Falling in love can be a powerful experience, our feelings are strong and real and we almost certainly idealise our new partner to some extent. It can be hard to know, is this healthy?
Here are some signs that you are in a healthy relationship
You have your own space
Togetherness is important; you both have your own, independent life, friends, hobbies and interests, and a ‘together’ life. You are not shamed either for dependence or your independence.
You can say ‘no’
Your partner respects your boundaries. You can say ‘No’ without being coerced, threatened, shamed or manipulated.
You can talk about the difficult stuff
It is ordinary to need to have conversations that are tricky; in a relationship, you are navigating two people’s different experiences, wants and needs. Life can be complicated, with children and parents and finances and work, and all the other various complexities that we experience as we go along. You need to be able to have the difficult conversations in a way that is constructive.
There is room for both of you in the relationship
You both, reasonably speaking, should ‘count’, though there will be times of stress where one partner needs more than the other, in general, there should be room for both of you to need and want what you do.
You can argue
This follows on from the last two points; you should be able to argue, or at least disagree, knowing that this will not break your relationship. Anger is in itself a useful energy, though sometimes it can be misused.
You feel/are safe
This is a big one. There is no room for physical, psychological or sexual abuse in a loving relationship. If you are, or you fear you might be experiencing any of these, seek more information and specialist support if necessary. A good relationship is one where you feel safe. Where you feel kindness, rather than contempt, both for and from your partner.
(This is said with the caveat that sometimes, when we have experienced abuse in a previous relationship, we can experience current relationships as more threatening then they are. We become wired for protection rather than connection. It might be appropriate to seek specialist support if you feel that this is the case so you can unpick what is past and what is present.)
The above is not to suggest that we should be perfectly happy and perfectly balanced at all times in our relationships. Life can be hard, and inevitably, these hard times have an impact on our closest relationships. Or the wear of daily life can grind us down, too, but we should know, when the chips are down, that those closest to us have our backs. That they are on our side.