We’ve talked about how to spot a toxic relationship—the kind where keeping score, name-calling, and belittling are the norm. But what exactly does a healthy relationship look like?
While “healthy” may look different from couple to couple, there are at least a few universal things you’ll both do when you take the health of your relationship seriously. Here are five.
1. You give each other alone time.
Couples naturally spend copious amounts of time together, but being attached like Siamese twins crosses into dependent territory. Healthy couples are able to part ways when needed so their individual interests can flourish—whether that’s reading quietly in the bedroom or leaving home for a dance class.
2. You’re able to say, “I’m sorry.”
Just because you’re in a good relationship doesn’t mean you’ll never do wrong. Healthy pairs are willing step up to the plate of responsibility and offer a sincere apology and a strategy for not letting the misdeed repeat itself.
3. You trust each other.
In a healthy relationship, you don’t feel compelled to snoop to get the scoop because he’s already totally transparent. This can take time—especially for those of us with exes who’ve given us reasons to automatically mistrust our S.O.—but a good partner will take the time to prove he’s trustworthy until you simply know it in your heart.
4. You make each other better people. When he’s around, you’re wittier, funnier, kinder, more generous —because that’s what he inspires in you. You encourage one another to take chances, and you build each other up when you’re down.
5. You show each other gratitude.
You don’t take the little things for granted. In fact, you can turn him taking out the trash or emptying the dishwasher into a five-minute-long compliment about how thoughtful and helpful he is. And he can give it right back.