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What Is A Healthy Relationship?

Countless times individuals want to hold on to a love that is not healthy because many years have been invested. They say things like 'we've been together for all these years, why leave.' Sometimes people stay in a bad relationship because it looks good to the outside world or because they are unsure what life would be like without their mate. However, deep inside their hearts they long to experience a truly fulfilling love.

I held on to an unhealthy relationship for 7 years before I came to the realization that it was not worth it for me to hang on any longer. The first year was the good year and the rest were off and on, and filled with disrespect, dishonesty, and emotional abuse. I held on because we had one thing in common, and I thought it was enough to make a future. I honestly believed we loved each other, and that in the end we would marry. I was wrong, and once I began to experience real love I realized that for years I had held on to an empty dream.

The term 'unhealthy relationship' is thrown around so often by so many, that I feel compelled to explain what I mean by this term. I mean consistent destructive, abusive, disrespectful, unsupportive, uncaring, and demoralizing behavior. I mean the kind of deeds that make you feel anxious to take your partner around your friends and family, for fear of humiliation or embarrassment. I mean constant withdrawal and abandonment, and loveless actions and responses.

What happens in an unhealthy relationship is not to be confused with the constant minor annoyances within a healthy relationship. Nor the brief phases that partners go through, which make them seem distance. There are aspects of love that do cause minor hurts and aggravations, but may not warrant leaving a gratifying relationship. We may not like it or even admit it, but love can hurt. We are imperfect beings, so we tend to have personality issues, which we bring into every relationship we have with other imperfect beings. The result is often minor bickering, power struggles, and hurt feelings. However, mature adults who see value in their relationships talk over these problems and eventually work them out. They usually become closer and develop a keen sense of understanding.

There is a difference between an unhealthy relationship and a healthy relationship with normal human clashing. If you are unsure of the kind of relationship or friendship you are in, evaluate it, and pray for discernment. Ask yourself these few questions:

Does this person have my best interest at heart more often than not?
Does this person have positive things to say to me more often than not?
Am I proud to have others see my relationship with this person?
Does this person forgive me easily when I mess up?
Does this person show me genuine love?
Do I feel valued in this relationship?
Do I smile and laugh when I am with this person?
Am I supported in this relationship even when I am silly, angry, unhappy, insecure, or sad?
Do I feel free to be myself around this person?
Would others think this person abuses me?

If you find that you are in a relationship or a friendship that is not healthy for you, don't be afraid to move on. Don't think you can change the other person, just go. To linger longer than you should will only drain you and could possibly make you bitter. Refuse to be used, abused, hurt, misunderstood, and degraded. Know that something or someone better is out there for you.

If you find that your relationships and friendships are fulfilling, but have small issues, keep working at it. Keep talking it out, and keep being honest and open. We all have issues to work through, and as a result experience relationship struggles. We can work it out if we keep working at it.

About the Author: Brooke Brimm has a Master's degree in Professional Counseling and 8 years experience working in the field of Human Science. She has been married since 1993 and has two beautiful daughters. Ms. Brimm is the author of an ezine, Loves Gumbo. Contact her at to join.

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