Signs That You're In A Healthy Relationship

Most people dream of having a healthy, committed, lasting relationship. As Brené Brown, researcher and author of "The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are," says, "A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all men, women, and children. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong." As humans, we crave the connection and support a romantic partner can give us, but we also need companionship, fun, and the innate friendship that comes with having a committed partner. "When these needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to," Brown explains. "We break. We fall apart. We grow numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick."

So, how do you know that you are in a healthy relationship? Sometimes the signs are as subtle as a gut feeling. Other times they are glaringly obvious. For most people, a healthy relationship looks like high self-esteem, improved physical health, lower stress and anxiety, and a sense of unwavering stability they can count on (via Adventures from Scratch by Let's Roam).

Healthy relationships help people safely manage their dreams, worries, hopes, and fears while simultaneously building intimacy and creating a sense of close connection, according to PsychAlive. The fact is, relationships are as unique as the people in them. However, the following signs are good guideposts to help you determine if you're in a healthy relationship.

You trust your partner

Trust is one of the most crucial aspects of maintaining a healthy, happy, and long-lasting romantic relationship. Trust can look different from relationship to relationship and is sometimes difficult to define, but most people know it when they feel it. They also know when their relationship doesn't have it. Licensed marriage and family therapist Shawntres Parks defined the basic elements of trust for Women's Health, noting, "Trust is the feeling of emotional, physical, and psychological security generated when a person is consistent in their behavior." When a couple trusts one another, its presence creates space for each person to feel safe, secure, and comfortable enough to be their truest, most authentic selves. With trust, both individuals consistently have their needs met, allowing for a deeper, more meaningful connection over time.

According to Pivot., a relationship without trust is one that is doomed to fail. An absence of trust creates feelings of doubt, suspicion, insecurity, and anxiety, all of which lead to conflict and chip away at a relationship until it crumbles. Furthermore, without trust, it is impossible to let down your walls and feel safe enough to be truly vulnerable. Thankfully, couples can learn to foster trust in their relationship with enough time, understanding, dedication, and sacrifice. The Gottman Institute notes that being accountable to your partner, being clear with your intentions, and being honest about your mistakes can all help heal old wounds and nurture a new foundation of trust.

Your relationship is built on a foundation of respect

If you are in a healthy relationship, you likely greatly respect your partner. Similar to trust, respect can mean different things to different people, especially within the boundaries of a relationship. For some, it means simply holding a great admiration for their partner, while for others it means making conscious behaviors that support their partner's choices. It can mean regarding your partner's emotions, feelings, or opinions, even if you don't necessarily agree with them. Respect can also grow and change with the relationship. But no matter how you define or experience respect, no healthy partnership can exist without it.

Love is Respect notes that a foundation of respect means that you and your partner consider each other equals. You both value one another's feelings, practice compromise, and work to meet each other's needs in an effort to share a meaningful life together. Respect looks like honoring your partner's boundaries, actively listening when they talk, and supporting their dreams and goals. It also means showing them respect through your actions. You treat your partner with kindness and consideration, extending them courtesy when they make mistakes, and making time for them. According to Better Help, expressing your partner's love language whenever possible is also a great way to show them respect and demonstrate how much you value them. When implemented regularly, all of these individual elements indicate stable, unconditional love.

You communicate well

No matter how much you love your partner, it is impossible to have a healthy, lasting relationship without good communication. Jude Treder-Wolff, LCSW, licensed psychotherapist told Bustle, "Communication is the lubricant in the gears of a relationship, which is a dynamic thing that is something bigger than the people involved. When communication breaks down — whether that is intentional, or happens through a lack of skill or fear about what will happen when we open up — the relationship begins to lack the buoyancy and flow that is possible when people are clear and open with one another." Good communication allows you to effectively get to know one another on a deeper level and share things about yourselves without fear of losing respect.

