About Randi

Randi Kreger has brought the concerns of people who have a family member with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) to an international forefront through her best-selling books, informative website, and popular online family support community Welcome to Oz.

 
 

Eight Signs of a Healthy Relationship


TRAITS OF A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP Traits of Healthy Relationships

A list of what makes for a good relationship could be quite lengthy and might differ from couple to couple. But here are some characteristics mentioned over and over by marital therapists. Ask yourself what's important to you and whether or not your current relationship meets your needs on a scale of 0 (not there at all) to 5 (high).  This isn't a quiz; just something for you to think about as you look at the whole relationship.

1. Respect for Each Other: In a healthy relationship, couples need to make compromises. But neither partner should ask the other one to change things about themselves central to who they are or what they want out of life. Respect is also about treating each other in the way you'd like to be treated, even when you're angry and frustrated. Other signs of respect include caring about the things that are important to your mate and recognizing that differences are OK.

2. Support and Empathy: In a healthy relationship, partners are there for each other with warmth and affection through both good times and bad. Even when their opinions differ, supportive spouses try to see things from their partner's point of view. Without keeping track on paper and pencil, people in workable marriages attempt to be there equally for each other. Otherwise, partners can get burned out.

3. Communication and Sharing: Honest, direct communication is a key part of any relationship. The ability to share your thoughts, feelings and desires in an open and honest way are essential to the level of intimacy and connectedness the two of you share. People are not born knowing how to best communicate and send the right non-verbal signals. It's a skill that can be learned like any other—if the two people are willing to learn.

4. Mutual Trust, Honesty, and Fidelity:  Honesty leads to trust, which leads to feelings of safety, probably the most important ingredients in a happy marriage. Trust paves the way for the confidence to share your feelings, emotions, and self with someone else. When someone lies to us, it erodes trust and drives a wedge between the two people in the relationship. Because trust provides the foundation for nearly all relationships, the bond is threatened.

5.Enjoying Time Together and Time Apart: Jose and Maria (from the beginning of this chapter) enjoy many common interests and hobbies. But that's half the picture. Couples also need space for other friends, their own interests, and private time alone. This shouldn't be threatening to well-adjusted partners—after all, they'll want some time to themselves, too. When people don't have enough of their own space, they begin to feel trapped and suffocated.  HCP tends to be enmeshed.

6. Fairness/Equality: Relationships marred by power and control struggles lose their intimacy because you can't afford to be vulnerable with someone who might use it against you. When one or both of you are enmeshed in a power struggle, the simplest decisions (e.g. where should we go to dinner?) become fraught with angst and conflict. It often takes a therapist to unveil the real issues beneath the predictable fights.

7. Connection/Intimacy: Emotional intimacy and connectedness happens when we feel loved, accepted, and safe to reveal who we really are, warts and all. The safer we feel, the more we're willing to share. The rewards are great; it helps us get to know ourselves and it may be the closest we can get to another person in our trip on planet Earth. It is the essence of being loved.

8. A Mutually Rewarding Sex Life: The sexual relationship works well and is satisfying for the both of you. This may mean striking compromises about frequency of sex, who initiates, and so forth. Neither partner should try to force the other to do what is beyond their comfort level—although it's also a good practice to try new things you and your partner might enjoy.

How did your relationship match up? Look especially at the things most important to you.

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