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Healthy Relationships

Every relationship is unique. People engage in relationships for many reasons, often to fulfil a need, such as affection, sex, love, companionship, and stability. Regardless of the reason we are seeking or are in a relationship, there are attributes that support all relationships to be healthy ones.

Signs of a healthy relationship

Open communication

Healthy relationships demonstrate open communication skills whereby each person willingly communicates things that are important to them. This can range from discussing the little stresses in life, such as family and day to day pressures, to talking about big life events or things that we may find difficult discussing with other people.


Trust isn’t just about having confidence that your partner will abide by the boundaries that you set for your relationship. It is necessary for people to allow their partner to explore hobbies by themselves without feeling as though they are under surveillance. Being able to trust that your partner will follow through on commitments they have made to you and that they are there for you when you need them is a fundamental aspect of a relationship.


It can be easy to become lost in a relationship, particularly at the start. However, a sign of a healthy relationship is the ability to maintain your individuality and a sense of autonomy. This means that whilst you are together, you recognise that you are still individuals and have hobbies and friends that exist outside of the relationship.


Time can be measured not only in quantity but quality. People in healthy relationships ensure they engage in quality time together. ‘Quality time’ is a broad umbrella term that can mean different things to different people; it is just about spending time with your partner away from distractions. It is also important to spend time apart. This allows people to take perspective and gain an appreciation for the relationship that they are in and further enjoy the time that is spent together.


Life can be challenging and those in healthy relationships remember to find the time to have fun and laugh together. Often these moments form precious memories.

Physical intimacy

Often people think of this mainly in terms of sex however, there are a wide variety of ways to be intimate. For those who don’t want to have sex, a healthy sexual relationship is one in which all parties feel comfortable talking about their needs and desires and don’t feel pressured into doing anything they don’t want to do. Open communication about sex and respecting personal boundaries is extremely important and consent should always be gained before engaging in physical intimacy.

Conflict resolution

It is inevitable that conflict will arise within a relationship for many reasons. Conflict is not a sign of an unhealthy relationship, but poor conflict resolution is. People in healthy relationships attempt to resolve conflict with their partner in whichever ways works best for them.

Warning signs to look out for

As well as positive attributes, there can also be warning signs that may indicate an unhealthy relationship. These can include:

Lack of boundaries
An unequal partnership
Not having a say
Being unable to communicate

If you need assistance

A group counselling and therapy session. There are people sat in a circle talking to each other. Only their hands are in view.

All relationships require a commitment to be healthy. Relationships are complex and at times difficult to manage. If you feel help is needed to navigate the ins and outs of being together, professional help can be sought, such as counselling or talking therapy services. Regularly reassessing the values and goals of each person and exploring what each person wants from the future of the relationship will contribute to its success.