What is the definition of a good relationship?

Dr. Stan Tatkin, MFT, PsyD
Marriage & Family Therapy Specialist

A good relationship is one that is mutually dependent or interdependent. A good reason to depend on each other is survival. Do the two of you ensure absolute safety and security on a continuing basis? Is the relationship secure functioning? In other words, is it fully collaborative, cooperative, fair, just and sensitive? We know now from long running studies that the secret to happiness and longevity is secure functioning relationships.

Irwin Isaacs
Psychology Specialist

A good relationship is built on a solid foundation of friendship.  It is one of true partnership in every way.  There are no specific male or female roles.  Finances are shared, and plans of every kind are made jointly. 

If this doesn't describe your current relationship you should seek help from a relationship therapist.


Lisa Oz
Health Education Specialist

Since the nature of our interactions with others pretty much determines the quality of our experience, it would seem to be in our best interest to make these relationships as good as possible. Of course, good is a relative term. Some of you might interpret this to mean that you should only hang out with the super pious.

To others, it could mean having friends who are loads of fun. However, that is not what I am talking about. I am sure you have people in your life who are naughty, or boring, or both. I certainly would not want you to cut them off. (Well, maybe just the boring ones.) What I mean by a good relationship is one that you approach consciously; where the participants behave in a manner congruent with their values. This type of relationship is based on kindness and compassion and is mutually beneficial and satisfying.

Incidentally, this is what we strive for, not only with our soul mate or favorite aunt, but also with our chief competition at work and the quasi-sadistic meter maid who writes up a ticket while you are searching the bottom of your purse for a quarter. Ideally, you should approach every encounter with a sense of presence and awareness. Note I said "ideally." Of course, it does not happen all the time (it certainly does not with me), but it is not an unreasonable goal, and is nothing new.

Continue Learning about Relationships and Family

How to Heal From a Toxic Relationship
How to Heal From a Toxic Relationship
Toxic relationships mean different things to different people. But if you've experienced a relationship hardship, there is going to be a healing proce...
Read More
How can I have a healthy social life?
Eric OlsenEric Olsen
We can develop and maintain social connections in many ways. Involvements in church, volunteer a...
More Answers
10 Things Happy Couples Do
10 Things Happy Couples Do10 Things Happy Couples Do10 Things Happy Couples Do10 Things Happy Couples Do
Fireworks are great, but that's not what keeps love strong for years.
Start Slideshow
How Can I Fit Sex Into My Busy Life?
How Can I Fit Sex Into My Busy Life?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.