Relationships are the foundations of our lives. They lift us up, bring us joy and inspire us to be our best selves. Since relationships are such an important part of our lives, we need to be able to recognize the difference between when a relationship is healthy, and when one is not.
Here at HomeFront we believe that everyone deserves a relationship that is healthy, positive and safe, and that’s why in light of Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we wanted to talk about some of the key elements of a healthy relationships.
At its core, healthy relationships are built on respect. Respecting yourself and your partner is the first step in building a solid foundation, and understanding that you are both unique individuals with varying perspectives and opinions, and valuing this about your partner. Respect leads to trust, accountability, safety, honesty, support and cooperation.
Respect also means that there is an equal playing field in the relationship. Both partners are in a balance of power and control in regards to decisions within the relationship, and both are able to set forward boundaries that make them feel comfortable.
2. Open Communication
Communication is another key element in any strong relationships. Partners must be able to speak openly about their feelings and things that are important to them. When something is bothering or upsetting you, you should feel safe to share this with your partner without fear or judgement, and have the other person listen and understand.
When arguments arise, as they will, partners will talk through the issue in a respectful way, taking into consideration both their needs and work to negotiate a healthy compromise with one another. Along with conflict, mistakes are inevitable, and it’s important to acknowledge and admit when you’re wrong and take responsibility for your mistakes.
Remember as well that consent is fundamental to a healthy relationship, and should be asked for throughout, and never assumed!
3. Trust and Support
It’s incredibly important that partners within a relationship trust and support one another. With honesty and trust, relationships can truly thrive and partners will feel safe to open up and express their feelings, emotions and boundaries freely.
Support is about being able to rely on your partner when hard times come through, and on the flip side, being able to celebrate each other’s accomplishments and triumphs.
When is a relationship unhealthy?
While conflict is inevitable in every relationship, it’s important to recognize when conflict is unhealthy. Partners should be able to disagree and share their differing opinions; however conflict should never lead to name-calling, insults, or any kind of threatening or violent behaviour.
Unlike a healthy relationship, which is about equality and respect, an unhealthy relationship is about power and control over another person by using threats, put-downs, isolation, coercion, stalking, physical or emotional harm.
No one deserves to be in an unhealthy relationship. If you are concerned that your relationship has become unhealthy, please get the help you deserve. Head to the Get Help section on our website to learn more about resources available in Calgary.