Helping Someone With Relationship Concerns

Knowing what makes a healthy relationship, listening intently, and providing the following advice is a great start in helping someone who may be having trouble with a relationship they are in.

Admittedly, relationships differ greatly between different cultures. If the following advice does not seem applicable, a counselor can help you or a friend work through relationship situations that may be more difficult or complicated as a result of cultural expectations.

What makes a healthy relationship?

  • Mutual respect: Respect in a relationship means that each person values who the other is and understands — and would never challenge — the other person’s boundaries.
  • Trust: It’s okay to get a little jealous sometimes — jealousy is a natural emotion. But how a person reacts when he or she feels jealous is what matters. There’s no way you can have a healthy relationship if you don’t trust each other.
  • Honesty: This one goes hand-in-hand with trust because it’s tough to trust someone when one of you isn’t being honest.
  • Support: It’s not just in bad times that your partner should support you. In a healthy relationship, your significant other is there with a shoulder to cry on when you find out your parents are getting divorced and to celebrate with you when you get the lead in a play.
  • Fairness/equality: You need to have balance in your relationship, too. Things get bad really fast when a relationship turns into a power struggle, with one person fighting to get his or her way all the time.
  • Separate identities: In a healthy relationship, everyone needs to make compromises. But that doesn’t mean you should feel like you're losing out on being yourself.