Relationship Green Flags for a Healthy Relationship
What makes a healthy relationship? Believe it or not, this question in therapy comes up often and it’s a valid and very important question to ask. It’s not just about physical attraction or that you have things in common and when there are things happening in a relationship that don’t feel quite right, this is when this question becomes even more necessary.
We learn our attachment styles from our childhood relationships, which influences the way that we relate in adulthood, and how we negotiate potential attachment wounds or threats.
For some, relationship red flags can seem more obvious which give you warning signs, but what happens when there are no obvious warning signs?
Relationships can be toxic or abusive in a way that is so covert over a period of time, you may not even be aware that it’s happening until it’s too late.
Other times, you may be in a relationship or fearful of starting a relationship out of fear of entering into another toxic relationship because of past experiences. So doubting yourself and second guessing every more in fear that you just want to get it right.
Other times couples struggle after being with each other for years and perhaps becoming complacent or not having those much needed conversations throughout a relationship as we change and grow. Needs are ignored, regular day to day living sets in and it becomes more about co-existing rather than continuing to build on a healthy relationship.
I wanted to start with 10 relationship green flags so that these nuances are more obvious and easier to know whether this is the kind of relationship worth investing your time and emotional welling in.
So, lets explore what these green flags actually look like.
- You feel safe to express how you feel
If you’re feeling angry, upset, hurt, annoyed, furious, or plain fed up, you feel safe enough within the relationship to explore that, without fearing the consequences. You can speak your mind and know that there is no danger in expressing how you feel. It’s important to not only feel safe in your relationship, but also to feel safe enough to be vulnerable and express how you feel without being mocked, ridiculed or invalidated.
- You can communicate your wants and needs
We all have needs within a relationship, it’s part of how we develop closeness and intimacy with our spouse. Instead of playing mind games or expecting your partner to guess, you communicate what you want like an adult and feel assured that your partner will not only listen to you, but try to act on what it is that you need.
- You don’t have to ask for kindness
Kindness in any relationship is just a given, it is the absolute minimum that you can expect in a relationship. The way you are spoken to and are treated matters, and your partner should expect the same. You should never have to ask or beg for your partner to show you acts of kindness.
- Your boundaries are respected
Boundaries are a necessity in any relationship, when we are clear on our boundaries, it teaches others how we expect to be treated, it keeps us safe and shows that we value ourselves. Only you can determine what your boundaries are, the right people will respect and honour your boundaries, this is particularly important for the person you’re in a relationship with.
- You can agree to disagree
You don’t always have to agree in a relationship, in fact it’’s healthy to have your own views and identity that don’t have to necessarily match in order to have a good relationship. A confident spouse will be able to tolerate these differences without being threatened or you feeling as though you have to always agree just to keep the peace.
- You feel encouraged and supported
When you get that new job or you achieve that milestone that you’ve been working towards, your partner is there to congratulate you and celebrate your wins. You won’t have to play it down in order to make them feel more comfortable, they will see your success as their own success in a way that feels nourishing and genuine.
Being in the right relationship has so many positive benefits on your wellbeing, having somebody who feels consistent, warm, genuine, empathic and caring are cornerstones of healthy and loving relationships.
If you’ve experienced trauma in your past, a safe relationship can feel triggering if what you’ve grown accustomed to is chaos and uncertainty in your relationship.
What a healthy relationship can do is help to heal your traumatic experience, regulate your nervous system so that you can experience safety in your relationship and start having loving reciprocal relationships.