If your relationship passed the seven criteria yesterday (see PART ONE: Are You In A Good Relationship?) you have a good solid foundation for moving forward into the future.
But there is more to having a healthy relationship than those seven signs including a few more that are fundamental to making sure your relationship stands the test of time. Do you pass these criteria too?
You Communicate Well
In any healthy relationship, not just a romantic one, communication is a vital part of keeping things working well.
- Do you listen and feel listened to?
- Do you make the effort to understand each other’s point of view?
- Do you “get” how he thinks and does he “get” you?
- Do you each get a chance to express your opinions in any discussion?
- Do you talk about your hopes and dreams for the future and not just trivial chit-chat about your day?
It’s important to take time out to talk away from everyday chores and distractions. If you don’t do that you can easily grow apart over the years without realizing it’s happening.
You Know How To Fight
There will be disagreements, and even arguments and fights. As long as you both handle them in a mature way, you can come out of them stronger and with a better understanding of each other. Even if you get quite heated, in a good relationship, it doesn’t get personal, you know when the fight is over and can kiss and make up right away.
If your usual pattern of fighting is less mature and is not so much a discussion as slinging blame, mud and insults at each other, getting defensive or sulking, that is a sign your relationship is not so healthy.
Every time a fight ends badly, you’re undermining your sense of being on the same side, a team working together. Learn to fight fairly to get things on more solid ground.
You Show Signs Of Affection
No matter how long you’ve been in your relationship, you should still want to touch, to kiss, to hug, to hold hands. These displays have little to do with love making and more to do with expressing how you feel about each other. In a good relationship, you’ll be happy to sit close and snuggle up, and you won’t normally pull away from being touched, unless you’re sick and don’t want to pass on your germs.
You Have a Healthy Sex Life
After the honeymoon period of about 18 months to 2 or 3 years after you get together, things tend to simmer down a bit in bed, but great sex is still part of a good relationship. That doesn’t mean you’re at it like rabbits all the time, or that every session is mind-blowing. It does mean, however, that you are still both interested in having sex, and that you each make the effort to keep it interesting and fun.
Routine in bed and a loss of interest are relationship killers over time, although you may have some dry spells to get through together such as during periods of illness and shortly after childbirth. The main thing is that if you do have a dry spell, you are both willing to do what it takes to get your sex life back on track as soon as you are able.
You know you’re in a good relationship when you don’t worry that there may be someone better out there for you. You are faithful to each other and not flirting with others whenever the opportunity strikes.
Of course, you’ll still notice good looking guys – just as he won’t have a virtual blindfold on when it comes to hot women – but you won’t have any real desire – the odd movie star fantasy excepted – to get any closer than looking.
If you find yourself (or you find him) seriously checking out other options, you’re not in a good place in the relationship.
You See Each Other In A Positive Light
Couples in unhealthy relationships tend to find fault with each other at every turn, so much so that they sometimes find it difficult to see any good points at all.
If you’re in a good relationship, you’ll have mostly positive thoughts about your partner. You know he isn’t perfect and sometimes he’ll really irritate you, but you’ll know without a shadow of a doubt that his good points outweigh the bad, and you’ll find it easy to focus on the positive.
You Have Common Goals And Dreams
In the best relationships, couples have the same goals for the future. Of course, they don’t share everything. I will never share my husbands dreams about his team winning the cup, for example. But when it comes to important goals like how and where you’ll live your life, you should be pulling together as one team, and be able to talk about your future together without feeling like you’re being talked into something you don’t want to do.
Some compromises may be needed but neither of you should feel you’re sacrificing future plans forever in order to accommodate the other’s needs, though there might be times to put your own plans and goals on hold for a short time so both of you can move forward.
If you plan on the relationship lasting, discussing long term goals shouldn’t scare either of you, and if either of you shies away from those kinds of discussions, it’s a bad sign.
Over to You: Does your relationship still look healthy when it comes to these 7 points? Please share in the comments below.
Look out for the final part of this article series tomorrow when there will be more ways to know if your relationship is healthy. Now Up! Find it here: 7 (More) Healthy Relationship Characteristics