From videos in sexual education to personal stories on social media, we have all been told distressing stories about domestic violence and abusive relationships. Many of us are aware of the red flags and what a toxic relationship looks like, but what does a healthy relationship look and feel like? Here are some green flags, or signs that you are in a healthy, loving relationship.
Your partner supports your dreams and aspirations and encourages you to do your best.
In a healthy relationship, you and your partners are still individuals. Two people did not mesh into one, but instead you both come together as individuals and work towards something greater. This means you and your partner are both continuing to push each other to be the best. This is not because you’ve “settled” for a lesser version of each other but because as a team, you each want to encourage each other to be strong.
Your partner also supports you when it may be difficult for them. This can mean encouraging you to go on a trip that means leaving them behind for months at a time, or confronting you about a toxic behavioral pattern they may have noticed.
Dating your partner feels easy: there’s no drama, your arguments are about situations and not each other
All relationships are work, but your relationship should not be the number one cause of stress and anxiety in your life. When there’s tension, the tension should be you and your partner fighting against the problem, and not each other. You should never have to fight for your partner’s affection. You should never have to compete for a spot in your partner’s life.
In a healthy relationship, you and your partner make each other feel secure and loved regardless of the situation.
Trust and open communication
This may go without saying, but trust is the pillar of your relationship. You should be able to have both privacy and trust. A healthy relationship does not mean you know your partner’s passwords and pass codes but instead you trust each other enough to not need to view their messages and accounts. Trust means allowing your partner to go out without you and trusting that they’ll be safe and faithful.
Open communication can be a bit more difficult. Sometimes, you will have experiences you need to discuss with your partner. Although certain conversations can be uncomfortable, your partner should listen with an open mind and open ears. They should ask questions of clarification, but understand your point of view.
Your partner can be your best friend, but they should not be your only friend. You and your partner are two separate people with separate interests, friend groups and pastimes. A healthy relationship respects these identities and your individuality.
In a healthy relationship, your partner should encourage you to spend time with your friends and family, with or without them.
Set boundaries and respect for those boundaries
You should feel comfortable saying “no” to your partner to both large and small things. In a healthy relationship, your partner has respect for you and your boundaries no matter how big or small the situation is, no means no.
Your partner respects your self expression
You should never feel like you will receive backlash from your partner for changing your hair or getting a piercing or trying out a new look. You and your partner are separate people and how you express yourself should have nothing to do with them. Whether you are wearing something eye-catching or revealing, your partner should feel comfortable enough in your relationship to not offer negative comments.
These are several signs that your relationship is healthy and lively and going in the right direction, but certainly not an exhaustive list. As someone who isn’t a relationship expert, these “green flags” are based on my own experiences.
The bottom line is: you should feel loved and supported and secure in your relationships.
Also published on Medium.