We constantly hear about red flags in relationships, like when there is a lack of trust, co-dependency, or other unhealthy behaviours. But what about green flags? It is just as important to note that there can be green flags in relationships. These green flags mean that the relationship is safe, healthy, and mature. Let’s look at what some green flags in relationships can be:
1. Open Communication
Time and time again, we hear about how communication is key in relationships. This applies to both the good, and especially the bad times in the relationship. Opening to your partner about something that you are struggling with in the relationship and having them listen to and validate your emotions is a major relationship green flag. This can help you and your partner understand each other’s viewpoints, create a deeper level of emotional intimacy, and come to a resolution about your conflicts.
2. Comfortable pacing
At the start of a relationship, it is easy to get caught up in what is known as ‘new relationship energy’. As fun as it may be to bask in the excitement of new love, it may sometimes lead people to move hastily and make big life decisions, such as moving in together or getting married in a short period of time. A safe and healthy relationship takes its time and allows for both partners to develop their feelings gradually, without any pressure to take the relationship to the next level before both partners are ready to do so.
Another relationship green flag is when your partner prioritizes their growth as an individual and within the couple dynamic. An important trait here is for a person to be able to recognize their shortcomings, take accountability, and then take steps to continuously be a better person and relationship partner. A good partner will allow themselves to be vulnerable, open, and avoid becoming defensive whenever problems or difficult situations are encountered in the relationship.
Being compatible does not mean that we have to be an exact photocopy of our partner. However, research has shown that it helps for couples to have similar values when it comes to family, finances, work-life balance, and physical and emotional intimacy. It also helps if both of your goals align with each other to see whether the two of you would be compatible in the long-term. Take the time to discuss your future goals and see that both your goals do not conflict to help determine if you’re on the right track.
5. Individuality is encouraged
A healthy relationship has a good balance between independence and connection. Sure, it is nice and important to be in love and connected to your partner. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to do everything together! A relationship green flag is when both partners in the relationship have their own individual lives in terms of friendships and hobbies. Partners who are overly reliant on their partner risk putting their partner as the sole responsibility of their happiness – an unhealthy and toxic relationship dynamic. If your partner encourages you to nurture these other aspects of your life instead of being threatened by them, then this is a green flag!
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Pamela Borg is a counsellor who enjoys working therapeutically with adults experiencing various issues. These include general mental health and wellbeing, gender, sexuality, relationship issues.
Gonsalves, K. (2022). 16 Green Flags to Look for In a New Relationship, From A Dating Coach. Retrieved from: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/green-flags-in-relationships
Laderer, A. (2022). Green Flags in A Relationship. Retrieved from: https://www.insider.com/guides/health/sex-relationships/green-flags-in-a-relationship