I've long been interested in mental health and am going back to college for psychology. This means I am not yet an expert, but I am discovering a lot through study and life changes. I'd like to share my new concept with you: how to tell if your relationship is healthy.
How You Feel
There is advice out there that says to listen to how you feel. If you are comfortable and at ease with someone, then you should probably assume they are treating you well. If you find yourself anxious or uncomfortable around them, you should listen. You may feel you can't explain why, which may make you wonder if your feelings are valid. They are! Talk to someone you trust and consider getting professional advice if the matter can't be quickly resolved.
5 to 1 Ratio
A while back, I found out about the 5 to 1 relationship ratio that could determine whether married couples were likely to get divorced or work it out. This ratio means that during conflict, you have 5 (or more) positive interactions to 1 negative interaction. One or both of you may do something hurtful. You are human, and you are hurt. But in trying to work through the conflict, you use 5 more positive methods to resolve it than you do negative.
You are more considerate of each other's feelings, more willing to listen, and more communicative than resorting to a less than helpful answer.
When you're not arguing, the ratio should be around 20:1 positive to negative interactions.
When I first heard about this ratio, I was in an unhealthy relationship. I found the idea very interesting, but I hadn't yet experienced the positive ratio to see what it was like.
Love is (A Bit) Blind
In the textbook for my first psychology class, I found a puzzling observation. I believe the exact phrase was that it seemed to be best to be a little infatuated with your partner. They had a story to go with it, talking about a long-lived and happy relationship and how the partner would do something foolish/wrong and the other person looked at it with an exceedingly charitable (seemingly blind) view. In an, "oh, they're just being so and so," or "isn't that cute that they're like that," sort of way.
When I found myself in a new relationship, this point became clearer.
Some of us are used to being hurt, so we notice every infraction and assume the worst. We're hyper vigilant to protect ourselves. Then there are relationships where you just don't have much interest or passion, so you look at everything in a very practical and maybe hyper-realistic sense. When you are with someone who routinely makes you feel good, you're naturally going to make positive assumptions about them and take a more patient and charitable view of their faults or eccentricities. There's a lot of love and good feelings to smooth out the little bumps.
All of the points above work in a circle. We trust people, have warm, positive feelings about them, and love them bordering on a bit too much, because all the little and big things that happen between you add up to something warm and positive. If that's not happening, which is probably why you're looking up how to tell your relationship is healthy, there could be various reasons for it. Some of them might not be so bad. But you should find out what is going on, to make a good relationship better or get out of one that is bad.
About The Author
Hi, I'm Lara Rouse, and I'm a freelance writer. In recent years, I've developed a passion for mental health and self care, so much so that I've gone back to college to get a Psychology degree. If you just came here to read, you'll find other mental health posts on this site. If you're looking for someone to write for you, feel free to contact me.