What are the signs of a healthy relationship?
Valentine’s Day is intended to celebrate those we love, particularly our romantic partners. Bringing with it a tidal wave of kisses, chocolate and happy times with our other halves. But for many, February the 14th can bring a sense of anxiety, fear and depression.
It’s important to note every relationship is different and the traditional definition of a ‘healthy relationship’ has evolved. However, some partnerships can fall into unhealthy or even abusive traits, and it’s essential to spot these signs before they become serious issues.
What makes a healthy relationship?
An individual’s needs will differ from person to person; someone who requires more affection might be living with someone who prefers to talk about their emotions. The secret is to understand your partner’s emotional and physical wants, creating an equal relationship across lots of key areas which we’ve noted below.
Couples who talk openly can get through most things – highs, lows, financial issues, health concerns, emotions, mental health and even those silly little thoughts. Healthy relationships will listen to one another’s feelings and respect their opinions with zero judgement.
Communication can also refer to how your partner speaks to you. We don’t require a shower of compliments every day, but the words we choose, and the tone of voice used, should make your partner feel good, safe and confident in themselves as well as your relationship.
Communication red flags
- Unable to talk about your feelings with your partner or others
- Your comments are ignored, twisted, dismissed or mocked
- Your partner says hurtful things to you
Open and honest
Honesty goes hand in hand with trust. Couples who keep secrets, consistently lie and
allow their partner to worry will always doubt each other’s intentions. Trust enables you to feel safe within a relationship, both emotionally and physically and shows respect for the relationship whether you’re together or not.
Honesty red flags
- Consistently being questioned about where you are
- Going through each other’s phone
- You’ve caught them purposely and continuously lying
Supporting your independence
Taking time apart to pursue your own interests and socialise with others brings balance to a relationship. It reinforces trust in one another and maintains your sense of individuality. Partners should encourage one another to follow their dreams, start a hobby and keep healthy connections with friends, family or work colleagues. Not only does this develop you personally, but it also develops your relationship too.
Independence red flags
- You’re made to feel guilty for spending time with others
- Feeling isolated from your family or friends
- Your partner dismisses your hobbies and interests
Intimacy does not just mean sex. This can relate to communication, feeling safe with your partner and comfortable expressing your desires. Healthy intimacy should build self-esteem rather than tear you down. Most importantly, it’s knowing that your partner understands what intimacy means to you and that ‘no’ means ‘no’.
Intimacy red flags
- You’re unable to talk about intimacy, feelings or desires
- You feel nervous or scared at the thought of being intimate
- Being forced or guilted into performing any sexual act
You have lots of fun!
More than anything, relationships should be filled with laughter, inside jokes and a desire to spend time together. Couples who engage with each other’s interests can create stronger connections; by creating activities you can share. It’s important you simply enjoy their company. Being in their presence and making each other laugh can relieve tension as well as helping you get through tougher times.
Enjoyment Red flags
- Feeling depressed or lonely in their presence
- Not wanting or scared to spend time together
- No fun, laughter or enjoyment
If you’ve spotted any of these red flags in your relationship, please get in touch. Here at Eve, we have a team of fully trained individuals whom you can contact [LM1] 24/7 for domestic abuse-related matters. We provide supportive solutions and safe refuge for female victims and children affected by domestic abuse.
Contact times and support available for domestic abuse-related matters:
- 9am -5pm – Helpline: General enquiries, information, advice and guidance
- 5pm – 9am – Out of Hours Emergency Support
- 9am – 10pm – Silent Solutions, text or email