, in that case, wait a little longer. But if you’ve been with your partner for years and you don’t think they’ve grown at all; it may be time to let them go.
8. You Always Have Positive Things To Say About Your Partner
When you meet up with your friends for a night out, and they ask about your partner, you should always reply in a positive manner. If you find that this isn’t true, and you only have negative things to say, it’s likely you aren’t with the right person.
Not only that, but even if you do think positive things about your partner, but your friends only hear the negative, it’s likely they will begin not liking your partner as well.
9. You Reminisce Together
When spending time together, couples in healthy relationships think back to all the good times they’ve had together. If you can only think of the arguments, or bad experiences, you’ve had with your partner it’s likely your relationship isn’t very healthy.
Research has also shown that reminiscing together not only strengthens long term relationships, but it helps revitalize a relationship which may have begun to falter. Plus thinking about the good old days is a good mood booster and can help prevent cognitive decline as you age.
10. You Know Your Partners Aspirations
Part of being in a relationship with another person is supporting them in all of their endeavors. Well, this will be quite impossible if you don’t know their dreams and aspirations. If they haven’t yet shared these with you, then take the initiative and ask. Now if they don’t want to tell you, that’s a different situation, and likely your relationship isn’t on the road to lasting.
11. You Face Challenges Together
When you find you’ve been laid off from your job, your partner should be the first one you tell. When your partner finds out their father has cancer, you should be the first one they tell. No matter what challenges come your way, you both should feel that you never have to face something alone. And you should know that your partner will have your back even when life gets you down.
12. You’re Not Afraid to Share Your Vulnerabilities
Everyone has at least a fear or two, it’s part of being human. And part of being in a healthy relationship is sharing that fear with the person you are spending your time with. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your vulnerabilities with them, this is a sign of some much deeper issues in your relationship.
13. You Kiss Often
According to WebMD, kissing not only helps quell anxiety, but it also causes the body to release oxytocin—which boosts your mood and helps rekindle bonds between individuals. So basically, kissing is one of the easiest ways to make your partner happy and there is no reason not to engage in it, and often!
14. You Have Your Own Language
Having your own language doesn’t actually mean you and your partner speak in another language when you are together; it just means you use terms that other people on the outside looking in may not understand.
And along these lines, there should be a few every day words than make you smile and laugh when you hear them just because the remind you of something your partner has said or done.
15. You Know What Embarrasses Your Partner
When you respect someone, you will go through any lengths possible not to let them feel negative emotions like embarrassment. And this could be quite impossible if you don’t know what embarrasses your partner in the first place.
Knowing what causes your partner to feel embarrassment not only strengthens your emotional bond but also helps you better understand the things they may do or say. And this will also help keep you from inadvertently embarrassing them at a party or get together in front of their friends.
16. You Know What Makes Your Partner Feel Proud
If you’ve ever had someone talk down about something that you were proud of, you know how terrible it made you feel. This is why in a relationship it is absolutely critical to know what makes your partner proud so you can be careful not to say something which might hurt their feelings—even accidentally.
This also means that when you see your partner doing something which makes you feel proud of them, say so! Tell them what an inspiration they are to you. This will not only help them to feel more confident but it will probably help you feel better too.
17. You Worry Together
Your worries should be your partners worries and vice versa. If you are concerned about something, your partner should be concerned right along with you. This not only strengthens your bond as a couple but often times when you are worried, you don’t see things clearly, so having someone else involved can help you deal with the problem rationally.
Now this doesn’t mean you should be worried about everything, all the time, and if you are, chances are you partner isn’t right there with you. Worrying constantly is known as anxiety, and this is something which should be addressed by a medical professional. But if you are worried you may have anxiety, your partner should be there to help you deal with it.
18. You Don’t Express Contempt For Each Other
Signs of contempt can be everything from a sigh, eye roll, or groan at something your partner says or does. Expressing signs of contempt to someone’s face is a blatant sign of disrespect. And respect is the number one most important quality when it comes to having a healthy relationship. So even if you are annoyed at your partner, express your feelings in a rational, calm, or respectful way rather than just rolling your eyes and turning away.
19. You Support Your Partners Goals
This goes back to knowing your partners aspirations, once you know them, help them pursue their dreams no matter what they require. If you don’t like your partners goals, or if you feel they don’t support yours, this will likely cause problems in your relationship.
And besides just supporting their wins, you need to be there when your partner suffers a setback. Listen empathetically and offer suggestions. Even if you don’t have any suggestions, encourage them to try again. You should treat their goals just as you want them to treat you in the pursuit of yours.
20. You Both Feel Secure
You should never feel insecure in your relationship, nor should your partner. Because if you don’t feel safe or secure with them, you won’t share your thoughts and feelings which will lead to a relationship without any emotional intimacy.
