Author: Augusta Groeschel-Johnson
Having healthy relationships is not just about romantic attachments. We first learn how to have healthy relationships through those we have with family and friends. Additionally, a large part of having good relationships with others comes from having a healthy relationship with ourselves. These are aspects of healthy relationships that we can all remind ourselves we deserve to have, whether you are in a romantic relationship or not.
Individual Identity: No one should base their sense of self on a significant other. Everyone is their own person with their own interests, ideas, and dreams. Relationships are beautiful because you get to learn about others as their own individuals and share the unique things that make you who you are.
Supported Self-Sufficiency: Codependency is when you are too reliant on one other person to give your life purpose and stability. We should be supportive of our loved ones and invested in helping them, but we also need to be supportive of ourselves and invested in our own success.
Honest Communication: Communicating frequently and honestly can be hard work. We often neglect to bring up things that upset us or concern us, even to the people we love. It is important not to keep important things that affect your relationship to yourself, because it will only become harder to have the conversations you need.
Respectful Collaboration: Consider you and the people who you have relationships with, whether romantic or not, as part of a team. You should each want the best for the other and share common goals for the team. Everyone should be giving and receiving support, while not overextended beyond what they can fulfill. Disagreement happens, but different opinions and needs should be treated with respect so that you can find the best solution for everyone with equal power in that decision-making.
Consensual Intimacy: Intimacy is not only something we have with sexual partners, it is participating in things with another person that makes you feel more connected. Intimacy should always come from a place of respect and care. This means frequently checking in with each other to make sure that everyone is happy, comfortable, and safe.
Boundaries: Everyone has different boundaries. You can only create your own boundaries, but the people who love and respect you should not violate them. Boundaries can change and that is normal. For example, one day you may enjoy holding hands with your partner, and in another moment that may be too much for you. No one should be offended by your needs changing, and we owe our significant others the same.
Community: Maintaining your own community of friends, family, and other connections is important even when you are invested in a partnership. We all deserve to have a system of social support from others, so don’t deny yourself or your significant other connections with people outside your relationship.
For more tips on healthy relationships, check out these sources!