What Is the Difference Between a Healthy & Unhealthy Relationship?

Focus on the positives in your relationship to keep it healthy and happy.
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If you suspect you may be in an unhealthy relationship, that may very well be the case. Recognizing unhealthy behavior before it becomes a full-blown issue can help you get on the right track before you're in a smothering or abusive relationship. If your relationship seems healthy, you'll be able to focus on keeping it that way by recognizing the behaviors that keep it nicely humming along.

1 Interdependence vs. Unhealthy Attachment

In a healthy relationship, both partners feel a certain amount of dependence upon one another without becoming obsessive or helpless, notes sexual addiction researcher Alexandra Katehakis in the "Psych Central" article, "Addictive vs. Healthy Relationships." If you find you can't hang out alone without feeling anxious or wanting to text your boyfriend every half hour when he's away, your relationship has moved over to the dark side. Be available for one another, but find the space to be your own person, as well.

2 Rose-Colored Glasses

Looking through rose-colored glasses can be a useful strategy in a relationship. If your girlfriend forgot all about your date, think of it as a simple mistake instead of evidence that she's inconsiderate. Look at the positive things she does as further evidence that she's a great person, says psychologist Will Meek in the "Psychology Today" article, "Eight Keys to Healthy Relationships." Give your partner the benefit of the doubt and your relationship will likely have a good bill of health. On the other hand, viewing your partner's actions through a negative lens will soon sour your relationship.

3 Positive Interactions vs. Negative

It's important that the positive interactions outweigh the negative ones, notes Meek. While you can't prevent bad situations from ever coming up, you can make sure to create plenty of fun times. For example, your boyfriend may have gotten angry with you today for texting your friend while you two were out to dinner, but you both had an excellent time holding hands and taking a nice walk afterwards, while watching the sun set. Focus on the positives and seek to create more of them to help to keep negative vibes from taking hold of your relationship.

4 Privacy vs. No Boundaries

Being in a relationship doesn't mean you have to share everything and spend all your time together, states LoveIsRespect.org, noting that it's important to maintain healthy boundaries. In a robust relationship, it's okay to not tell your boyfriend every where you're going when you have a girl's night out. It's also okay for him to keep his text messages private. It's a red flag if one partner's insecurity begins to infringe upon the privacy and autonomy of another, so put your partner in check if he begins intruding in areas of your life that are not his business.

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.