Most people seek a happy and fulfilled relationship with a partner who loves them and who shares many of the same interests. The truth is, relationships aren’t just about physical attraction, gifts and romantic dinners. When times get rough, the strength of a relationship is tested and maintaining a healthy, happy relationship can be hard. It will mean acting in the best interest of your relationship, rather than focusing solely on what you want and working to overcome difficulties together. However, many of us experience unhealthy relationships before we actually manage to find a good one. If you are unsure whether the relationship you’re in is a good one, here are 5 characteristics of a good relationship:
1. The ability to apologise and forgive
No relationship is perfect all the time and there will likely be disagreements and arguments between even the most committed couples. Apologising and forgiving can both be hard to do, but without these, relationships will undoubtedly break down as resentment sets in. If one person holds a grudge against the other, or one partner refuses to apologise when they’ve hurt the other, you are unlikely to be able to work through your difficulties. Some people want to hear you say, “I’m sorry,” while others prefer actions to show your remorse, but either way, you must try to repair the damage caused by arguments if you want your relationship to work in the long run. Within the characteristics of a good relationship, any conflict should be dealt with quickly and once an apology is given, you should always try to forgive. Once you have, the issue should be dropped and you should avoid bringing it up at a later date.
2. A strong friendship
This is the foundation of any good relationship. As well as loving the other person, you must also like them as a person, not want to change them and care about their well-being and happiness. If your partner has a bad day, you should want to cheer them up any way you can and you should enjoy hanging out with them. You should also be there to support them through hard times, not just around when they’re at their best. Once they’ve seen you at your worst and they still love you just as much regardless, then you know you’re onto something good. Couples in healthy relationships should both genuinely want to be together, with no ulterior motive such as financial incentives or the fear of being alone. Partners should also show sincere affection for each other, such as hugs and kisses, not just a focus on sex. Many people in successful, long-term relationships will consider their partner their best friend, who they feel most like themselves around.
3. Mutual independence
One of the main characteristics of a good relationship is your independence. While friendship is a key factor of a good relationship and it is important that you have similar likes and interests, it is also important that you are both mutually independent. In a healthy relationship, you should each take time to care for yourselves and you should try to avoid seeing yourself as only one of half of something. You are your own person and both you and your partner should value your individuality. It is important to remember that you don’t always have to agree on everything and that you can have separate friendship groups, while maintaining a good relationship. If you aren’t satisfied and fulfilled and you just do things to please your partner, you will eventually have very little love to give them. However, choosing to be together and being able to rely on each other, even as two individual and somewhat different people, is a strong sign of a healthy and balanced relationship.
4. Assertive communication
Good communication between partners is a good indicator of a healthy relationship. Both people should be able to openly and honestly express their thoughts and feelings to one another. You should be able to assertively communicate your needs, wants and concerns, without worrying about any kind of backlash. The characteristics of a good relationship thrives on communication. You should never keep how you feel a secret from your partner, as this nearly always leads to resentment in the end. Similarly, don’t lie to your partner as that never ends well. While being assertive takes practice, if you are comfortable with your partner, you should not feel repressed in anyway and should be able to tell them anything. If in doubt about how to approach a topic of conversation, just keep it simple and be clear – “I feel” or “I need,” gives your partner all the information they need without them having to guess. If they cannot accept what you need from them, then maybe they aren’t the right partner for you.
5. Commitment and respect
These two characteristics of a good relationship go hand in hand. Couples should respect each other’s views and opinions, even if they don’t necessarily agree and also respect the other person’s boundaries. If one partner doesn’t want to do something, they should not be pushed into doing it and the other person should respect that and try to find a compromise. If you are committed to your partner, you will accept both their qualities and flaws and love them regardless and you will be willing to work through any challenges together. If things aren’t working out, you should also respect the other person enough to talk about it and should avoid going behind their back at all costs. Also, although you don’t always have to agree on everything, but you should at least be on the same page when it comes to the bigger things, like having children. If you’re in a relationship for the long haul, you should discuss and plan for the future together and be committed to achieving the same long-term goals in order for the relationship to stand the test of time.
These are just five characteristics of a healthy relationship and if you want yours to work out, it should definitely include these, along with complete trust. Can you name any more important characteristics of a good relationship? Leave them in the comments below…
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An English graduate from Yorkshire, currently living in Teesside. A lover of TV & film, music, tattoos and travelling!