We tend to talk a lot about bad relationships. While that advice is important, we should also celebrate healthy relationships. I had to kiss a few frogs to find my Prince Charming. However, I’m grateful for my not-so-great experiences because I now won’t take the wonderful relationship that I’m in for granted. If you’re questioning the health of your relationship, consider these 6 aspects of a healthy relationship:
1. You support each other’s goals.
When I set a goal for myself, my boyfriend is my biggest cheerleader. For example, when I decided to go back to school to earn my graduate degree, my boyfriend whole-heartedly supported me and even took on some extra chores so I’d have more time to study. Similarly, when we set a mutual goal to live a healthier lifestyle, we became workout buddies and have helped hold each other accountable so that we really could meet our goal. Your partner should never interpret your personal goals as a threat or try to hold you back from achieving them.
2. You don’t try to change each other.
If you can’t accept your significant other for who they are, your relationship will be doomed from the start. Plus, if you try to change someone who doesn’t want to be changed, you’ll most likely just end up with a lot of hurt feelings and resentment. I briefly dated someone who tried to change how I dressed and the food I ate, because he felt like my lifestyle wasn’t “upscale” enough. He used to tell me that he was ashamed to be seen with me in public, even if we were just running errands. After that experience, I’m extra grateful that my current boyfriend loves me for who I am, no matter what I’m wearing, eating, or doing.
3. His successes are your successes (and vice versa).
When my boyfriend received an offer for his dream job, I was so happy for him I could have cried tears of joy. I was incredibly proud of all the hard work that he put in to earn his new position. I wanted to tell the whole world how proud I was, and shout it from the rooftops! If you find that your significant other isn’t excited for you or even makes you feel guilty about your good news, that’s a sign that you should run.
4. You can both say no.
In almost 4 years of dating, my boyfriend and I are yet to have anything close to what I’d call a “fight.” The disagreements we have had are healthy and don’t involve screaming or violence. This is because we both respect each other’s right to say no. We are not afraid to agree to disagree, and no one feels guilty for choosing not to do something. If your partner doesn’t respect when you say no or starts yelling over something relatively minor, you should rethink the relationship ASAP.
5. You don’t have to hide him or his actions from your friends.
Being with my boyfriend is one of my favorite things, and I love that we even share some of the same friend group. I don’t have to hide any negative behavior. Nothing happens behind closed doors that would make me feel ashamed or wonder if our relationship is normal. In fact, my friends love my boyfriend almost as much as I do!
6. The future can’t get here soon enough.
I cherish every minute I spend with my boyfriend and I can’t wait to spend my life with him. When I see how good he is with our dogs or his young niece, I fantasize about how he will be a great dad to our future kids. Sometimes, we spend hours online looking up houses we’d love to be able to afford someday, or send each other dream wedding venues even though we aren’t actually engaged at the moment. My future is brighter because my boyfriend is in it.
Ultimately, if you are reading this article because you are questioning if you’re in a healthy relationship, you probably are not. In a healthy relationship, you don’t need reassurance to confirm you’re in a good situation. You don’t need to ask if it’s normal to be unhappy or if a significant other’s behavior toward you is okay. And if you aren’t in a healthy relationship, you are strong enough to close this chapter of your life and find a good relationship where you will truly be happy. Your Prince or Princess Charming is out there, just like mine was for me.