6 Essential Traits of Healthy Intimate Relationships

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Relationships are a lot healthier if you do more than just “show up.”

Many centuries ago, Aristotle described three key features of humans—we are driven to make meaning in our lives; we are able to self-reflect and self-evaluate our progress in life; and we are highly social creatures who seek relationships with others, whether platonic, erotic, or familial. Most of us are not content to go it alone for too long.

Another insight that Aristotle emphasized was that to be truly happy in life, we must have healthy intimate relationships; we are only able to flourish if there are others in our lives for whom we care. It is not enough simply to know the faces or the names of your neighbors, baristas, or colleagues. We must endeavor to connect and bond with others. Intimate relationships are the glue that often keeps us – or our worlds – from falling apart.

Most of us must believe that we must matter to others in order to truly matter to ourselves. Active engagement – not passive observation – produces joy.

Eudaimonia is the term used to describe what results when you create a state of healthy happiness and fulfillment in your life. Whereas we might describe more general life satisfaction as a state of being, Aristotle suggested that eudaimonia – and healthy relationships – are a product ofdoing, not just being.

We must engage actively in the world around us to enjoy all of the fruits it has to offer. Sure, there may be some “freebies” along the way, but to reap the sweetest rewards, we must invest some hard work. Moreover, relationships – even good ones – require a fair amount of that work.

1. Meaning 

must be derived from the romantic relationship. While there may be fans of “catch and release” hook-up relationships, if a relationship is going to grow, it must provide a deeper sense of meaning, not just be a means to temporarily gratify your sensual desires.

2. Personal growth

is actively engages partners in mutually rewarding relationships. Not only do you grow as a couple, you also will grow as a person in a healthy relationship.

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