Healthy Relationships

Definition of a Healthy Relationship - Tips

What is a healthy relationship? Read about the five important qualities that relationships have in common.

A healthy relationship is one that makes you feel good about yourself and your partner. Not only do you enjoy being together but you can freely express what you think and feel; your partner can do the same.

All relationships are different, but healthy ones have five important qualities in common. The acronym SHARE can help you remember these qualities.

S - Safety: In a healthy relationship, you feel safe. You don’t worry that your partner will harm you physically or emotionally.

H - Honesty: You do not hide anything important from your partner, and can express your thoughts without fear. You can admit to being wrong. You resolve disagreements by talking honestly.

A - Acceptance: You and your partner accept each other as you are. You appreciate your partner’s unique qualities and don’t try to fix them.

R - Respect: You think highly of each other. You respect each other’s right to have separate opinions and ideas.

E - Enjoyment: A healthy relationship has to be enjoyable. In a healthy relationship, you can play and laugh together. You have fun. 

The opposite of a healthy relationship is an abusive relationship. Such relationships revolve around control, fear, and lack of mutual respect. Typically, one partner does most of the controlling while the other lives in resentment or fear, but that is not always the case sometimes both partners take part in being the perpetrator of violence and the victim of it.

Basic Rights in a Relationship

1) The right to good will from the other

2) The right to emotional support

3) The right to be heard by the other and responded to with courtesy

4) The right to have your own view, even if your partner has a different view

5) The right to have your feelings and experience acknowledged as real

6) The right to receive a sincere apology for any jokes you find offensive

7) The right to clear and informative answers to questions that concern what is legitimately your business

8) The right to live free from criticism and judgment

9) The right to live free from accusation and blame

10) The right to have your own work and your interests spoken of with respect

11) The right to encouragement

12) The right to live free from emotional and physical threat

13) The right to live free from angry outbursts and rage

14) The right to be called by no name that devalues you

15) The right to be respectfully asked rather than ordered

Your Relationship is Healthy if…..

  • You trust your partner 
  • You treat each other the way you want to be treated, and accept each other’s opinions and interests 
  • You feel physically safe 
  • Your partner likes your friends and encourages you to spend time away from him or her 
  • You don’t feel responsible for protecting your partner’s reputation or for covering for his/her mistakes 
  • Your partner encourages you to enjoy different activities and helps you reach your goals 
  • Your partner likes you for who you are – not just for what you look like 
  • You are not afraid to say what you think and why you think that way. 
  • You like to hear how your partner thinks, and don’t always have to agree 
  • You have both a friendship and a physical attraction 
  • You don’t have to be with your partner 24/7 
  • Your partner cares about your sexual desires and takes time to communicate with you about what the two of you are comfortable with.

Barriers to Healthy Relationships

1) Unfinished Business from the past: Old wounds and hurts from previous relationships and family-of-origin are projected onto the current relationship. Core issues stand in the way of healthy relationships in the present.

2) Communication Patterns: Styles of communication that are indirect, passive, aggressive, blaming, or judging. Communication that is indirect and potentially toxic.

3) Boundaries: Very rigid boundaries where no one is able to get through or permeable boundaries that leave one exposed and vulnerable.

4) Control: Either an excessive need to control all aspects of the relationship or giving over of power and control to the partner in the relationship.

5) Excessive Involvement: An all-consuming preoccupation with the partner and the relationship. Life becomes out of balance because all your emotional, physical, and mental energy is focused on the relationship.

6) Trust: Trusting too much too soon or too little. You find it difficult to allow trust to build over time.

7) Expectations: When expectations are non-existent, you expect nothing of your partner/friend. When expectations are unrealistic you expect the relationship to meet your basic needs for security, validation, and self-esteem.

8) Overreaction: You overreact, giving excessive amounts of love and attention to your partner while denying proper care and attention to yourself. You overreact to what is said or not said by your partner. You/your partner builds mountains out of molehills.

Resources Available

  • ‍Elmwood Community Resource Center (204) 982-1720
  • Klinic 24 hour Crisis Line 1-888-322-3019, or (204) 786-8686
  • Domestic Violence Crisis Line 1-877-977-0007
  • Youth Mobile Crisis Team (204) 949-4777

Crisis Shelters for Women:

  • Ikwe-Widdjiitiwin (204) 987-2780
  • Willow Place (204) 615-0313Crisis 

Shelters for Men:

  • Men's Resource Centre (204) 415-6797 ext. 250, or 1-855-MRC-MRCS
  • Wahbung (204) 925-4670

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