A relationship which lacks intimacy will feel un-fulfilling and likely lead to other problems. When considering feeling secure in a relationship, it’s crucial to remember that it is not your job to read your partner’s mind. That is their job. If you find yourself speculating what your partner is thinking, stop immediately, and instead consider asking what they are thinking instead.
21. Even When You Argue You Know Your Partner Still Cares
Arguing occasionally in a relationship is totally normal. It’s how you resolve these arguments that matters. And even when you are arguing, you should never have to guess as to whether your significant other still cares about you or not.
Also remember that saying a simple “I’m sorry” can go a long way. Now if you and your partner find yourselves arguing constantly, about issues that are unable to be resolved, this is not part of a healthy relationship.
22. You Share Thoughts And Feelings
Besides sharing your goals and vulnerabilities, it’s also important to have a level of comfort with your partner that lets you express every day thoughts and feelings. According to Susan Heitler, Ph.D., sharing thoughts and feelings is critical in the formation of bonds with others.
You should never feel like something you have to say is too “trivial” or not worth your partner’s time. Because if they’re a big part of your life, anything you think or feel should be part of their life as well. And sharing these things with them will help strengthen your emotional bond.
23. You Express Appreciation For Each Other
Sometimes when we are in a long-term relationship, we begin to take things the other does for us for granted. But part of nurturing a healthy relationship is continually expressing appreciation for each other even as the years go by.
This can be done by saying a simple thank you, or even switching up who buys dinner on occasion. Or you can even just tell them that you appreciate them. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just makes sure that you do, because everyone likes the feeling of being appreciated.
24. Your Relationship Is Built On Honesty
A relationship should never be built on lies. This is why it is so critical to be yourself during the first few weeks of a new relationship. Because if you tell lies in the beginning, it will only be more difficult to correct them as time goes on. And if you find the things your partner has told you to be inconsistent, then confront them about it, because honesty truly is the best policy.
25. You Express Admiration For Each Other
It goes without saying that you should be in a relationship with someone you admire, and that you should express this admiration frequently. For example, if your partner works really hard at cooking new dishes, tell them that you admire their creativity in the kitchen.
This will help boost their morale and help them feel better about themselves. And this goes both ways, so make sure your partner is frequently expressing their admiration for you as well.
26. You Are A Team
You should never feel like you and your partner are against each other. In fact, it should feel like it is you and your partner, together, against the world. If you feel like you are in competition with your partner, you’re probably not with the right person. Because competition with your partner can lead to animosity, jealously, and possibly a lot of arguments.
27. You Always Say Goodbye
This one may sound a little weird but telling your partner goodbye before you leave for work in the morning, or go out with friends in the evening, is a sign that you care. It also helps lower your partner’s stress as they won’t have to wonder if you’ve left or where you’ve gone. Not saying goodbye as you walk out the door is a sign of apathy, and apathy is not a part of a healthy relationship.
28. You Never Refuse To Discuss Certain Topics
Do you and your partner have any topics that are “off the table,” as in, you can’t discuss them well, ever? This is not a feature of a healthy relationship, because topics that can’t be discussed will only go on unresolved and come back to cause problems later.
You should be able to discuss anything, and everything, with your partner at any time. If there are topics that are difficult for you to discuss, let your partner know that, and set aside a time where you can discuss the topic in safe space.
29. You Respect Your Partner’s Family and Friends
According to personal development professional Jim Rohn, you are the sum of your five closest friends. And this holds true for your partner as well. So, if you find yourself not respecting your partner’s friends, it’s likely there are issues in your feelings regarding your partner as well. And if you don’t like your partner’s family, well, that is definitely not a good sign as to how the relationship will end. Either way, you should respect your partners family and friends and they should respect yours as well.
30. You Have Fun
You and your partner should always have fun when you are together, whether you go out, or enjoy a quiet night in. If you find that your partner is only fun to be around in certain places, then that’s definitely not a healthy relationship for you to be engaged in. Researchers have found that being able to “play” with your partner is a critical ingredient needed to keep the relationship fresh and exciting even after a number of years.
And play can mean anything from board games, taking the dog for a run in the park together, or basically anything which isn’t work related which you specifically do with your partner. Play isn’t just important to keep the relationship fresh but is also had a huge part in relieving stress and helping with our emotional well-being.
So, take a break, and play often, and include your partner, after all, if you aren’t happy with yourself, you likely won’t be happy with a partner either.
31. You Are Willing To Try Your Partner’s Suggestions
By the time we are adults, we often have our likes and dislikes drilled into our brain and are fairly unwilling to try and do things in a new way. This is why when you find yourself in a long-term relationship, it should be with someone who’s suggestions you are willing to try.
Although humans are resistant to change, we usually enjoy it after it has happened. And in a long relationship, it will get quite boring after a while if you are not willing to try new things. Remember above when it was listed that in a healthy relationship you think your partner has good ideas? Well, here is the part where you prove it and give one of their good ideas a shot!
