Healthy Relationships: Are They Worth the Effort?

photo: Satish Krishnamurthy, Creative Commons

photo: Satish Krishnamurthy, Creative Commons


Do good relationships just happen? Is it simply a matter of the right chemistry? The truth is healthy relationships take effort to establish and maintain.

Humans by nature are social beings.

From infancy to adulthood, we depend on others for basic needs for survival to psychological needs. Those with a strong support system are shown to have a greater sense of well-being, fewer illnesses, and longer lives. Whether it’s with your romantic partner, friend, family member, boss, or coworker, building a healthy relationship is vital for good health. We function better when we effectively relate to others.

It seems worth the time and energy to establish and maintain healthy relationships.

The following is a list of qualities you can use to determine if your relationships are healthy. These qualities can be found in all types of connections but some are more relevant in intimate relationships. Use the list to determine if your relationships are contributing to your overall health and well-being or need to be reevaluated.

In a healthy relationship:

  • Thoughts, feelings, and needs can be freely expressed without fear of being judged, criticized, ridiculed, or dismissed
  • Each person is able to maintain his/her own personal sense of identity and continue to pursue personal interests
  • Both partners in the relationship communicate effectively including both verbal and nonverbal skills as well as listening skills
  • There is an ability to successfully resolve conflict and solve problems
  • There is a balance of giving and receiving
  • Other meaningful relationships and interests are encouraged and exist.
  • Both partners in relationship feel their needs are being met
  • Play, humor, and fun are commonplace

Don’t be discouraged if you recognize your relationships are missing some of the qualities listed above.

Healthy relationships require work.

If the relationship is important to you, identify which elements you want to improve and begin working on then. The more intimate the relationship is, the more important it is to maintain these qualities of a healthy relationship.


Ann Sheerin MA, LAPC

Asheerin @