Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

9 Traits of a Healthy Relationship

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Mar 3, 2018 4:52 PM

What makes a relationship healthy? More than one thing, that is for sure. Relationships are complicated, and sometimes the answers to having a happy one might surprise you. Apparently, the happiest relationships are between people who don't text a lot, don't have children, share household contributions, and are not too fond of online gaming, among other things.

Modeling your life according to those criteria can be hard, and it would not guarantee a happy relationship. However, if you want to check how healthy your relationship is, you should look for these nine characteristics.

1. Symmetry

Yes, one person in the relationship might make more money than the other. Or one person might be more outgoing and social than the other. People are not the same. But there has to be a symmetry in expectations, compromise, and level of sacrifice.

"You may be tempted to sacrifice time spent with friends or on a personal hobby in order to spend all of your spare time with your partner," says Amber Kelleher-Andrews, CEO of Kelleher International. "However, it is altogether too easy for one person to make all of the compromises in the relationship and end up feeling resentful toward their partner for making them give up so much."

2. No Room for Resentment

Nothing can dig a trench between two people like resentment. It is a destructive feeling that not only prevents people from showing compassion and empathy but also stops them from communicating which is a necessity if you want to resolve your feelings of resentment. Being clear about what you want, expect, and how you feel and not letting things fester is a great starting point for getting rid of resentment.

3. Prompt Dealing with Conflict

Conflict is a natural part of being in a relationship, and it can even be healthy. Avoiding to deal with it is not a good strategy, and neither is going back to it repeatedly. In a healthy relationship, conflicts are effectively dealt with as soon as they appear, and they have left in the past afterward.

4. Room for Two Autonomous Persons

Being manipulative, controlling, or actively trying to change the other person is not something you do in a healthy relationship. Both persons need to have a degree of their own autonomy, and they should have their voice and agency. They should also take care of themselves and their needs.

5. Value

A healthy relationship has to be valuable to the people in it. If it isn't, they will not avoid certain types of behaviors that might endanger it. They will also lack the reason to make the efforts necessary for the relationship to work.

6. A Whole Greater than the Sum of Its Parts

Both people who are in the relationship need to know when it is time to put the relationship ahead of their own needs. Doing things without considering the partner is not how you get a healthy relationship.

7. Honesty

It is a cliché that honesty is the bedrock of a healthy relationship. But it is still true. It partners are not honest with each other, there will be no trust in the relationship. Without trust, the relationship will be less valuable, which will make it easier to end it.

8. Respect

In a relationship, respect goes beyond simple recognition of the other person's qualities. Partners should also respect the other person's need, life outside of the relationship, and the work they have put into making the relationship healthy.

9. Self-Reflection

If you want to be in a healthy relationship, you have to think about the things you are bringing into it. You should be mindful of the things you are doing that might hurt the relationship. It is easy to notice those things in your partner, but you also need to be aware of them in your own behavior.

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