Is your relationship healthy?

Thursday 26th May, 2016


No two relationships are ever the same. When problems arise, what steps can you take?

Image: Shireen Wani

Should I stay or should I go? It's one of the foremost thoughts you have when your relationship is complicated.

If you have already started having second thoughts about your partner and how healthy your relationship actually is, then read on.

We’ve spoken to Psychologist Maria Varemenou about the ways to maintain a healthy relationship. Varemenou describes a healthy relationship as one that is void of toxicity; based on whatever meaning any individual may give to the term “toxic”.

“There is no known recipe to create a healthy relationship, but mutual respect, understanding and honest communication are key. Also, the absence of extremities like physical and mental torture, or rape,” Varemenou says.

“Relationships can be clinically unhealthy in an obvious manner if, for example, a father abuses his child – no matter how you look at it, it is unhealthy,” she adds.

Thus, a romantic relationship where one or both participants feel exposed to elements of toxicity, irrespective of degree or intensity, is unhealthy.

Image: Shireen Wani

We often find ourselves in positions of intense vulnerability when we're committed to someone – a phenomenon more commonly labelled “being in love”.

This can lead us to making ourselves believe that if the rights are worth the wrongs, we don’t need to worry. Despite how many wrongs there may be.

The first step, like with every other problem, is that of acceptance. Once the problem has been acknowledged, it can be dealt with.

Varemenou says: “It is difficult to be specific about how to handle unhealthy relationships, given the wide spectrum of relationships. But in general, one should first try to recognise if the relationship is open to change and has a chance of salvation. Otherwise, it should be put to an end.”

Relate’ is the UK’s largest relationship support organisation, helping over a million people every year.

Their profile reads: “We can help you whether you’re in a new relationship, in a long-term relationship, or not currently in a relationship at all. We help with large relationship-threatening problems to issues that just make things a little less than perfect.”

There is no specific guidebook that walks us through the many steps towards creating and maintaining a healthy relationship. However there are always some steps in the right direction.