What is a healthy relationship

What do people mean when they ask “Are you in a healthy relationship?” Relationships can be different types and sorts, or have special dynamics that define them; however, they all share the base of being healthy.  Some of the key pillars of a healthy relationship are – respectful communication, mutual respect, trust, safety, active listening, and happiness – each a pillar upon which relationships may prosper.


Open, honest and confident communication is key in any relationship; having conversations lets your partner know how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking and vice versa.

Good communication includes:

  • Discuss what’s bothering you instead of bottling up feelings.
  • Direct and specific communication helps create clearer understanding.
  • Ask for what you need.
  • Resolve conflicts together. Disagreements are natural; talking about them in a rational, fair way is a constructive way of communicating well.
  • Compromise. A relationship is a partnership, and both parties must be ready to meet in the middle.
  • Support and be supported by your partner; when you feel good about yourself and your goals, you know you are having successful conversations.
  • Active listening is key to a healthy relationship, really listen to what your partner is saying rather than planning what to say before they finish their sentence.


Respect involves treating each other in a thoughtful, caring way. Respect is essential to creating balance in a relationship.

Respect in a relationship can look like:

  • Treat each other as separate individuals, capable of making your own decisions, and having your own feelings.
  • Speak kindly to each other and about each other.
  • Listen to your partner attentively.
  • Establishing boundaries for yourself and discuss this with your partner.
  • Maintain boundaries set by each partner.

Boundaries do not need to be limiting, or make you feel trapped; rather, boundaries are an expression of personal comfort levels and outline what each wants to see in the relationship.  It is important to have clear communication when establishing levels of comfort with physical contact, especially surrounding becoming intimate.

Trust & Safety

Trust is sometimes hard to define, and even harder to find, yet an integral part of any healthy relationship. Trust, at its core, is a belief in someone to be reliable, truthful, and care for your safety both physically and emotionally.

Trust shows up in relationships in a variety of ways when:

  • Decision making; having conversations; listening to your partner; valuing their opinion and your own.
  • Sharing your feelings with a partner.
  • Becoming intimate, being intimate with a partner.
  • Being reasonable with yourself and your partner; having consistency in moods, not walking on eggshells.


A healthy relationship creates positive life experiences and provides fulfillment. A healthy relationship begins with you. Know what you want before you decide to step into a relationship; know what makes you comfortable. If you’re not happy, stop, take a moment to reflect on what is going on; what you can change and what you can’t. Never feel scared, ashamed, humiliated or pressured by your partner.  It is very okay to step away from a relationship if you aren’t feeling comfortable, secure or safe.

Relationships can be different within family dynamics, extended family, with various friends, guardians, coworkers, partners, and siblings.  You may have different connections; however, remember to keep focused on having healthy relationships.

Your happiness matters and you deserve to get the most out of all your relationships, keep in mind what you want from a relationship and what makes a good relationship.

Article provided by Paige Leach at Tri-City Transitions