How to identify an emotionally healthy partner 

Our romantic relationships are some of the most important bonds we make throughout our lives. They have a massive impact on us and who we are, for better or for worse.

So, it’s crucial that we understand how to identify a partner who is emotionally healthy and safe to be with. Let’s find out how you can spot one.

Background: Why healthy relationships are so important 

Many of us can identify with the experience of being in a toxic or unhealthy relationship. Dynamics like these can be truly draining, bringing out the worst of us and tanking our mental health and wellbeing. 

Relationships can be far more complex than they seem on the surface, too. Most of us have needs that are perfectly reasonable and valid; we just want to be seen, loved, and accepted by our partners, whether we’re introverted or extroverted, have high or low paying jobs, or even more niche hobbies like betting on sports with bitcoin, making art, or something else entirely. 

When we’re with a partner who doesn’t accept our true selves, this can have a major impact on our self-esteem and happiness more generally. Some of us may even try to change ourselves in drastic ways to gain our partner’s acceptance. 

However, changing ourselves to win our partner’s approval is neither wise nor healthy. Instead, we should focus on cultivating healthy relationships with mature, self-aware people who love us for who we are. Forming bonds like these can have major health benefits, like reducing our stress levels and even increasing our longevity, so it’s truly something worth fighting for. 

Six signs that your partner is an emotionally healthy person 

When you’re in the honeymoon phase of a new relationship, it’s important not to let your infatuation cloud your judgement of your new partner. These are 6 signs that the person you’re dating is emotionally healthy and safe to be with. 

1) You can trust them (almost) fully 

Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship. However, people need to earn our trust, and some of them will inevitably break it because of their behavior. 

While you can’t trust any person 100%, you should ideally be able to rely on your partner more than anybody else in your life. Even if you can’t always rely on them for everything, you should be confident that your partner has your best interests at heart, is entirely faithful to you, and so on. 

2) They’re their own person 

Many of us tend to, over time, ‘lose’ some part of our sense of self in a new relationship. However, this isn’t the healthiest behavior to exhibit; it can be a sign of poor boundaries, or, in some cases, codependency.

It is better to aim for interdependency in a relationship. If you are not sure how those two are linked, then you may want to search “what is the difference between codependency and interdependency?” – so you can compare and be aware of what is happening within your relationship.

Look for a partner that maintains their own hobbies and interests, rather than taking yours up instead. Remember that disagreements in a relationship are also completely healthy, so long as they’re respectful; you and your partner don’t need to like the same types of food, music, or movies!

3) They respect your needs and boundaries 

Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries is probably one of the most important relational skills that you can learn. They’re not just for our own benefit, either; when your partner respects your boundaries and needs, this will deepen the sense of trust in the relationship, bringing you closer together. 

As a result, it’s crucial that your partner fully respects any boundaries you voice without judgement or criticism. 

4) You feel safe voicing your concerns 

Conflict is something that many of us find confronting. However, healthy conflict is a natural and important part of any relationship; without it, the dynamic we share with our partner will often fail to grow.  

If you feel able to voice any concerns you have about your relationship to your partner and they respond respectfully and maturely, taking everything on board, then this is a very strong indicator that they are an emotionally healthy, safe person to be with. 

5) They’re happy to take things slow

Have you ever had a partner who wanted to spend all day, every day with you? This is often a natural and irresistible part of being in a new relationship; as we fall deeper in love with the other person, we find ourselves constantly thinking about them and wanting to be around them whenever possible. 

This isn’t always healthy, though. In fact, it can, on occasion, be a glaring red flag; some partners may (not always consciously) monopolize your time as part of a wider attempt to isolate you from friends and family. This is something that can sadly be difficult to recognize in its early stages.  

However, if your partner is happy to take things slow and isn’t in any rush to make things ‘serious,’ then this can be a sign of strong, healthy boundaries on their part. Note that this isn’t the same thing as them being avoidant or emotionally unavailable, and it’s important to learn to distinguish between the two. 

6) They take accountability for their actions 

Self-awareness and accountability are both crucial in healthy relationships. For our relationships to be able to grow, both us and our partners need to be able to own our harmful behaviors and commit to working on them. 

Conversely, it’s common for people who exhibit abusive traits or tendencies to consistently display something of a victim mentality in their relationships and day-to-day interactions. If you meet someone who seems never to be at fault, make sure you keep this in mind! 

Photo by Candice Picard