Good communication opens the door for honesty, vulnerability, and personal expression regardless of how long you and your partner have been together. It also means "fighting" fair. Licensed marriage and family therapist Sarah Epstein told Forbes Health, "Healthy communication helps couples face de-escalate a situation, stay calm under stress, use humor appropriately, apologize effectively, and make partners feel heard and understood — even during the stressful moments." In a healthy relationship, you work with your partner to find solutions to problems in direct, productive, and non-judgmental ways. Together, you validate your partner's feelings and continually seek to view conflicts and misunderstandings from their perspective. The goal is not to win or lose but rather to come to a mutual understanding of a particular issue.

You share healthy boundaries

Celine Dion sang it best when she said love can move mountains. It is a magical, awe-inspiring force of nature that can and will change your entire life if you are lucky enough to experience it. But it also comes with a need for healthy boundaries. According to Anchor Light Therapy Collective, these boundaries are personal limits that define what is acceptable or unacceptable within your relationship and help hold each partner accountable for upholding the relationship's expectations (via When in place, healthy boundaries allow each person to feel physically safe and have all of their needs met.

According to HelpGuide, healthy boundaries can vary between simple asks and physical actions. For example, are you comfortable sharing passwords and finances or showing public displays of attention? Boundaries reduce codependent habits, ensure physical and emotional comfort, and even clarify the responsibilities each person in the relationship shares. It enforces the foundations of trust and respect that the relationship is built on. When healthy boundaries are in place, couples can prevent abuse, neglect, resentment, and feelings of invalidation that, if left unchecked, can cause a relationship to fall apart. If you are in a healthy relationship, you likely feel comfortable expressing your needs, wants, concerns, and opinions with your partner (via New York State). You respect each other's privacy and know how to compromise. You also are adept at identifying when a boundary line has been breached and can communicate it effectively to your partner.

You are comfortable spending time apart

Chances are if you have healthy boundaries in your relationship, you both feel comfortable spending time apart. In a healthy relationship, you don't have to be around your partner 24/7 in order to feel loved, appreciated, or seen. You can each spend time with friends and participate in hobbies you enjoy without fearing what the other person will say or do.

Alexa Couples Therapy notes that alone time in a relationship helps each person maintain their individual identity and sense of control over their own lives. It allows space for each person to feel fulfilled, both on their own and when they are together. Regular alone time also keeps the relationship from feeling suffocating. In fact, without a healthy balance of quality time and space, couples may find themselves sprinting toward inevitable conflict. "If people refuse for someone to have space, then they are more than likely to actually push their partner into breaking up," licensed marriage and family therapist Omar Ruiz tells PsychCentral.

There is no hard and fast rule that determines how much time apart is healthy. Finding that balance is unique to each couple and requires compromise and good communication. Having an honest conversation about how you want to spend time together and the amount of time you need apart will help clarify boundaries and ensure you're both feeling fulfilled.

You make decisions together

Making important decisions as a couple is a sometimes difficult but incredibly necessary part of any healthy relationship. Making decisions isn't a complicated task at face value. After all, we make them every day when we pick out an outfit or order our lunch. But doing so as part of a couple can become a challenge. This is because we grow into adulthood making largely unilateral decisions that impact ourselves only. We simply think about how we want to live our individual lives and make appropriate decisions to achieve those goals. However, every big decision you make within a committed relationship impacts your partner, according to

Joint decision-making does not mean that you and your partner agree on everything (via Exploring Your Mind). On the contrary, decision-making, especially when it involves your spouse or significant other, requires a certain level of sacrifice and compromise from both parties. Even if you don't both see eye-to-eye on a particular issue, the ability to make decisions that work for both of you and be on the same page will reduce conflict down the road. It also fosters connection and trust within your relationship that will help weather future storms.

You enjoy spending time together

It isn't necessary for couples to share all of their interests or spend all of their free time together, but enjoying the quality time you do spend together is important. If you are in a healthy relationship, odds are good that you not only have a few shared interests with your significant other but that you genuinely enjoy spending time together. You use the time spent together to talk, listen, and ultimately grow closer. You are also enthusiastic about doing things together even if the activity isn't something you personally enjoy. According to Psychology Today, sharing similar interests not only makes life easier for a couple but can even forge a bond between them that lasts for years.

