7 qualities that healthy relationships share
Wondering what really counts when it comes to creating lasting love? We’ve identified seven qualities that healthy relationships share…
1. Creating your own happiness
When you’re single, it’s easy to fantasise about having that dream relationship that solves all your problems. In doing so, you put far too much pressure on finding someone who can rescue you from all of life’s problems. Putting people on pedestals (whether they’re partners, friends or bosses) is a mistake because, chances are, they’ll eventually come crashing down! What’s more, people in unhealthy relationships frequently fall into the trap of expecting their partner to meet all their needs. But healthy relationships should complement a happy life rather than serves as its chief source.
2. Shared values
Most of us tend to hold our values close to our heart. In fact, it’s often only when we grow close to someone who has vastly different values that we become aware of our own. For instance, one of you might have a strong work ethic and be careful with money while the other lacks ambition and has a habit of blowing money the cash. Similarly, one of you might be highly conscientious about recycling, whereas the other thinks it a waste of time. Furthermore, some of us are far more charitable or religiously-inclined than others. It can still work – but only if you one of you is reasonably accommodating!
3. Sexual compatibility
While shared values and personality traits lay the foundation for a healthy relationship, similar approaches to sex are also important. For instance, your perception of an active sex life might be four times a week, while your partner’s might be four times a month! If a couple has mismatched sex drives and can’t communicate their needs and compromise, it can lead to feelings of rejection and erode relationship quality over time. Of course, sexual activity is always going to plateau – even in healthy relationships – but for most fit, active people sex remains a healthy and meaningful expression of love.
A relationship based on trust is a must-have forlong-lasting love. It allows for a degree of flexibility for each person to truly enjoy their own interests, friendships and time out. Alternatively, relationships where there is a high level of distrust – justified or not – can generate a steady stream of jealous conflicts, possessive behaviour and obsessive thinking. Such patterns can seriously impact on happiness and wellbeing for both partners.
5. Setting boundaries
Emotional boundaries help you separate your thoughts and feelings from those of your partner – and helps you own your own baggage! Boundaries are important, not least because it’s easy to emotionally fuse with a partner during the early stages of love and lose sight of who you are. Put simply, healthy boundaries mean you take responsibility for your own thoughts and feelings and don’t hold others accountable for your overall happiness or welfare. It means you’re relatively comfortable with who you are and less prone to blaming and shaming games. Boundaries also prevent us from trying to ‘fix’ and control others.
6. Good character
Good character indicates we have integrity, honesty and a good moral compass. Admittedly, it’s a slightly old-fashioned concept. Yet it’s not uncommon to hear a single female admit she still has a penchant for ‘bad boys’, and we all probably know men who say they like a partner who ‘challenges’ them. Invariably these are the singles who end up recycling toxic relationships. Fundamentally, if you wind up with someone who lies, cheats or steals that lack of character will eventually lead to heartbreak. On the plus side, if you’ve ever dated someone with a very kind and giving nature you’ll appreciate how precious these traits are.
7. Conflict resolution skills
A recent eharmony study suggests the average couple argues up to six times a month. But getting angry is not necessarily a red flag (unless of course it’s abusive). Anger is a natural emotional response that can propel human beings towards meaningful goals. It means we can stand up to abuse or oppressive behaviour. In fact, the absence of anger can suggest that couples are turning their anger inwards, and, over time, this can lead to depression and disconnection. Suddenly, you’re strangers under the same roof. What’s key in healthy relationships is how a couple negotiates anger. If you can resolve conflicts relatively quickly, then you can build more relationship resilience.
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