You’ve called in the one. Now you want to create healthy intimacy, but you are not sure what it looks like. Below are ten signs of a healthy relationship. These are based on information from the One Love Foundation (www.onelove.org). It provides educational programs for teens and young adults about staying safe in relationships. I find this information helpful for all age groups and use it with my adult clients.
We all deserve healthy relationships. In healthy relationships, we inspire each other, lift each other up, mutually respect each other and find joy in supporting every aspect of the other. In healthy relationships we feel seen, heard, and understood. We can be ourselves without fear of being put down or ridiculed. We love all the quirks that make the other person unique. In this cocoon of acceptance and care, we gain a deeper sense of relationship confidence and competence to move closer in union with another. Below are ten signs.
- Comfortable Pace — You and your partner agree on the pace and structure in which the relationship progresses. This helps both of you to feel comfortable as you move forward and become more intimate with each other. A healthy person will not pressure you to do anything in a relationship that you are not ready or willing to do, or that makes you feel uncomfortable. Likewise, a healthy person will not allow themselves to be bullied into doing something they are not or do not want to do.
- Trust — You need to trust before you commit to each other. Make sure you can trust your partner with what is best for you. Make sure you can trust them with the tender matters of your heart and that they will not trample on them or use them against you. A good way to test whether you will be able to trust your partner is to participate in as many situations and activities as possible. This will allow you to observe their values, commitments, and ideals so that you can make an informed decision about trust.
- Honesty – For the relationship to have healthy commitment and intimacy, you and your partner must be able to be honest with each other. Make sure that you have both checked each other out enough to be able to take a risk in being honest with them. You will be looking for compassion, true listening, true caring and nonjudgement. You must have honesty between you to have healthy commitment.
- Independence — A healthy partner is independent. Being independent helps you to also honor this trait in your partner, leading to true interdependence between you.
- Respect – To create respect in a relationship, you will support each other’s dreams, work, and aspirations. Even if you disagree with some of each other’s ideas and philosophies about life, you will acknowledge the importance of these to each other. You will acknowledge each other’s unique and individual perspectives and opinions. You will not be intimidated by differences of world views.
- Equality — You and your partner have equal input as to the structure and pace at which the relationship progresses or doesn’t progress. The two of you will define the parameters of your relationship together and neither of you will force or manipulate the other into making the relationship into something that the other does not want. You both value each other’s needs and wants and see them as important.
- Compassion — You and your partner are kind to each other. You both can walk a mile in the other’s shoes. Understanding that none of us is perfect, you both honor each other’s humanness.
- Taking Responsibility — Each of you take responsibility for your errors and then make amends to the other when you make a mistake or misstep. You also take responsibility to commit wholeheartedly to the working of the relationship once you decide it is what you want.
- Loyalty — If, after you and your partner decide you want to be exclusive and committed to each other, you are free to be loyal to each other as you have defined it. You both talk about and acknowledge the dangers of blind loyalty. Blind loyalty is not your purpose here. Your loyalty will be a result of your keen sense of objective observations of their interactions in different situations and circumstances.
- Communication – You and your partner listen to each other without trying to counter the other’s viewpoint. You use “I” statements about what you feel and need rather than accusing the other of what they did or did not do. You practice deep listening skills. You commit to truly care, to truly be compassionate and to truly listen.
Healthy relationships are the cornerstone of creating a healthy culture. As we strive to have healthy intimate relationships, this propels us to have good relationships in all other areas of our life, thus evolving our culture.