32. You’re Affectionate in Physical Ways
This doesn’t necessarily mean just sexually, but also in comforting ways. For example, if your partner tells you they’ve had a bad day, maybe you’ll wrap them in a hug or put your arm over their shoulder. Or if you complain your feet hurt, maybe your partner offers you a foot rub.
These physical actions show you care for your partner in much more than a sexual way. Researchers have actually found that the level of physical affection in a relationship can be directly correlated to the level of relationship satisfaction.
So, if you find a lack of physical affection in your relationship, it’s likely there is a correlating lack of satisfaction as well. And a relationship without satisfaction on both sides certainly won’t stand up to the test of time.
33. You Love Being Together
This one is a given. Everything should be more fun when you are with your partner. This doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking moment together, but it means if there is something your partner can come along to, you don’t feel obligated to invite them, but rather you do so because you want to.
This also means that even if you are snowed in (or in quarantine together) you have fun just because you are together, even though you are stuck inside without much to do.
34. You Love How You First Met
Even if you’re embarrassed to tell people how you first met your partner, you should never be embarrassed about your meeting. If you look back to your first date and cringe, this is not the sign of a healthy relationship.
As humans, we tend towards the law of primacy in which we tend to remember things which happen first more clearly. So, if your first meeting didn’t go well (or if you can’t laugh about the fact that it didn’t) then this is a sign your relationship isn’t headed in a good direction either.
35. You Know What Makes Your Partner Happy
If your partner calls you and tells you they’ve had a bad day, then you should know exactly what you can do to cheer them up. This doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, it could be something simple like sending them a funny video you know will make them laugh, or maybe having their favorite movie ready to go on the tv when they come home.
Knowing what makes your partner happy not only shows you care, but also shows you have a deep investment in their feelings and that you want them to be just as happy in the relationship as you are.
36. You Rely On Each Other
Relying on each other is something which is often mis-construed in our day and age. This doesn’t mean you rely on your partner to pay the bills or clean the house etc.; this means that you both work towards the life you have together.
So even if one of you relies on the other to pay the bills, the other should have duties which are essential to your lives as well. If one partner feels they are unequally sharing the burden, this can lead to a rise in animosity, resentment, or even jealousy.
This is why it is essential to rely on each other, although this process will look very different depending on your individual relationship. Just make sure whatever system you and your partner have in place, that you both consider it fair, and that it works for both of you.
37. Open Communication
You will never know what embarrasses your partner, what they love, or what their goals are, if you can’t talk to each other with openness and without walls. You partner should never be scared to tell you something and you should never feel afraid to share something with your partner.
If you and your partner for whatever reason don’t have open communication, it’s likely the relationship won’t last long. It also may lead to the creation of toxic feelings as you may feel left out, or as if your partner is keeping secrets from you even if they are not.
38. You Have Confidence In Your Relationship
When people ask you how your relationship is going, how do you respond? With confidence? Are you sure the relationship is going to last? Or do you tell your friends that you aren’t sure? The way you respond is critical to evaluating your relationship.
If you have confidence in your relationship you should be able to maintain this without any outside influences because this is something that should come from you. If you need outside sources to feel confident in your partner, well this probably isn’t the relationship for you.
39. You Maintain Individuality
You’ve heard it time and time again, but no matter what relationship you get yourself involved in, you should always still be you. You and your partner both need to feel free to have your own likes and dislikes, and never feel guilty about spending time with a friend.
You cannot be a good partner to someone if you can’t be good to yourself first. And part of being good or true to yourself is maintaining a sense of individuality no matter what occurrences happen in your life. If you find you’ve been with someone so long that you no longer know who you are, then it may be time to step back and re-evaluate your life. If your partner truly cares for you, they will understand, and chances are they’ll appreciate you much more when you return.
40. You Know If You Had To Choose One Person You Would Choose Your Partner
Do you ever embark on those ‘what if’ scenarios in your mind? Most people do. And it’s perfectly all right to wonder what would happen if your life had turned out differently. But no matter what you spend your time imagining, you should want to choose your partner every time.
If you find this isn’t true (or if you really wish you had chosen someone else) then the relationship you are currently in is probably not a healthy one for you or your partner, and it’s probably time to try looking for something else.
The truth is relationships are hard, and even the healthiest relationships will still have difficulties at times. This is a very lengthy list, and if you found that almost all of these apply besides perhaps maybe one or two, then chances are your relationship is healthy you and your partner just need to find a time to sit down and discuss those one or two items.
If you looked at this list and found that less than half apply to your relationship, then this isn’t a good sign. You can also sit down with your partner and discuss some of these items, but if there are too many, then it might be time to look for something which will be better for both of you in the long run.
Overall, having a healthy relationship isn’t an easy task, but those which involve love, respect, trust, and care for each other, will find it isn’t all that difficult to keep the relationship healthy for years to come.