What Makes a Relationship Healthy

If you have a romantic relationship, you most likely want a healthy relationship. But what does one consider as a healthy relationship?

Healthy relationships do not look the same for everyone since everyone has different needs. Your needs around communication, sex, affection, space, shared hobbies or values may change throughout life. So a relationship that works in your 20s may not be the same as the relationship you want in your 30s.

A healthy relationship is a broad term. But a few key signs do stand out in flourishing relationships.

What does a Healthy Relationship Look Like

Open Communication

Partners in relationships typically talk about the things that is going on in their lives like success, failure and everything in-between. You should be comfortable talking about any issues that may come up, from things that happen in everyday life such as work or friend stress to more serious issues such as mental health symptoms or financial concerns. Even if you have different opinions, listen without judgement and then share perspectives.


Trust involves honesty and integrity. Don’t keep secrets from each other. You must feel safe and comfortable around your partner and know they will not hurt you emotionally or physically. You must have each other’s best interests in mind and respect each other enough to encourage each other to make your own choices.

A Sense of Yourself as a Separate Person

Healthy relationships can be best described as interdependent. This means you rely on each other for mutual support but still maintain your identity as a unique individual. You know you have their approval and love but your self-esteem does not depend on them. You are there for each other, but you do not depend on each other to get all of your needs met. You still have friends and connections outside of the relationship and spend time with your own interests and hobbies.


A key characteristic in a healthy, long-term relationship is curiosity. This means you are interested in their thoughts, goals and daily life. You want to watch them grow into their best self. You are not fixated on who they used to be or who you think they should be. Curiosity also means you are willing to consider or talk over changes to your relationship structure if aspects of your existing relationship become less fulfilling. It also involves realism. You see them for who they truly are and care about that person, not an idealized version of them.

Time Apart

Most people in healthy relationships prioritize spending time together, but the time you spend together can vary based on personal needs, work and other commitments. But you also recognize the need for personal space and time on your own. You can spend this time relaxing alone, pursuing a hobby or seeing friends or family.

Playfulness or Light-heartedness

It is important to make time for fun and spontaneity. If you can joke and laugh together, that is a good sign. Sometimes the challenges in life may affect one or both of you. This can be a temporary change in the tone of your relationship and make it hard to relate to each other in your usual ways. But sharing lighter moments help relieve tension and strengthen your relationship in tough times.

Physical Intimacy

Intimacy often refers to sex, but not always. Not everyone enjoys or wants sex. Your relationship can still be healthy without it, as long as both of you are on the same page about getting your needs met. Physical intimacy might involve kissing, hugging, cuddling and sleeping together. Whatever type of intimacy you share, physically connecting and bonding is important.

If you both enjoy sex, your physical relationship is most likely healthy when you:
• Feel comfortable initiating and talking about sex
• Can positively handle rejection
• Can discuss desires
• Feel safe expressing your interest in more or less sex


A strong relationship can be considered a team. You work together and support each other, even when you do not see eye to eye on something or have goals that are not exactly the same. You are always ready to offer support when you need each other.

Conflict Resolution

Even in a healthy relationship, you will have occasional disagreements and feel frustrated or angry with each other from time to time. This is completely normal; it does not mean your relationship is unhealthy. What matters is how you address conflict. If you can talk about your differences with respect, you are on the right track. Partners who address conflict without judgement or contempt can often find a compromise or a solution.