Healthy relationships take into account both partners, so your question is an excellent start. Respectful relationships allow both partners to feel supported and connected, but still feel independent. Together, you and your partner will decide what is healthy for you and what is not. If something doesn’t feel right, you should feel comfortable talking about it with your partner.
Even though different people define relationships in different ways, there are several key elements present in order for a relationship to be healthy:
• Communication: Talk openly, honestly and safely about problems and listen to one another.
• Respect: Value each other as you are and respect each other’s opinions.
• Trust: Believe what your partner has to say. There is no need to “prove” each other’s trustworthiness.
• Honesty: Be consistently honest with each other. That does not mean sharing everything, just the things that you know are important for the other person to know.
• Equality: Make decisions together, respect each other’s ideas.
• Personal time spent apart, alone or with others. Respect each other’s need for time apart.
• Making mutual intimate choices: Intimate partners are able to talk openly and safely discuss what they are and are not comfortable with.
• Economic/financial partnership: Both partners have equal say about finances. All partners have access to the resources they need.
• Engaging in supportive parenting: All partners are able to parent in a way they feel comfortable. Communicate together about the needs of the child(ren), as well as the needs of the parents.
It’s a daily practice for both partners to understand each other’s needs and expectations—to be on the same page—which will help your relationship grow.