Essential Qualities of a Healthy Relationship

A healthy relationship does not feel like work; it fills your life with love, joy, support, and meaning. While each relationship has its own story, the essentials of a healthy relationship remain the same.

Emotional Intimacy

People in healthy relationships share emotional intimacy, meaning they attempt to understand each other and are willing to risk being vulnerable by telling the other person how they feel. Of course, emotional intimacy develops gradually over time. You do not want to force it too quickly. For instance, disclosing some secret about your life within the first few weeks of knowing someone, just for the sake of being emotionally intimate, is the wrong way to go about it.

Being open about your emotions, feelings, and thoughts with your partner helps you grow emotionally intimate with each other. Do you or your partner frequently change the subject from how you feel to something safer? Or do you evade questions in some other way? Start by consciously making an effort to share your feelings with the person. If you have emotionally shut off from your partner due to infidelity, communication problems, or other causes, couples counseling should help you tackle the problem.

Equal Standing

A relationship is a two-way street. In a healthy relationship, both persons have an equal standing. Whether it is about the decisions a couple make or about admitting mistakes, both parties should take equal responsibility and allow the other person to be imperfect. Both partners should work toward nurturing the relationship. If one person in the relationship is making all the demands, then it puts a lot of pressure on the other partner; it will not be long before the relationship breaks.

Both partners should look at ways to give and grow the relationship, while also making room and accommodations for the relationship in their lives. The same goes for admitting mistakes; in a healthy relationship, people do not get defensive or play the blame game. They admit when they are wrong, and are ready to make changes if needed.

Trust and Loyalty

Trust lays a strong foundation for a relationship to grow. Couples in healthy relationships trust each other, and do not make unfounded accusations toward each other due to jealousy or other insecurities. Some insecurities, however, are grounded in fact. For example, sometimes, partners find it hard to trust each other if there has been a previous episode of cheating or infidelity. Either way, you want to discuss these issues openly with your partner to begin the journey toward resolution and rebuilding.

Loyalty is indispensable for a healthy romantic relationship. When you start a relationship with someone, you choose to be with her or him. Sometimes, immaturity, boundary issues and impulsive behavior may cause people to be disloyal. It takes integrity, commitment and respect for the other person to stay loyal in a relationship. If you are unhappy in a relationship, rather than be disloyal, it’s better to talk about it with your partner, determine if there is a possible solution, and even leave the relationship if resolution is not possible.


Couples often lose their individuality when they get into a relationship. This is common in couples who grow too dependent on each other. They stop giving importance to their own interests and values, and try doing things the “couple way”. This can also happen if one of the partners is controlling or tries to change the other person.

Too much doing things the “couple way” will not help foster a healthy relationship, as it can leave the partners feeling out of touch with themselves, thereby building resentment. Couples in a healthy relationship accept each other’s different interests and individual quirks, and do not change their core beliefs and values—or who they are—because of the relationship.

The Novus Relationship Counseling Center offices are convenient to Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Irvine, South Orange County, and Central Orange County.

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