CULTURE

Green Flags: Signs of a Healthy Relationship

Do you feel comfortable talking to your partner about literally anything? And as the years pass by, do you, as a couple, feel less and less need to make amends? If yes, then you might have a healthy relationship on your hands.

By ADARSH SONI

Green Flags: Signs of a Healthy Relationship

“Whenever a couple walks in my clinic, the first question I ask them is: Do you feel secure in your relationship? Can you safely talk about anything without feeling judged?” says Dr Seema Hingorani, a Mumbai based clinical psychologist with almost two decades of experience in psychotherapy. “Transparency in communication is one of the basic building blocks of a healthy relationship. It’s an indication of a healthy relationship sign. Couples shouldn’t feel the need to hide anything from each other. From something as trivial as knowing each other’s favourite restaurant to more deep-rooted things like being aware of your partner’s desires and secrets—there’s no oversharing in close relationships, in fact, the more you know, the better it is to understand the other person,” she adds. Here, Dr Hingorani identifies some healthy relationship signs that indicate a healthy relationship and warns against the red flags that pop up along the way.

 

 

So, what are the signs of a healthy relationship?

  • Trust

Trust and honesty are the foundations of a healthy relationship. You should be able to let go of the fears that your partner is going to cheat on you, and the only way to achieve that is by eliminating all the secrets. Trust also brings in a sense of security that your partner will never hurt you—be it emotionally or physically.

  • Emotional awareness

Both you and your partner should be aware of each other’s weaknesses and strengths, but one must never use the word ‘weakness’ in a negative light. Keep taking the time to do emotional check-ins by asking your partner how they’re doing mental-health wise and if they need any personal or professional support.

  • Open communication

You should be able to talk about anything and everything. From everyday things like work and friends to the more serious mental or financial concerns—nothing is off limits.

  • Individuality

Even if you’re in a relationship, you should be able to retain your individual identity. Your entire life shouldn’t revolve around your partner. After all, you have your own friends, hobbies and interests to look out for.

  • Intimacy

Intimacy is not only about sex. It’s also about forming a close bond with your partner and studying their body language so that you can make them feel comfortable and loved. You should be willing to let your guard down, and at the same time respect and value your partner’s vulnerability.

  • Teamwork

Since a couple is like a team, you should be able to work towards building a happier and fulfilling life together. When your partner is struggling with something, you should have their back, and they’ll do the same for you when you need it.


But, what are the red flags to look out for?

  • Gaslighting

One of the most serious problems in an unhealthy relationship, gaslighting is a term used to describe the psychological manipulation your partner might use to attack your self-esteem. The early signs of gaslighting are denial and stigmatisation of one’s emotions, and should be avoided at all costs.

  • Lack of boundaries

In close relationships, violation of boundaries can be often brushed off as affection, but that’s not healthy. Everyone has certain privacy needs and if you set a boundary and your partner tries to break it, or coerce you into changing it—that’s a serious red flag. In a healthy relationship, you should be able to stay apart, give each other enough space and avoid being too clingy.

  • Inequality

Everyone has their own shortcomings but that doesn’t mean you should use that as an excuse for unnecessary dependence. The key to a good relationship is keeping things balanced—be it sharing finances or passions.

  • Narcissism

A lot of times, your partner might be unwilling to work on their flaws while asking you to change everything about yourself to fit a certain image in their head. They might also disregard your opinions or choices. From simple things like picking out a movie to making big life decisions—they want it to be all about them.

  • Emotional or physical abuse

People should always feel safe and comfortable to have their own opinion, even if they know that their partner is going to disagree. If you’re constantly afraid that your partner might react to your statements or actions in an emotionally or physically abusive way—it might be time to break it off.

Ultimately, the quality of a person’s relationships dictates the quality of their life. Maintaining a healthy connection with people who love and value us is like a safety net. And if you’re not feeling happy or secure even after working hard, it’s never too late to ask for professional help. “At the end of the day we just want to come home to a person that we can talk to. Someone who will listen with open ears and an open heart,” Hingorani adds.

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