The Difference Between a Healthy and Unhealthy Relationship
RELATIONSHIPS: If you’ve been on this planet for more than a few years, as I have, you’ve probably been involved in a few of them, and had the pleasure of experiencing both the exhilarating highs and devastating lows that naturally come with the territory.
The thing about relationships is that if we’re not careful they can consume and even suffocate us, leaving little room for us to nurture the most important relationship of all, the only one we will be involved with from the day we’re born right up until the day we die - the relationship with ourselves.
With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of what I believe constitutes both healthy and unhealthy relationships. You’ll likely be drawn to both types in your lifetime – this is a very normal part of being human! Yet armed with knowledge AND a healthy dose of self-love you should find yourself well-equipped to spot the signs of an unhealthy relationship before it consumes your sanity and life.
Note - whilst I’m referring primarily here to romantic relationships, the same basic principles can be applied to all forms of relationship - romantic, platonic, familial, business - whatever.
The Difference Between a Healthy and Unhealthy Relationship:
A healthy relationship allows each person a level of independence. Each person has their own interests and goals which they are comfortable pursuing
An unhealthy relationship finds both people dependent on the other for a sense of purpose. There are no outside interests that don’t involve the other person in some way
A healthy relationship allows for freedom of expression in each person. Each person recognises that differences in outlook and opinions can be embraced and even used to the advantage of the partnership
An unhealthy relationship sees one or both people trying to control or ‘shut down’ the opinions of the other person if and when they are not in line with the other’s opinions
A healthy relationship allows each person a sense of space. Both people recognise the need for ‘time-out’ every now and then
An unhealthy relationship feels suffocating. Personal space is not taken into consideration. One or both people feel the need to be involved in every.little.thing
A healthy relationship allows each person to grow and evolve as necessary. Both people have an understanding that although a relationship is a partnership – each party is a single entity and as such has individual needs which will naturally change over time
An unhealthy relationship stifles individual growth in one or both parties. Change or growth in any form is met with a level of fear and resistance
A healthy relationship thrives on the giving and receiving of affection and love by both people in the relationship
An unhealthy relationship sees love/affection/sex being used as a means of control or punishment. Affection is regularly withheld by one or both people to ‘prove a point’
A healthy relationship has both people understanding that disagreements and arguments are sometimes unavoidable. Although it may sometimes be difficult, both people in the relationship allow the other room to verbalise their upsets and vent their frustrations. Both people take the time to listen to the other during disagreement
An unhealthy relationship sees one or both people arguing only to win. The other person’s views are rarely or never taken into consideration during disagreement – the relationship is instead treated as a battleground
A healthy relationship sees both people accepting the limitations of the other. Neither party tries to ‘change’ the other or to force them into conforming to an impossible ideal
An unhealthy relationship has one or both people constantly trying to change the other to conform to his or her own unrealistic ideals
A healthy relationship has a ‘positive’ vibe to it. Although sometimes difficult (as all relationships are) it generally feels ‘right’
An unhealthy relationship has a constant air of negativity to it. Both people feel drained within its confines
A healthy relationship has a healthy level of communication. Individual needs are verbalised and understood by both parties. Important things are not left unsaid. Each person has an understanding of the communication style of the other – even if that style is vastly different to their own
An unhealthy relationship sees one or both people regularly ‘shutting down’ – much to the detriment of the other person. The ‘silent treatment’ is used as a form of punishment and there is little understanding by either party of the communication style and needs of the other. Mind games abound
A healthy relationship is one in which both people understand that there is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ relationship. Both parties know that in order to be successful, relationships require constant work!
An unhealthy relationship tries to live up to unrealistic expectations based on media and/or celebrity culture. Important issues are swept under the carpet, and an unhealthy emphasis is placed on status and appearances.
Have something else to add? Please, share in the comments!
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