As human beings, we’re naturally inclined to create bonds and relationships with others. There are different types of relationships you’ll experience throughout your life which include family relationships, friendships, acquaintanceships, and romantic relationships. However, romantic relationships tend to be the most discussed.
Every relationship you’re in is either healthy or unhealthy. Throughout my time in the counseling field, I have found people can identify what an unhealthy relationship looks like. On the contrary, it’s rare that I hear individuals easily identify what a healthy relationship looks like––let alone what healthy qualities they would like to experience within a relationship.
What is a Healthy Relationship?
As you likely know, a relationship consists of two individuals coming together––be it a romantic relation or friendship. To develop a healthy relationship, both individuals must put in time and effort.
What does a healthy relationship comprise? There are many key ingredients to a healthy relationship. However, a fundamental one is having open, safe, and honest communication with one another. Communication is key in a relationship, so when it’s lacking, it’s hard to meet each other’s needs.
These are some key components of a healthy relationship according to Ph.D. holder Andrea Bonior:
- Affection and interest
- Room for growth
- Healthy conflict resolution
- Individuality and boundaries
- Openness and honesty
What is An Unhealthy Relationship?
No relationship is always rainbows and sunshine. At some point, there is usually stress, conflict, and arguments. However, a healthy relationship will always have a balance of good and bad, with the former outweighing the latter.
In an unhealthy relationship, there tend to be high levels of stress and pressure from either party. This can lead to a buildup of tension that leads to explosive arguments. Unhealthy relationships can also significantly affect other areas of a person’s life, which can be emotionally and mentally draining.
Here are some warning signs of an unhealthy relationship according to Judy Belmont:
- Your personal growth can’t flourish in the relationship
- You feel as if the life is being sucked out of you
- They don’t “get it” that it’s not all your fault
- The conflict and arguments keep popping up
- One person has most of the power over the two of you
- The negatives aren’t turning positive
- Being in need is confused with being in love
- When the team is losing they get lost
- You feel worse about yourself, not better
- The focus is on changing the other person
- You lose yourself trying to find someone else
If you are in a relationship that has some of these traits, that doesn’t mean you have to end your relationship. There is the option of discussing the unhealthy traits you’ve identified with your partner. In doing so, you can work on improving the negative aspects of your relationship.
Remember, open and honest communication along with healthy conflict resolution can go a long way if your goal is a prosperous relationship.