Having a great relationship. Connecting with someone romantically, emotionally, and physically can be really amazing. But there’s a lot of work that goes into building a good relationship.
No relationship is perfect all the time. But in a healthy relationship, both people feel good about the relationship most of the time. A great relationship takes more than attraction — it takes work, and both of you have to be willing to put in the effort. Here are some tips for building a healthy relationship:
- Love yourself. Being comfortable with who you are means you’ll be a happier partner.
- Communicate. Talk to your partner about your feelings. Ask questions and listen to their answers. If you’re upset, say so — don’t make your partner try to figure out what’s up. Talking through problems builds trust and makes your relationship stronger. And it’s not all about how to deal with your problems — don’t forget to let them know when something they do makes you happy.
- Be honest. Be truthful with each other about what you do, think, and feel. Honesty creates trust. Few things harm a relationship more than lies.
- Give each other some space. Couple’s time is great, but spending ALL your time together isn’t. It’s healthy to have your own friends and interests outside of the relationship.
- Agree to disagree. You’re not always going to see eye to eye, and that’s OK. The important thing is to respect each other’s opinions and ideas.
- Forgive and ask for forgiveness. Everybody makes mistakes. Be willing to apologize for yours — and accept your partner’s apologies.
- Support each other. When your partner does something great, tell them! Your partner should do the same for you.
- Talk about sex…openly and honestly. Telling your partner what feels good and what you like and don’t like helps you have better sex. Never pressure your partner into doing something they don’t want to do, or let your partner pressure you — consent is a must.
- Take care of your sexual health. Talk to your partner about how you’re going to protect each other against STDs and unintended pregnancy. Practice safer sex and get tested for STDs.
It’s good to check in with yourself from time to time to see how you’re feeling about your relationship. The questions below focus on romantic and sexual relationships, but they can apply to other kinds of relationships, too. After you’ve asked yourself these questions, it could be helpful to answer them again from your partner’s perspective.
- Does your partner listen to and respect your ideas?
- Does your partner give you space to spend time with your friends and family?
- Do you have fun spending time together?
- Do you feel comfortable telling your partner when something they do upsets you?
- Do you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings?
- Can you tell your partner what you like sexually?
- Does your partner make an effort to get along with your friends and family?
- Is your partner proud of your accomplishments and successes?
- Does your partner respect your differences?
- Can you talk to your partner about birth control and/or safer sex?
Relationships can be complicated, but if you answered “yes” to all of these questions, there’s a good chance you’re in a healthy relationship. If you answered “no” to two or more questions, you might be in an unhealthy relationship.
Keeping your relationship in great shape definitely takes work. Talk to your partner about things that you think could be better. Be clear about what’s bothering you, and be respectful. Good communication is a big part of solving problems. If you have trouble working through things on your own, you might consider getting help from someone outside your relationship. Sometimes talking with a counselor or therapist can help couples work through issues and improve their relationships.