Everyone wants a healthy relationship but we don’t often take the pulse of our relationship to see where it’s at. We assume things are good until we see obvious signs of trouble.
It’s important to occasionally stop and assess our connection to our partner and see how things are going. It might sound complicated or difficult, but it’s really quite simple.
Try answering these 10 questions to see where your relationship stands.
Do you each respect who the other is while also setting healthy boundaries?
Do you accept your partner as they are, and do they do the same for you? Or do you try to change each other to be someone else?
Don’t confuse trying to change someone with setting healthy boundaries, either. Healthy boundaries are things like not tolerating cheating or lies, taking time to be alone and enjoy your own interests, or not allowing your partner to disrespect you.
Trying to change someone would be trying to make them change something about their physical appearance, personality, hobbies or interests to be different than what it currently is.
If you’re able to accept each other as-is and set healthy boundaries, that’s a great sign that your relationship is good.
Do you feel safe and secure with your partner?
There are many aspects to feeling safe and secure. Do you feel safe and secure that they won’t cheat on you and risk not only your relationship but also your physical health? What about that they won’t abuse you physically, mentally, emotionally, or otherwise? How about that they would protect you if needed in a dangerous situation?
Do you feel comfortable including them in all aspects of your life? Do you feel good bringing them around your family and friends?
These are all signs of feeling safe and secure, and that’s a great sign that your relationship is on solid ground. When you aren’t worried about your partner hurting you, abandoning you, or otherwise doing something that would be bad for you, you can relax and enjoy the relationship.
Do you look elsewhere for attention and getting your needs met?
We all know that one person can’t meet every single need we have. But there are certain needs, and certain forms of attention, that should only be met by the person we’re in a relationship with. So do you only look to your partner for those things, or do you look for them from someone else?
If you look only to your partner for the attention and needs that they should be meeting, and they’re meeting them, you’re all set. The same applies if they turn to you.
But if either of you is looking to others for the things you should only be looking to each other to get, that’s a sign of trouble.
Do you have healthy and effective communication?
Do you generally get along? Do you bring up problems before they become enormous issues? When there’s trouble, do you handle it as a team and use “I feel” statements instead of “You do/don’t do” statements?
Healthy and effective communication is critical to a healthy, successful relationship. Whether you’re talking about sex, a problem at work that you need advice for, or trying to choose a movie for date night, you need to be able to communicate.
This can be a struggle for many couples, so if you feel your relationship could use better communication, don’t despair. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doomed. Assess your communication as it currently is and figure out what needs to change.
Is one or both of you passive-aggressive? Does someone stonewall? Do you not know how to fight properly? Figure out what the issues are and then you can determine how to change them.
Do you fight fair when you do argue?
Every couple argues. It’s a simple fact of relationships. No two people will ever agree on absolutely everything — if they do, there’s something unhealthy going on there. You will argue.
The question is, when you argue, do you fight fair? Or do you throw out low-blow insults, dredge up past arguments and issues, or try to force your partner to see things your way? Do you walk away and refuse to talk until you get what you want?
If one or both of you is engaging in unfair fighting tactics, you might consider counseling to change the behavior and make your fights not only more fair, but more productive.
But if you both fight fair, that’s a great sign for your relationship.
Are you on the same page with plans, goals, and dreams?
Whether we’re talking about short-term or long, what do you both see for your plans, goals, and dreams? Are you both seeing the same general things or do you have wildly different ideas of what those things look like?
If you both have wildly different plans, dreams, and goals, that may be a big problem. It’s difficult for people who want very different things for their lives to make a relationship work. If you really want to make this relationship work but see dramatically different futures, you may need to get some counseling to figure out how to do that, if it’s possible.
But if you both have plans, goals, and dreams that are very similar, and you’re both supportive of helping each other bring those things to fruition, your relationship is on track for a great future.
Are there more good times than bad?
Any long-term relationship is likely to go through some serious rough patches. Sometimes those rough patches can be so rough you even wonder if the relationship will survive them. But it does, and you get back to the good times, and your love is stronger for it.
If your relationship is healthy, you have many more good times than bad. You can admit there are bad times, and you might even be able to bring up specific ones. But you’ve had much more good than bad and you’re usually pretty confident that the bad times are temporary and your relationship will get through them.
If, however, you look at your relationship and realize that you have a lot more bad times than good, you might need to reconsider the relationship. At the very least, you should consider counseling.
Do you deeply trust your partner?
Are you completely honest with your partner, and they with you? Do either of you feel the need to snoop in each other’s phones or other private parts of your lives?
Believe it or not, trust is more important to a relationship than love. If you can’t trust your partner, all the love in the world won’t be enough to provide a healthy, happy relationship. Suspicion, hurt feelings, and constant worrying will destroy whatever might be left if there’s no trust.
If you and your partner are able to be totally honest with each other without fear, and neither feels the need to “check up” on the other, that’s a great sign for your relationship.
Do you laugh together often and perhaps even poke fun at each other?
A happy relationship should have lots of laughter — and not just from watching TV or movies. You should be able to laugh at each other’s jokes, tell each other funny stories about your day or your life, and even poke fun at each other sometimes.
You should also be having fun together. Go to comedy shows together for a laugh, but also do other things that might make you laugh, like paddle boarding, goat yoga, or taking a cooking class together.
It shouldn’t be a struggle to find laughter, either. If you’re having to go out of your way to find reasons to laugh, that might be cause for concern.
Do you enjoy your life together and still have your own?
Despite all the fairy tales and romance novels, a real relationship is not two people becoming one person. It is two people sharing one life, while still having their own life as well.
This means you have a great life together. You have shared interests, passions, hobbies, and events. You cook together, eat together, sleep together, all those things you do together.
But you also have your own interests, passions, hobbies, and events. You can go to a girls’ or guys’ night out with your friends without taking your partner or feeling guilty for doing so. You can spend an evening alone while they attend a work event or vice versa.
If one or both of you feels like the relationship is broken just because the other wants to spend some time alone, that can be unhealthy. But if the two of you can embrace being together while also being happy when one or both is ready for some quality time alone, that is a beautiful thing.
So how’d you do?
You’ve looked over the questions and hopefully you’ve answered them honestly. How’d you do? Is your relationship great? Are there a few areas where it might need a little work? Or maybe this was the nail in the coffin that helped you decide your relationship is over?
You can also use this as a connection-building tool with your partner. Have them sit down with you while you both answer the questions. Getting both perspectives can be an even better way of figuring out how the relationship is doing.
Whatever the case, just remember that good, healthy relationships take work. But the joy, love, and happiness they give you in return are worth it.
Wendy Miller is a freelance relationship writer & meditation teacher. After years of settling for abusive and otherwise toxic relationships, she got fed up. Using meditation and other tools, she got to work on healing herself, setting boundaries, and only engaging in relationships (romantic and otherwise) that bring her joy. She wants to help other single parents find the love they seek, including and going beyond romantic love. She lives in Florida with her two sons, where she homeschools while solo parenting, while surrounded by what feels like a zooful of animals.
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