Building Blocks for Healthy
By Maureen Pollard,
Emotional Health Editor
Maureen Pollard, MSW, RSW is a registered social worker
with a private practice in Cobourg, Ontario.
Being in a relationship should feel good. If things are going well, you enjoy your partner’s
company and work together to create positive experiences and growth. The healthiest
relationships include these foundational building blocks:
Mutual Respect – You admire one another. Each partner has a deep regard for how the other
feels and who they are as a person.
Honesty – You are able to be sincere and straightforward with one another. You feel like you
can be open and talk truthfully about important topics.
Support and Kindness – Both partners feel understood and lifted up in the relationship,
receiving understanding and patience. You want the best for one another and you want to be
Fairness and Equity – Each partner gets attention, affection, time together and time apart in a
way that meets their needs. Partners feel they get a turn being in the spotlight and are willing to
take a turn shining the light on the other.
Independence – Each partner feels like they can be themselves as an individual. You can be
comfortable having some separate interests and different friends as well as the ones you share
Good Communication – Each partner is able to ask for what they need, to really listen to what
the other person is saying and to take responsibility if they make mistakes. You can disagree
with one another and find ways to compromise so that both people feel their concerns are heard
Playfulness – You are able to have fun and really enjoy one another’s company. You share a
sense of humour and like at least some of the same activities that you do for pleasure.
Strong, healthy relationships grow and develop when all of these building blocks are present.
We make mistakes and we always have new things to learn when we are spending time with
one another, but if you develop these key factors, you’ll be able to create and sustain a positive