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What is a healthy relationship?  In order to clearly understand what a “healthy” relationship is, one must be aware and understand what a “relationship” actually is.  Some may say it’s the positive connection or interaction between two or more individuals, a friendship, or marriage.  Merriam-Webster Dictionary has simply defined a relationship as: the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other, a romantic friendship between two people, the way in which two or more people or things are connected.

Relationships are formed and developed at all ages and stages of your life.  From early childhood and the relationship with your parents, to your marriage and the relationship with your spouse.  Relationships are a necessary part of healthy living.  However, no relationship is perfect and like all things take some work at.  Relationships can bring you happiness and joy to your life, while others may cause you discomfort and even sadness. 

The ideal relationship, is a healthy one.  Healthy relationships consist of mutual respect, trust, honesty, support, fairness/equality, separate identities, good communication and a sense of playfulness/fondness.  It’s the kind of relationship where you’re comfortable enough to just “be yourself”.

In an unhealthy relationship one may feel pressure to change who they are for the other person.  You may feel worried or scared to disagree with the other person resulting in changing your mind and agreeing with them to avoid any conflict.  You may also avoid each other, thus failing to make time to spend with one another. Arguments in an unhealthy relationship are viewed by one to be settled unfairly, and may result in yelling or even possibly physical violence.

The ABC’s of Healthy Relationships are:

B is for BALANCE

A is for Awareness

Using what you know to respect others and demanding respect in return.

Knowledge of the consequences of unhealthy relationships, recognizing danger signs, and knowing your boundaries.

Preventing violence by recognizing a lack of power and respect. Applying the knowledge you have in order to change unhealthy relationships into healthy ones.

B is for Balance

Balance means being in sync with your partner and having a relationship that is not one-sided – meaning that one person has more control or power than the other.

Communication is the key to staying in balance.

C is for Conscious Choices

Conscious choices include being able to decide what the next step in the relationship is – don’t allow things to “just happen.”

Choices mean being able to take control.

In order to be aware, balanced, and make healthy choices, you need the building blocks of the ABCs: communication, trust, and respect. They are the keys to a healthy relationship.

As stated previously, no relationship is perfect and will take some work at.  However, when problems in relationship includes any form abuse whether it’s verbal, physical, and or emotional, we recommend seeking professional help. Safe Alternatives for Everyone (SAFE) is a local organization that is committed to providing services for children, youth and families who have experienced or at risk for abuse and violence.

To schedule an appointment with Ben Novell, MS, LMFT LPCC, Janelle Novell, LMFT, RPT-S or any of our therapists, please call 951-252-9911.
(Image from – Edited by Rofblot)

Novell & Novell Counseling Services, Inc. “Relationships” – 2014 Archives
Sutter Health Palo Alto Medical Foundation

This website contains information about Novell and Novell’s mental health services, our therapists, how to access our services as well as general mental health information. The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for the advice of a mental health professional, diagnosis or treatment. Additionally, this website does not contain or represent a complete listing of all mental health services available or appropriate. Users of this website are strongly encouraged to call or see a mental health professional with any related questions.