"A happy and healthy relationship" — what does that even mean? I was in a relationship for two and a half years, where I was comfortable and treated well. Was it healthy to stay in that relationship for as long as I did when I was just comfortable? What about when my current partner and I sit together on our phones, not talking to each other? Is that healthy? What about not spending every waking moment together? Or thinking about each other sporadically? Unfortunately, there isn't a strict guide on how to know if you're in a happy, healthy relationship. However, there are particular aspects of an unhealthy relationship that can be black and white. If your partner if abusive, that's unhealthy. If one of you constantly puts everything into the relationship, and it isn't reciprocated, that's unhealthy.
But, then again, like most things when it comes to relationships, you and your partner have to decide what's happy and healthy for you. What may be for Beth and Bobby across the hall may not be for you, and vice versa. To get a better understanding of how couples define happy, healthy relationships, I turned to Reddit. Here are some of the best ones I found.
You give each other personal space.
Shes watching tv downstairs and im in bed upstairs on Reddit... and that's ok.
Its Saturday night 10pm
Having independence does not automatically mean a lack of love. Mutual respect for each other's personal and private space is the key to any healthy relationship!
One of the worst relationships I ever had was one where she just assumed if we were both doing nothing we should be spending time together. Explaining repeatedly that "No, I'm not mad at you, but I really just want to go home and play video games for a few hours and go to bed early" was a huge frustration.
You appreciate the small things.
My husband brings me home a chocolate bar I like or a bag of chips or some random treat, It's just sweet knowing that he thought of me, that he remembers what I like etc.
I think of it as our equivalent to flowers. Some men randomly get their women flowers, mine gets me snacks. I'd rather the snacks, he knows me so well <3 (and I do it for him too)
When you're truly enjoying something and your first thought is to share it with them, whether it be food, a funny video, a joke, etc.
Your arguments are productive.
Conflict is normal. Hostility is not. When you can comfortably disagree on things, it's likely you're in a healthy relationship.
You argue, but it's productive and doesn't escalate into a full-on fight. Some strong language, but no put-downs, and you're always able to fall asleep next to each other.
You don't 'fight', you 'discuss'. Sure, voices may get raised sometimes, but if both of you realize that it is both of you against a problem, instead of both of you against each other, you are in a good place.
In an argument, both people have a good point. Neither one is entirely wrong, and neither one is entirely right. Both people genuinely have a legitimate grievance to discuss. When you can sit down and talk about each person's issue with the relationship and discuss a path forward to fixing it, rather than getting mad and shutting down, you know you're on the right path.
You don't define each other.
You are still you, with your own hobbies and goals, as are they.
So many people out there are looking for a relationship that will define them and give them worth, and this just inherently and fundamentally breaks the foundation of a relationship.
To me, a healthy relationship is having two independent people with their own lives and dreams, who happen to wind up together purely because they love the other person for who they are.
Your relationship is two-sided.
When the relationship isn't one sided. One person shouldn't have the responsibility of the world on their shoulders. Things should be shared as equally as possible. This is in regards to all aspects of the relationship. One person shouldn't always have the responsibility of taking care of the house if both people work 40 hours. One person shouldn't always put in the effort to plan dates and outings. One person shouldn't always initiate sex and physical affection. One person shouldn't stress themselves out trying to take care of and doing nice things for their spouse when they don't get anything in return. If any of these things are truly one sided and isn't a mutual agreement between partners, someone is going to feel upset, frustrated, depressed, stressed, or unloved that they are the only one giving in the relationship, and are likely to feel as though their partner doesn't care about them.
Each person has a responsibility to make their partner happy, and they should want to do it. If it feels like a burden to do something nice for your SO, then the relationship probably isn't working on some level.
You trust each other.
You feel like you're at home. It's stable. Neither of you is possessive or jealous, etc. There's just a steady trust that this is your person and they know all your secrets and they're not going anywhere. Their presence makes you comfortable. I always say, I'm really good at being on my own and being independent and having my own things going on. But as much fun as I have on my own, it's always more fun with my husband. Having him next to me always makes me feel more confident and relaxed.
But you can't have a healthy relationship unless you have two healthy people. If one or both of you has a ton of trust issues or baggage, that will always present itself. And that doesn't mean you have to be with someone with zero history. I have plenty of crazy backstory. You just have to have worked through it enough on your own to not always be bringing it into your relationship. A significant other is neither a superhero nor a therapist nor a saint. The sooner you realize this, the better.
You laugh together.
He mimicked a fart sound, a this is what an insanely old person sounds like when they fart sound.
I died, I was in the kitchen, in tears, stomping my feet, laughing.
Which in turn had him laughing because I could not contain myself. He's very proud that he can make me absolutely lose my shit with how silly he is.
I have never been goofier in my life until I started dating my SO. We're constantly making silly faces or sneaking up on each other. Little else makes me as happy as just being a goof ball w/ her.
My SO and I make each other laugh every single day. Of course you can do this with a friend, but no one gets into the depths of your deepest darkest jokes as the person who goes to the deepest darkest pits in your body. Your soul.
You're proud of your partner.
When you're proud to be with the person you're with. In my head, I'm like "you see ladies, you see this handsome guy? He's mine, all mine." I'm so f*ck*ng proud to walk down the road with him next to me. And when he opens the car door for me, and when he smiles at me, and when he puts his arm around me, I'm just the most proud, happiest lady on the planet because he's amazing and he's 100% mine. It's been 8 years with him and I have not regretted a single moment.
You're just happy to be with each other.
Naked cuddling is the best.
We've instituted weekly naked cuddle sessions cause it helps so much to be reminded how nice that is. Doesn't have to lead to sex, just being in bed together with skin to skin contact watching stupid things on tv does wonders.
Being able to sit in silence with your partner without a word being said and not have it be a problem. I'm not talking about a few minutes, I'm talking about an hour or two - like on a road trip or just relaxing somewhere.
It's weird to me that there are a lot of couples who assume that silence = "something's wrong" or "she's mad at me" or something to that effect.
Both my SO and I are like puppies whenever we hear the other one coming in. We're so excited to see each other and hear about each others days.
We can also just be together. We cuddle up on the sofa or in bed and just look at our phones and occasionally kiss. It's perfect.
We never stay mad at each other either. If we have to have a serious discussion and we're upset. It takes less than 5 minutes before we're playing our "can I have a kiss?" Game and we're laughing like nutters
Chances are, you and your SO have done some of these things, and if you haven't, that's totally fine. It doesn't mean you're not in a happy, healthy relationship, it just means you define it differently. There is no right or wrong way to have a beautiful, flourishing relationship.
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