What Characterizes a Healthy Relationship?

What Characterizes a Healthy Relationship?

Last update: 27 January, 2017

We know that “happily ever after” does not exist, that prince charming is only in fairy tales, but still we  accumulate relationships without knowing what a healthy relationship is.

We suffer for love, we humiliate ourselves for love, we swallow our pride for our partner, we cry over a breakup and do anything for people who do not deserve it. We may have a deep fear of being alone, to look ourselves in the face and discover who we really are.

“Love requires two, but while still continuing to be one.”

-Walter Riso-

We have had many relationships and they have done so much damage to us that we are not able to differentiate a healthy relationship from one that is not. We simply fear loneliness and conform with people who do not treat us well or do not like us.

Learn to differentiate an unhealthy relationship

The psychologist Walter Riso in his book “In Love or Enslaved” helps us differentiate those unhealthy relationships that harm us and do not bring us anything good. Riso differentiates the following types of unhealthy relationship:

Obsessive love

According to Riso: “The obsession implies that love becomes insatiable in the relationship. One member of the couple is never satisfied with their relationship, they cannot do anything without their partner and they demonstrate a great dependence.”

A person suffering from such a relationship feels compelled to give what they do not want, feels stressed and in some cases feels harassed. An obsessive partner has no boundaries and does not leave us room for our freedom and individuality.

“Blessed be the heartbreak that frees you from the person that embitters your life. Blessed be the heartbreak that frees you and allows you to be yourself.”

-Walter Riso-

Dependent love

This is about couples where each person has lost their identity, they have lost their self-esteem. Lovers of this kind, Riso says, end up adopting the same gestures, jokes and way of dressing like their partner. Sometimes dependent love even reaches a point where a certain possession over the other person manifests.

But loving means much more and, above all, it means to keep our individuality, letting the other person be as they are, loving them for it and being ourselves, with our strengths and weaknesses. It is a matter of acceptance.

Fearful love

We all fear that a relationship will end or that things will go wrong with a person we like, but we cannot forget that loving another person is always a risk. The fear of loss denotes an insecure person who is afraid of failure and abandonment.


But that fear is split into many others: fear that our partner will disappoint us, that they will be unfaithful, that they will abandon us, that the love will end for no apparent reason. Riso recommends being aware that in love there are no certainties, we have to accept uncertainty.

Oppressive love

In love it is mandatory to respect the freedom of the other person, that is, that they have their own friends, activities, preferences, tastes and opinions. A love that does not respect all these aspects is oppressive and prevents us from being ourselves.

Each partner must respect the personality, principles, values and goals of the other person, even if they are different. It is important to learn and accept those differences so that the couple is healthy and there is mutual trust.

Keys to a healthy relationship

Marc and Angel Chernoff have spent much time helping customers build healthy, lasting relationships and have managed to give some answers to a question we all ask ourselves: What is needed to create and nurture a healthy relationship? To do this they have created a list of what you should not do in order to have a healthy relationship. We present to you some of their approaches.

Do not expect your relationship to solve your problems

If you’re afraid to be alone, a relationship is not the solution. Before you will have to see where it comes from and what is the reason for that fear of loneliness. Once you have resolved and overcome it, you will be able to interact healthily with another person.

“At this time, somewhere in the world, there is someone who would be happy to have you.”

-Walter Riso-

You cannot forget that your voids, your fears, your boredom are issues that only concern you and will persist in a relationship if you do not solve them beforehand. Therefore, face yourself and your problems before starting a relationship.

Don’t be clingy

When we start a relationship it is normal to want to spend a lot of time together, but gradually you should give our partner some space and have our own space. We cannot forget that we have our life and respecting time for ourselves is fundamental for the relationship to be healthy.


Couples who are happy value time alone. They enjoy their independence to do things differently and, at the end of the day, mutually share all their experiences as a way to enrich themselves.

Do not keep secrets

Trust is the essential basis of any relationship. If confidence is lost it is very difficult to get it back again. For this reason, it is important that our partner does not feel like a stranger in our lives.

There will be times when you want to be alone, where we need space to address our problems and a healthy partner will give it to us. However, if we want that space it is good to make an effort of sincerity and talk about the reasons that lead us to take that pause.

Sometimes we hear phrases like “I didn’t tell them, but I didn’t lie either”, which is an absolute contradiction because omissions are lies. If you lie or omit the truth, it will sooner or later come to light.

Do not let fear dominate you

You never lose by loving, it is lost by being contained. No relationship where love that is shared exists is impossible unless you refuse to give it a try. Loving means giving someone else the opportunity to hurt you, but also to make you happy.

We cannot go through life afraid to connect with others. It is important to learn to trust, even if we have been hurt before. The important thing is not to make the same mistakes and learn every day.


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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.