Relationships, of all kinds, occupy much of our time and can be one of the most meaningful parts of life. People have various types of relationships throughout their lives – family relationships, friendships, coworkers, neighbours, as well as intimate and/or sexual relationships. Interpersonal relationships vary in their quality of openness, communication, trust, power, respect and affection. 

Our ideas about what makes a “good” relationship are greatly influenced by society – family, religion, laws, media portrayals of relationships etc.  Norms and practices about romantic relationships, marriage, sexual behavior, and resolving conflict vary enormously around the world. Culturally, people express their affection for each other in many different ways.  

SERC supports a human rights perspective regarding relationships. Satisfying and mutually respectful relationships involve awareness of one’s own feelings and values and a respect for a partner’s feelings as well as their dignity and rights. Effective communication and conflict resolution can help build positive relationships.

Ten Characteristics of a Healthy Relationship:

  1. The partners in the relationship value themselves and each other. They understand each other’s differences and they treat each other with respect and courtesy.
  2. The partners are equal. They make decisions together. If they have children, they parent together.
  3. When the partners disagree, they know that it’s okay to talk about their differences. They work it out together. They find ways for both partners to get what they need.
  4. The partners listen to and respect each other’s viewpoints. They express their feelings and opinions. They do not make hurtful comments about the other person.
  5. Each partner takes responsibility for themselves. They do not expect the other person to solve all their problems or always make them happy.
  6. The partners each feel comfortable taking time alone if they need it. They feel okay about doing some things separately.
  7. There is no fear in their relationship. Healthy relationships are built on love, respect, caring and happiness.
  8. The partners do not try to restrict or control each other. They encourage and support each other’s growth.
  9. Even when the partners are busy, they make time for one another and their relationship.
  10. The partners have a circle of people who know them and support them as a couple. They spend time with others who have strong and healthy relationships

Sourced directly (pending permission) from: Alberta Children and Youth Services