In our modern dating world of plentiful options, establishing a relationship can be more challenging than ever. We all know of or have experienced a toxic relationship ourselves, and overcoming those negative experiences is even more of a challenge. No two relationships are alike, and there isn’t some magical resource to go through for expert solutions to your relationship problems.  And it’s not unreasonable for couples to want both a healthy relationship and happiness being together.

Whether you’re looking for a partner, deciding if you’ve found someone worth sticking around for, or just wanting to improve your relationship, there are some key traits to strive toward for a healthy and happy relationship. From healthily handling conflict to apologizing and being forgiving, here are some traits that make for a healthy and happy relationship.

One – Conflict Management

Conflict is a part of life, but knowing how to handle conflict healthily is a skill that’s essential to a happy and healthy relationship. Be wary of couples who claim never to argue, because the fact is, conflict is a healthy part of romantic relationships. Look at conflict as a chance to learn more about each other, set future boundaries, and allow you to work together to overcome an obstacle. When handled healthily, you should leave a point of contention feeling better than when you went into it.

A sign that you and your partner can healthily handle conflict is if you can laugh about these times of struggle. This indicates the absence of resentment and that you both came to a solution that works for both of you. If you struggle with conflict, consider speaking with a therapist to see how you can overcome feeling overwhelmed, angry, or upset when these moments arise, like with financial and tax issues or marital issues.

Two – Couples Make Intimacy a Priority

Physical, emotional, and psychological intimacy are crucial to a thriving relationship. While the excitement of a new relationship can make this easy for some people, over time and the business of life, established couples can lose this. Both parties must actively engage in intimacy to sustain a healthy relationship.

If you struggle with forms of intimacy, consider whether you have some walls that you’ve put up or if you aren’t making the time to be intimate with your partner. There are tons of resources to help couples struggling with intimacy, including medication, games, therapy, articles, and more.

Three – Good Boundaries

Setting boundaries can be a major challenge for people, especially if you’re conflict-avoidant. However, relationships where both partners feel comfortable setting boundaries for themselves and their partners are set to have a healthy and happy relationship. And no two people will have the same boundaries.

Setting boundaries means communicating your needs and expectations to your partner, holding them accountable when they cross boundaries, and being open and respectful to your partner’s boundaries. However, don’t confuse this with meaning your partner is responsible for your happiness, as this can lead to a toxic and unrealistic relationship.

Four – Couples Choose Commitment

No relationship can exist without commitment. Whether this means committing to be exclusive or married, you and your partner must commit to your relationship. Commitment means both you and your partner are working towards a common goal, like each other and your relationship.

Commitment is a choice that you make every day. It can look like taking an interest in each other’s hobbies, supporting each other’s career, your family, or whatever vital aspects of your life affect your relationship.

Five – Independence is a Key

As we mentioned earlier, your partner isn’t responsible for your individual happiness. While they do have to do their part to be a good partner if you’re generally unhappy with yourself or your life, there’s nothing anyone can do to help; that’s something you have to do for yourself. This is why maintaining your independence is essential to a healthy and happy relationship.

Relationships are a balance of togetherness and autonomy. This means working on yourself outside of the relationship while maintaining a commitment to each other. We all have a friend who we never saw again after they entered a relationship, so don’t be that person and maintain who you are outside of your relationship.

Six – Forgiveness

Resentment is toxic and can mean the demise of a relationship. Forgiveness and learning how to apologize are skills. You need to be able to not only accept when your actions have hurt your partner, but also be able to forgive when the tables are turned. If you struggle with forgiving others when they’ve hurt you, you may want to consider therapy to overcome it. Forgiveness is a healthy part of a relationship, and holding onto resentment harms both parties.

Seven – Couples That Have Fun Together

Sometimes couples grow apart, and as sad as it is, at some point and in some situations, you’ll have to accept this reality. A sign of a healthy and happy relationship is liking each other as individuals outside of your relationship. You should be able to have fun together, laugh, and be willing to try new things, like packing your bags and going on a trip or cooking meals together.

Many married couples struggle with this trait. With busy careers, family life, and so many other responsibilities, you both need to make alone time for each other. You need consistent effort toward your bond and to commit to respecting, appreciating, and enjoying each other.

Eight – Respect

Any relationship, but especially romantic ones, needs mutual respect. You and your partner need to view each other as equals in all shared aspects of life. No two people are exactly alike, so you both need to have respect for each other and your differences. Sometimes, for couples who struggle with conflict, respect can go out the window, so you guys need to do your best to maintain your respect for each other even during the hardest of times. If you and your partner can respect each other as individuals, then chances are you both also share that same level of respect in your relationship.

The keys to being a happy couple

While no two relationships are alike, all relationships should strive for these traits. Respecting your partner, even in times of conflict, maintaining your independence, and setting and respecting boundaries—these traits (and more) make for a healthy and happy relationship. Whether you’re looking for “the one,” think you’ve found it, or want to improve your relationship overall, these traits are key to maintaining a thriving relationship.

A Healthy Relationship Leads to a Happier Life

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