Montreal psychotherapist Rhonda Rabow discusses what is reasonable to expect from a healthy relationship and what is asking too much. What behaviors, she asks, are red lights to be paid attention to before a long-term commitment is made, and what behaviors are part of the workings of real relationships and can be forgiven?
To answer these questions, she explores 12 characteristics of a healthy relationship:
- You feel safe with your partner. You know it is okay to make mistakes and still feel accepted and forgiven; you are not concerned your mistakes will be used against you in a future argument.
- You see your partner as a good friend. You like him/her as a person and feel encouraged and supported by him/her.
- You are able to disagree with one other, yet still feel heard and understood.
- You feel you are being treated with respect and are valued.
- You feel your partner is committed to doing whatever it takes to make the relationship work.
- There are never threats to leave, abandon or reject one another.
- There is a willingness to look at the other person’s point of view.
- There is an atmosphere of cooperation, trust and caring.
- You have deep, loving feelings for your partner most of the time.
- You have fun together, and laugh a lot together.
- You bring out the best in each other.
- You can ask for what you want without feeling guilty or selfish.
And one more for a baker’s dozen:
13. You like to look at and touch your partner.
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