What does a HEALTHY relationship look like?
Updated: Aug 12
A secure relationship is a relationship where both parties either grew up with securely attached parents or where they did the inner healing to be able to show up as a securely attached adult. So what does that mean?
According to attachment theory we show up in our relationships based on the prototypes of our first primary caregiver. I have a few videos on this in my course, the Ultimate Toolbox, if you'd like to learn a lot more.
But for purposes of this blog - I want you to think of a healthy adult that you know. Someone you respect and possibly admire. What is it about them that makes you admire them? How do they show up? What do they do (or do you think they do) in difficult situations? That is a healthy adult and someone you can use as an example of what to aim for.
A healthy relationship is where both parties show up as healthy adults the most of the time.
They are able to regulate themselves (have appropriate emotional reactions to events and get themselves calm again after a difficult situation); they are comfortable with intimacy (and also comfortable with autonomy / time without their partner); they don't shy away from conflict (but handle it safely); they communicate with each other over resentment; and respect each other.
They have a healthy self-esteem and self-trust. They appreciate each other and prioritize their own and each others needs.
They aren't defensive, but instead open to hearing from their partners when their partners feel hurt.
Healthy couples spend time together and time on their own (usually, there are always some exceptions).
Healthy couples don't criticize but communicate.
They enjoy playing and laughing together (in what ever format that comes for their personality).
Here are some steps you can take to show up as a healthy partner:
Step 1: Understand the characteristics of a healthy relationship. A healthy relationship involves mutual respect, trust, and communication. Both partners should feel valued and heard, with each person having an equal say in decision-making. There should also be compromise and a willingness to work through difficulties together.
Step 2: Communicate with your partner regularly to ensure that you are both on the same page. Make time for conversations that allow you to express your thoughts and feelings openly and honestly. Encourage your partner to do the same.
Step 3: Express appreciation for each other on a regular basis. Show your partner that you notice and value the small things that they do for you. Saying "thank you" and showing gratitude for your partner's efforts will help them feel important and reinforce positive behavior.
Step 4: Practice empathy and understanding towards your partner. Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand where they are coming from, even if you don't necessarily agree with their perspective.
Step 5: Build trust by being open and transparent. Be honest about your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Avoid keeping secrets or hiding things from your partner. Trust takes time to build, so be patient and consistent in your efforts.
Step 6: Set realistic expectations for your relationship. Avoid expecting your partner to be perfect or fulfill all of your emotional needs. Instead, focus on building a strong connection based on trust and mutual respect.
Step 7: Work together to discuss conflicts. Don't avoid conflict, but instead, approach it with an open mind and willingness to find a solution that works for both of you. Use "I" statements, express your needs, and listen with an open mind.
Step 8: Support each other in achieving individual goals. Allow your partner to pursue their own interests and encourage them to achieve their goals. This will provide a sense of trust and independence within the relationship.
Step 9: Find ways to have fun together. Laughter and enjoying each other's company is important in any relationship. Make time for fun activities that you both enjoy and find ways to incorporate them into your routine.
Step 10: Get a therapist (or work with me) to help you heal your childhood wounds and ideologies that keep you stuck. Book a free 15-minute call here.
Ps. Have you done my free What's Your Relationship Personality Quiz?