Being in a good relationship is not only beneficial for your soul and emotional well-being, but it’s also good for your physical health, too. Healthy relationships have been found to help people live longer and happier lives, and the proof is backed by long-term scientific studies on the subject.
Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, directed a research study at Harvard on health. The study tracked the health of students for over eighty years. Dr. Waldinger found that “The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80.”
Understandably, you’d want to get into a healthy, satisfying relationship. Human beings are naturally social creatures, inclined to form tight bonds with others, and romance is a given. But it’s definitely not enough to just be in any old relationship. A harmful or toxic relationship can drain and stress you, and we all know how terrible stress is for health. While many people might be able to recognize a toxic relationship, how can you tell if you’ve got a good one?
What makes this a bit confusing is that romance and relationships are incredibly personal, and everyone has a different idea of the kind of relationship they want. Some people prioritize stability, while others may feel like having fun and going on adventures together are more important aspects. Couples also have different communication styles. What meets one couple’s communication needs might be very different from how another couple effectively makes their preferences known. How can you ensure that you pick a healthy relationship next time rather than one that isn’t right for you?
Here are some signs of a good relationship to help you sort out whether yours is right for you, and what to look for in a good partner:
When you treat your partner like a good friend, you ask how they are doing and respond to them when they want to connect with you. You share decisions. You trust each other. Your individuality is respected and valued. In a good relationship, you two are a team.
- Manage Conflict Well
Your partner respects your wishes and feelings. Rather than criticize or blame each other, the two of you can negotiate for what you want in a gentle way. You both hear your partner’s point of view, and you treat each other with respect. An example of good conflict management is when you have an issue with your partner, you talk to them about it first instead of gossiping with others about the problem. Being able to manage conflict well in a romantic relationship helps build and cement trust.
Think about the last time someone genuinely thanked you for your efforts. Even small expressions of gratitude make can make anyone feel happier and more secure in their relationships. Make an effort to show your partner your appreciation. If they do the same for you, it’s a good sign that the relationship is healthy.
- You Feel More Secure
When you have a supportive partner, you can be much less fearful about things that previously gave you a lot of anxiety. Being in a healthy relationship can encourage you to reach goals you may have been putting off. When he has your back, you feel much less alone in the world. You have someone to help you with whatever problems come your way.
- You’re Committed
You want the relationship to work so you’re willing to face the problems with your partner. It’s worth some discomfort to communicate your needs or to address any of your shortcomings that might be getting in the way. You’re willing to apologize when you’re wrong. You can both compromise to make the relationship work. People who are less experienced with relationships might think that conflict and disagreements spell doom for the relationship. But if you value a relationship and want it to last, you’re emotionally invested enough to face problems head-on, because you share a future together.
Chemistry doesn’t just refer to the physical attraction you have with your partner. The spark between you and your partner goes beyond physical attraction. It deals with a more profound sense of compatibility and a strong feeling of “oneness” with each other.
If you’ve ever been in a toxic relationship, feeling “unsafe” or physically insecure was probably a constant companion. In a healthy relationship, you feel physically safe and comfortable expressing your feelings and opinions.
Do you have these ingredients in your relationship? Don’t worry. Some of these can be cultivated by better communication or consultation with a couples therapist. Do these seven characteristics of a good relationship help you figure out what kind of partnership you want next time? Leave us a comment below.