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____Is your partner glad you have other friends?

____Is your partner happy about your accomplishments and ambitions?

____Does your partner ask for your opinion?

____Does your partner listen to you?

____Does your partner talk about his/her feelings?

____Does your partner take responsibility for his/her actions?

____Does your partner respect your rights?

If you answered “yes” to most of the questions above, your relationship is most likely healthy. Relationships can be rewarding, fulfilling, unhealthy, or even painful. During the course of a relationship, you might be faced with a variety of challenges and obstacles. Building and maintaining a healthy relationship requires attention and effort on the part of both participants. Although possibly difficult at times, a healthy relationship can be a rewarding experience overall.

Characteristics of a Healthy Relationship

An important aspect is a partner who can be your friend. Usually, the two of you will have similar interests, goals, and values.

Mutual respect is needed for a healthy relationship. Such respect includes listening to your partner’s wants and needs and understanding their point of view. If respect does not exist in a relationship, one partner will dominate the relationship.

Trust is built over time through honesty and respect. Knowing that you and your partner can count on each other and can be there for each other is essential in a healthy relationship. It takes only one broken promise to break trust.

Support each other’s goals, dreams, and decisions.

Be open and truthful with your partner. You must be willing to acknowledge your mistakes and admit when you are wrong. Be honest with yourself and remember your own wants and needs.

Shared Responsibility
Make decisions together as partners.

Negotiate, compromise, remain flexible, accept change, and seek conflict solutions that are fair to both partners.

Communication is a vital demonstration of an individual’s respect, honesty and trust. Two ingredients are essential to good communication:

  1.  Clearly expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs,
  2. Actively listening to the thoughts, feelings, and needs of your partner.
Take the time to truly be there and understand your partner. Listening is required to understand your partner. Listen with your heart as well as your ears. Ask questions if you are having problems understanding what your partner is saying. Seek clarification if you still do not understand.

Choose the right time to communicate with each other. Choose a time when neither of you will be distracted by other things and can invest the time and energy to resolve the issue at hand.

Cooperative problem solving
Problems will arise even in healthy relationships; however, the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships is HOW the problem is resolved. Remember to set aside time to discuss the entire problem, come up with possible solutions, and then select the best option for yourself and your partner.

Realistic expectations
Some people may disappoint us, so be realistic and accept them as they are.

Change and growth is inevitable in relationships, so accept it. It is okay if your partner changes his/her mind or develops new attitudes.

It is nice to please others, but do not forget about yourself.

Follow through with plans and promises. Take responsibility for your actions. Trust is based on dependability and responsibility.


Be fair in disagreements…Disagreements will occur in most relationships. Make an effort to handle them in a healthy way:

  • Negotiate a time to talk about the disagreement.
  • Don’t criticize each other; you want to attack the problem, not the person.
  • Avoid “you” statements that may blame your partner for the disagreement. Begin your statements with “I think…,” “I feel…,” etc.
  • Do not assign feelings or motives to your partner. Allow your partner to explain him/herself.
  • Do not assume things. You can be wrong when you assume what your partner is thinking or feeling.
  • Stay with the topic; do not bring up things from the past.
  • Say “I’m sorry” when you are wrong. Admit your mistakes.
  • A compromise could be made or you may agree to disagree.
  • Ask for help if you need it. If you and your partner are having difficulties, seek a counselor or someone else who can help.
  • Do not hold grudges and do not hold on to the past. You can not go back and alter the past, but you can choose to make positive changes in the future.

Keep your life balanced….Do not allow yourself to become consumed by one thing or one person. Try new activities, go out and meet new people, or volunteer at a local charity. Find a comfortable balance of interests in your life.

Be yourself…Healthy relationships are based on who YOU are. Concentrate on being yourself and not someone else.

Continue your own friendships and interests…Do not forget about your friends and interests. Doing other things will prevent you from being isolated from others while not being consumed by your relationship.

Freedom… Make sure that you and your partner have the freedom to try new things, take chances, and make mistakes.

Unconditional love… Relationships are based on unconditional love--love that exists without conditions or reservations.

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