Watch out for these green flags in a relationship

reproductive health, family planning, healthy relationship

The Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the world’s longest studies of adult life, began in 1938 and is still continuing today. The goal of the study was to discover the secrets to leading healthy and happy lives — and researchers have finally revealed these secrets!

Psychiatrist George Vaillant, one of the study authors, said that “the key to healthy aging is relationships, relationships, relationships.” He emphasized the role of relationships in living a long and pleasant life. Although this encompasses all sorts of relationships, one of the biggest influences (and maybe one of the longest lasting) are romantic relationships. But being in a relationship is not enough; you deserve and should aspire for a healthy relationship.

Everyone deserves to be in a healthy and happy relationship. Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, who currently heads the Harvard study, said that “… how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health.” But establishing a healthy relationship is often easier said than done.

Let’s face it: there’s no perfect relationship. There will always be ups and downs, and bad days don’t mean that you’re in a toxic relationship. So what are the green flags, and how can you say that you’re in a healthy relationship?

You trust each other

Trust goes beyond believing that your partner will not cheat or lie to you. The most successful couples trust each other in a lot of different ways, like money, parenting styles, housekeeping, and more.

Relationships thrive when people trust their spouse to navigate these issues effectively,” says Samantha Saltz, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist in private practice.

In a 2013 study of married couples, it was discovered that partners who trust each other are more likely to feel satisfied in their relationship.

You respect each other

Although you don’t need to enjoy everything your partner does, you do need to respect each other. The two of you need to realize that you each have different interests and needs and that you should respect each other’s differences. Even if you don’t like the same things as your partner, a healthy relationship respects and accepts the differences.

You both communicate well

Healthy couples tend to talk about their lives together: successes and failures. It’s important to feel comfortable talking about all kinds of issues, including everyday stress, friend issues, physical health symptoms, and financial concerns.

It doesn’t matter if they hold a different opinion; they listen without judgment before sharing it.

Communication is two-way. You should also feel that they can express their own concerns or thoughts as they arise.

You feel independent from your partner

It’s important that members of a relationship have their own interests and hobbies, as well as friendships that are separate from the relationship.

When you see yourself as an individual and are able to identify your own wants and needs, it may be easier to identify what those things are in your relationship.

But this doesn’t mean you can’t work as a team. Intimate relationships are all about finding a balance between individual needs and your needs as a couple.

You both put effort into the relationship

The key to a long-term relationship is that both of you want to stay together. Commitment can bring a feeling of safety and being appreciated by your partner.

A review of 43 different studies found that feeling that your partner is committed to the relationship is the top factor in relationship satisfaction.

Your needs are met

A healthy relationship brings balance, where each partner’s needs are equally important. A relationship may be healthy if both partners have time for one another, communicate openly, and have sex on a regular basis.

A relationship in which both partners are willing to compromise and share is much healthier than one in which one person always has their wants met and the other goes wanting.

The takeaway

If you want to know if your relationship is healthy, there are many signs to watch for. Resolving conflicts and taking time apart are two important factors. While communicating clearly is an important part of every healthy relationship.

But there are no “cookie-cutter” relationships that are guaranteed to be healthy. You and your partner may have certain things in common, but you need to both be happy, and your needs must be being met for a real partnership to work.


Kennedy, M. (April 10, 2021). Think you’re in a healthy relationship? Couples therapists share 10 must-have qualities for long-lasting love. Insider.



Migala, J. (April 7, 2023). 9 Signs You’re in a Healthy Relationship. Everyday Health. https://www.everydayhealth.com/sexual-health/signs-youre-healthy-relationship/ 

Raypole, C. (December 13, 2019). What Makes a Relationship Healthy? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-relationship 

Mineo, L. (April 11, 2017). Good genes are nice, but joy is better. The Harvard Gazette. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/04/over-nearly-80-years-harvard-study-has-been-howing-how-to-live-a-healthy-and-happy-life/#:~:text=Trained%20as%20a%20psychoanalyst%2C%20Vaillant,relationships%2C%20relationships%2C%20relationships.%E2%80%9D

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