Research by John Gottman indicates that a healthy relationship has a 5 to 1 ratio of positive behaviors to negative behaviors.
Positive behaviors include expressions of humor, joy, affection, and interest.
Sometimes, partners can get into relationships where equality and respect are not demonstrated. John Gottman, a researcher and expert in the field of relationships, has identified 4 characteristics that are common in unhealthy relationships. Criticism • Attacking someone’s personality or character rather than a specific behavior; the attack is usually accompanied with blame. Defensiveness • A common defensive mechanism is where someone rarely admits they are wrong and instead blames the other partner for not somehow preventing the mistake, which makes it their fault.• Any statement that begins with “you always” or “you never” is a criticism rather than a complaint. • Usually this includes denying responsibility for the problem by diverting, deflecting, attacking, or defending, which fuels the conflict.• Example: “You talked about yourself all through dinner and didn’t ask me anything about my day. • Example: “How about when you explode into a tantrum? Contempt • Any statement or nonverbal behavior that puts oneself on a higher plane than one’s partner.There are many types of relationships and ways of being in relationship.Some people are interested in short term dating relationships without long term commitment, while others are looking for a long term, committed relationship. The qualities of a healthy or unhealthy relationship listed below apply to all types of relationships!
Below is the Equality Wheel to help you review aspects of healthy relationships.
It is important to note that these are general guidelines for helping you to determine if you are in a relationship that is healthy or unhealthy.
Sometimes unhealthy relationships can escalate to interpersonal violence.
If you are unsure what kind of relationship you are in, if you have more questions, or if you want to talk to someone about your relationship, UNC-CH has resources that can help you.
Please visit the Find Support page on this website.
In a healthy relationship, all partners feel satisfied by being in the relationship, and each person has individual rights.