relationshipsHealthy versus Unhealthy Relationships

A relationship is defined as the way in which two or more people are connected.  If we stop and think about it, we are connected to a lot of people in our lives.  So it’s only natural that relationships, or how we interact and connect with people, can have a huge impact on our own wellbeing.

We have relationships with our family members, friends, coworkers, the annoying neighbor who likes to mow their grass at 6:00 A.M., and of course the one we probably all thought of first – our spouse or significant other.

Have you ever asked yourself, what makes a relationship “unhealthy”?  If you have ever been in an unhealthy or abusive relationship you may have put more thought into this question than others.  Unhealthy relationships are often tainted by on person trying to control the other.  They also often leave feelings of fear and shame.  Here are some differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Healthy Relationship Characteristics

  1. The relationship is based on honesty and both partners value and strive for honesty.
  2. Both partners have a sense of security in the relationship.
  3. The relationship encourages personal growth in both parties. Neither party is fearful of the other person making strides to better himself/herself.
  4. Both parties are willing to make sacrifices for the other and find it a pleasure to do so for the person they love.
  5. Openness is valued and encouraged.

Unhealthy Relationship Characteristics

  1. The relationship is full of manipulation from at least one party, seeking to gain only for himself/herself.  This person is willing to use lies and deceit to get what they want.
  2. One party remains fearful in the relationship, fearful that the other person will leave them if they don’t do something right all the time.
  3. Growth is discouraged because there is no sense of trust in the relationship.  One party or both remain stagnant and are afraid to grow or try new things.
  4. One-sided sacrifices are demanded and never or hardly ever returned.  One person does the sacrificing and this person’s needs are rarely considered.
  5. Openness is not valued, as needs and feelings are not valued or discussed.

It’s important to make wise decisions when committing to a long-term relationship. Good relationships have the benefit of having someone to provide understanding, trust, and respect.  Being in a healthy relationship can also provide you fewer mental health problems, reduced stress, and increased confidence.