According to 5 Love Languages, one of them is quality time, which involves expressing love and affection through dedicated time together as a couple. Spending quality time with your partner is less about the type of activity you do together and more about getting to enjoy the other's undivided attention (via From walks in the park and grocery shopping to going on elaborate vacations, what matters most is that both people are enjoying each other's company. Maintaining a level of playfulness and fun is also important. Sharing jokes, laughter, and lighthearted moments are all vital for the health and strength of a long-lasting relationship (via Healthline).

You appreciate each other

Appreciation is one of the keys to a healthy relationship. Couples who appreciate each other add value to their relationship by showing their partner that they are paying attention to the things they do, both large and small. "It's not the big things that make a marriage great, but rather the random acts of kindness that follow the golden rule of relationships: Do unto your partner as your partner would like you to do," Dr. John Van Epp tells Prevention. "When you get out of your world and into your partner's, then your little acts of kindness become momentous."

There are a million different ways to show your partner that you appreciate them. Complimenting them, writing them a love note, sending flowers, or planning a fun night out after a hard week can demonstrate your care and attention. Expressing gratitude is also extremely important. According to Utah State University, showing gratitude not only helps people feel more positively toward their partners, but it also releases oxytocin, the "love hormone." This release helps build a stronger bond. Gratitude can look like thanking your partner for picking up the slack with chores, running errands, or cooking. It can also be quietly picking up the slack in an area you notice your partner needing assistance with. The presence of this appreciation in a relationship can lead to more enthusiasm for shared activities, fewer arguments, and even better quality conversation (via HuffPost).

You have a strong emotional connection

Physical attraction and intimacy are integral parts of a healthy, successful relationship. However, the importance of sharing a strong emotional connection with your partner cannot be understated. "Emotional intimacy could be defined as allowing yourself to connect more deeply with your partner through actions that express feelings, vulnerabilities, and trust," neuropsychologist Sanam Hafeez tells Better by Today. "Part of a relationship is sharing your secrets, talking about your relationship, and telling your partner important news. A couple is generally happier when both parties can share and understand each other's feelings."

The presence of a strong emotional connection is the glue that keeps a relationship together, according to First Things First. It allows each person to dive deep into what makes their partner tick, including their thoughts, dreams, hopes, fears, and embarrassing anecdotes. Being able to identify your partner's emotions and communicate your own are vital components of marital satisfaction. According to a 2005 study in the "Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology," this ability is also strongly associated with intimate safety (via ResearchGate).

Couples that possess a strong emotional connection are also invested in continuing to deepen that connection through active listening and dedicated action. They are emotionally available to one another, more compassionate and accepting of each other's faults. and more willing to express their appreciation for the relationship. Furthermore, they maintain a curiosity about their partner and strive to communicate in a way that allows both parties to communicate their emotional needs.

You support each other's dreams and goals

Supporting each other's dreams and goals is a surefire way to keep a healthy relationship strong. According to The Gottman Institute, supporting your partner's dreams means offering validation and emotional support as well as active participation in the pursuit of that dream. For you, maybe that means supporting your partner financially while they go back to school. For others, it may mean taking the lead with the logistical aspects of daily life to free up some of their time.

Sometimes this support can also be given invisibly. Psychology Today notes that invisible support of your partner's dreams is done silently without asking for recognition or support in return. People who do this do it simply because they love you and want you to be happy, and they know that doing so will help lighten the load you carry. Invisible support can look like filling your partner's gas tank, doing chores you don't normally do, or simply not piling on extra problems to your partner when they are stressed out.

Regardless of how you show up to support your partner's dreams and goals, what matters is that you do. Working together to bolster each other and make each other's dreams a reality will create lasting emotional connections and strengthen your overall bond.