Each year when Valentine’s Day arrives, the deeper meaning of the day is often lost in chocolates and flowers. But when the chocolate is eaten and the roses wilted, you might want to consider if your relationship is healthy.

A healthy relationship should feel good. It should add value to your life and bring more happiness than stress. Every relationship takes work, but prolonged tension with your partner could be a sign of an unhealthy relationship.

“A healthy relationship will include respect and trust”, says Sharon Storton, YWCA of Calgary Manager, Counselling and Personal Development. “This should involve kind words, sincere emotions and open sharing.” Although couples may not agree on every subject, a couple with a healthy connection should be able to relax and truly be themselves.

A healthy relationship should have stability. Both partners should be able to maintain independence while enjoying the relationship. There should be reasonable boundaries and both partners should be free to spend time with their friends and family. When a dispute occurs, it should be resolved fairly with respect on both sides.

All relationships have their challenges. Sometimes, the lines between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one can be confusing.

“In an unhealthy situation, respect gives way to control, communication breaks down, resolving conflict can be impacted by fear and pressure, and sexual boundaries can be lost”, notes Sharon. Pressure to conform to your partner’s lifestyle, a need to justify your actions, lack of privacy and arguments not settled fairly are all signs that a relationship may not be healthy.

There is room for improvement in any relationship, and often being able to talk to someone other than your friends and family can help you sort through your concerns.

This Valentine’s Day, as you purchase your gifts and enjoy the time together, do a quick check in on your relationship. Are you and your partner growing individually and as partners? If so, wonderful! Enjoy it. If not, consider reaching out for support. There are many options available.

YWCA of Calgary’s free YWonder sessions are available now. Please click here to learn more.