Relationships are an important part of human experience. From our childhood years, relationships help us feel connected to others and improve our chances of survival. They also offer a variety of emotional, physical, and social benefits that can positively impact our health.
A relationship is meaningful when it brings you joy, makes you feel secure and fulfilled, or evokes feelings of being cherished by another person. These are all signs of a healthy relationship, says Amy Bowers, director of the Institute for Meaningful Relationships in Portland, Oregon.
However, it is important to remember that evaluating a relationship’s meaningfulness isn’t a black-and-white process. It’s about what feels right for each individual, and what’s important to them, she adds.
One way to evaluate a relationship is by asking yourself whether it’s giving and receiving equal amounts of affection, energy, and love from both partners. That can be a good way to assess the overall balance of the relationship, and to see if there are areas that could use more attention or intention.
Communication is a key component of relationships, and being able to communicate effectively helps build trust. Having a regular schedule to talk and discuss issues with your partner can make the relationship healthier, according to Antin.
It’s also important to be clear about what you want to say and how you intend to communicate, she says. This will prevent confusion and misunderstandings. Having realistic expectations about your partner’s behavior and avoiding setting the bar too high will also help your relationship stay healthy.
Getting to know your partner and figuring out what matters to both of you is a crucial step in establishing a relationship. This will allow you to see if you are on the same page about many of your core values, such as honesty and respect for each other.
Being able to communicate with your partner is another essential component of a healthy relationship, and it can also help you understand what motivates them. You can also learn from each other’s experiences, which can help you become a better version of yourself.
If you’re not sure if your relationship is healthy, it’s always a good idea to seek professional help. A therapist can assess your situation and offer recommendations for improvements.
The most important aspect of any relationship is to have a mutually respectful relationship. That means that you both must be able to listen to each other without judgment or interference. If your partner doesn’t listen to you, that can be a red flag.
Boundaries are another important element of a healthy relationship, and it’s important to be able to set them. If your partner pushes back against them or changes them without your consent, that can be a sign that the relationship may not be what you expected.
Keeping your relationship healthy isn’t always easy, but with the right steps and a bit of patience, it can be done. It’s important to remember that your relationship will need time and effort before it can be healthy, so it’s best to put the work in early.