Healthy relationships are built on a foundation of respect.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a list of characteristics of a healthy relationship:
- Mutual respect. Respect means that each person values who the other is and understands the other person’s boundaries.
- Trust. Partners should choose to trust in each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt.
- Honesty. When a partner lies, it takes time to rebuild that trust in him or her. Honesty builds trust and strengthens the relationship.
- Compromise. In a relationship, each partner does not always get his or her way. They should acknowledge different points of view and be willing to give and take.
- Individuality. Each partner should not have to compromise who they are, and his or her identity should not be based on their partners’.
- Good communication. Each partner should speak honestly and openly to avoid miscommunication. If a partner needs to sort out his or her feelings first, their partner should respect those wishes and wait until they are ready to talk.
- Anger control. We all get angry, but how we express it can affect our relationships with others. Anger can be handled in healthy ways such as taking a deep breath, counting to 10, or talking it out.
- Problem solving. Partners can learn to solve problems and identify new solutions by breaking a problem into small parts or by talking through the situation.
- Fighting fair. Everyone argues at some point, but those who are fair, stick to the subject, and avoid insults are more likely to come up with a possible solution. Partners should take a short break away from each other if the discussion gets too heated.
- Understanding. Each partner should take time to understand what the other might be feeling by putting themselves in their shoes.
- Self-confidence. When partners have confidence in themselves, it can help their relationships with others. It shows that they’re calm and comfortable enough to allow others to express their opinions without forcing their own opinions on them.
- Being a role model. By embodying what respect means, partners can inspire each other, friends, and family to choose respect, too.