Every relationship is different on almost every level, with different answers to fundamental questions such as:
- What is acceptable in a relationship?
- What is needed for it to work out?
- What makes the relationship either healthy or toxic?
Usually, the details that turn a relationship from healthy to toxic are the same: infidelity, distrusting each other, constantly lying, etc.
Keeping your romantic relationship healthy is not an easy task; it requires effort, patience and a solid dedication to building a future with your loved one. Only then will your relationship thrive in a positive environment, a sine qua for preserving your and your partner’s mental and physical health.
How Do Healthy Relationships Work?
The term ‘healthy relationship‘ is very subjective, as the definition is decided by two people (in a polyamorous relationship, by more than just two people) depending on their needs.
First, you must remember that every relationship is unique. Depending on your age, personality, needs and preferences, your romantic relationship differs from the one you had with someone else or even with the same person. As we mature and redefine our personalities, the ways we interact in relationships, especially romantic ones, differ.
Having a healthy relationship does not mean you and your partner must have the same hobbies, preferences and lifestyle. But, if you cannot be with someone who, for example, has a different view on significant subjects, it is usually healthier for you and the other person to end your relationship. It is natural for arguments between romantic partners to occur, but not daily.
What Healthy Relationships Look Like
Trust is a crucial element in having a healthy relationship. Having and being an honest partner means you trust your other half. You can achieve this by:
- Not keeping secrets from each other;
- Not interrogating your partner when they are not with you about their whereabouts or who they are with;
- Not being afraid that your partner will cheat on you with someone else;
- Not constantly surveilling them through social media or the people they are around.
Respecting one another is necessary for a healthy relationship. You must respect each other’s past, feelings, needs and boundaries. No one, not even your romantic partner, is allowed to overstep something you deeply care about, especially boundaries.
For example, if you do not enjoy a relationship full of cursing or mean words, your partner has to respect that. And respect comes along with love. If your romantic partner truly loves you and is willing to adapt for you, they will not disrespect your choices and needs.
Remember, your relationship is not a contest between you and your partner. Both of you are a team. You need to have each other’s back and support your partner’s dreams and wishes, even though you may not always see eye to eye.
Intimacy is a big part of a romantic relationship. It’s what sets this type of relationship apart, which is why you have to discuss it openly and see if you are compatible. If you both enjoy having an active sex life, then your relationship will be healthy, and the avenue of comfortably initiating sex and openly discussing desires, likes and dislikes will always be open.
There is no shame if you sometimes wish to be apart from your partner. People have different needs, and some enjoy spending time alone. Many prioritize spending time with their partners, but that does not mean you must neglect your personal space and time. Having some time for yourself to relax, practice a hobby or meet up with friends and family leaves time for you to long for your partner.
Discussing your issues and needs with your partner depicts a healthy relationship. You have to feel comfortable about opening up to these types of discussions or any issue you may suffer. Do not be distracted by the fact that your partner may have a different opinion; they are there to help you get through your problems and celebrate your success.
Remember that communication goes both ways. Just like your partner is listening to you, you must do the same for them!
Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships
Just as people define healthy relationships, they can cause a relationship to go downhill. Toxic relationships can spring up between a victim and an aggressor or between two aggressors. If you are in a toxic relationship, you may find your partner:
- Stepping over your boundaries;
- Pressuring you into having sex with them;
- Constantly monitoring you and your whereabouts;
- Not trusting your words and always demanding physical proof;
- Hating all of your friends just because you spent time with them and not with yourself;
- Not communicating openly about subjects such as old partners, friends and family.
Can a Relationship Go from Toxic to Healthy?
If two partners wish to change their toxic relationship into a healthy one and will genuinely work for it, anything is possible! As we already noted, adapting is the first step toward a healthy relationship, and the same goes for toxic relationships: they require a profound change, which can be hard sometimes.
Adapting to your partner’s needs is essential if you wish to turn your toxic relationship into a healthy one. Discuss what bothers you in the relationship and listen to your partner’s wishes. If you think you can change for the better and your partner, a happy and healthy relationship lies just around the corner!
A Parting Reminder
Having a romantic relationship with someone that you love will be easy most of the time. Do not get scared when you hit a bump in the road. It is normal for challenges to appear from time to time but if you are in a healthy relationship, it will be easy to get over them.