Couple holding hands

19 signs of a healthy relationship and how to build one

While no relationship is perfect, it’s fair to say that we all desire a healthy one.

But many of us find ourselves in relationships that are dissatisfying or detrimental to our emotional and mental wellbeing.

A survey commissioned by money-transfer service TransferWise and carried out by YouGov revealed that 60% of us tolerate and stay in bad relationships that we don’t find fulfilling, while silently accepting our partner’s negative behaviours.

So, what constitutes a healthy relationship and how can you and your partner build one to keep the love and bond strong, happy and everlasting?

Read on to find out.

What is a healthy relationship?

In short, a healthy relationship is one that is positive, compatible and adaptable. 

However, it really depends on the people involved. There isn’t one rule for a healthy relationship, as everyone has different needs and expectations.

Your needs regarding communication, sex, affection, space, morals, values, life goals and interests may differ from your partner’s, which can impact the health of your relationship.

For example, if your partner prefers to have a polyamorous relationship as opposed to a more traditional relationship, they may define a healthy relationship differently, which may not work for you.

Both you and your partner’s outlook on life may also change as you experience different phases in your life, which is normal. 

However, it’s important for you and your partner to address and deal with your differences to avoid the risk of an unhealthy relationship.


Young couple in a healthy relationship kissing on bed

Signs of a healthy relationship

First and foremost, it’s important to know that no healthy relationship can be built by one person alone. Both partners must work together to create healthy interactions within the relationship.

If both partners want to know how to have a healthy relationship, they should start with the following behaviours:

  1. Have confidence in your partner and in yourself
  2. Practice self-love and learn how to be happy with yourself
  3. Spend time apart to give space to one another
  4. Show affection and physical intimacy
  5. Have open communication and be honest about your feelings
  6. Establish a sense of trust
  7. Be playful, lighthearted and smile whenever you can
  8. Be patient
  9. Don’t be selfish and learn how to see things from the other person’s perspective
  10. Practice forgiveness
  11. Deal and resolve arguments amicably
  12. Listen to your partner
  13. Support and value your partner
  14. Respect one another and have boundaries
  15. Make mutual choices and decisions
  16. Treat your partner as an equal
  17. Show compassion
  18. Let your partner have their own independence
  19. Take your relationship at a comfortable pace

Happy couple spending quality time and eating takeaway together

How to get out of a toxic relationship

A toxic relationship can provoke a lot of suffering, and in most cases, people in this kind of relationship can feel more alone than if they were single.

It can also damage future relationships, as the person can bring their emotional and psychological baggage from negative past experiences on to a new relationship.

Signs of a toxic relationship

To better identify the signs of a toxic relationship, it’s important to pay attention to the following signals:

  • Changes in the way you are as a person
  • Your partner only point issues and criticise your family and friends
  • There are signs of control of your life (what you do, where you go etc.)
  • You have more sad moments than happy ones
  • Your ideas and values are too different and there is nothing in common
  • Dishonesty
  • Ignoring boundaries and making informed decisions alone
  • Being pressured into sexual activity 
  • Making you feel isolated by restricting your contact with others
  • Lack of trust and privacy invasion
  • Toxic communication when issues arise 
  • Lack of support
  • Feelings of jealousy
  • Bad financial behaviours 

Couple having a heated argument at home

Ending a toxic relationship

Once you are able to identify that your relationship is toxic, you should prepare yourself to leave.

Regardless of the type of relationship you have, it is always hard to effectively break up. That’s why it is important to not isolate yourself from supportive networks such as family and friends.

Talk about your relationship issues with people you trust or even a professional, like a therapist, as it will help you to better understand and evaluate your situation and help you decide the right time to end the relationship.

Finally, always think and prioritise your wellbeing and don’t be afraid of putting an end to a toxic relationship.

Building a healthy relationship

It is common to have fear of being alone, which encourages people to try harder to keep some relationships. 

However, if it is not a healthy relationship or a rather toxic one, you can feel even more isolated while putting your emotional and mental health at risk.

The first step for you to be in a healthy relationship is to find happiness within yourself first. This will make it easier to find the right partner and have a healthy and happy relationship.


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