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Self Editor Lucy Danziger's 4 Signs of a Healthy Relationship

Lucy Danziger's 4 Signs of a Healthy Relationship

If there's one thing the editor in chief of Self magazine, Lucy Danziger, knows, it's that there's always room for self-improvement. But sometimes the nagging feeling that you're not good enough is the biggest problem of all. She and Catherine Birndorf, MD, a women's mental-health specialist, interviewed hundreds of women about personal fulfillment. Now, they're ready to help us clean up the emotional messes in our lives in their book The Nine Rooms of Happiness.

Of course, most people turn right to the bedroom chapter, which governs relationships and sex. So, we asked Lucy, "How do we know we're with the one, or at least a pretty good one?" Here are her four signs that your relationship is on the right track.

  1. There's conflict.
    This sounds like a downer, but the root of a relationship is to relate. If you can have conflict that leads to a resolution, then you'll be able to move forward when you hit a rough patch. It's not "either/or . . . it's both/and." This is a strategy in The Nine Rooms, meaning, it's not "either" we agree on everything "or" can't be together — it's I can "both" disagree with him "and" still love him. Conflict is OK; in fact, it's part of life.
  2. You don't complete each other.
    You are not the same. You don't complete each other; you overlap, as a two full circles coming together in a Venn diagram. The overlap is the relationship, and the parts of the circle outside are your individual lives apart (work, outside friends, other interests). Ask yourself if you feel better in the relationship when he's not around? You don't complete each other; you complement each other.

To see the other two,


  1. Sex isn't rock star every night.
    Once you are in an ongoing relationship or, like me, married, you'll have nights where one of you feels like having sex and the other doesn't. Sometimes I-love-you sex is enough, and it doesn't have to be rock-star sex every time. The movie sex we all love to watch is entertaining, but it sets the bar high. Have sex, even if it's just to say "I love you" sometimes, and then plan to connect with more quality sex another time. If you wait for the perfect beach vacation or date night, it could be a rare event.
  2. You don't try to change him, but you do change how you react to him.
    Whatever you are lacking, sometimes the sex you're not having is what you crave. You can't change him, but you can change how you act. And that starts with being vocal. The relationship equation is A + B = C, meaning you are A, he is B, and the relationship is C. Change A, and you change the outcome. You have what it takes to be happier in the bedroom. All you have to do is speak up.

Gracelinn Gracelinn 7 years
how rational.
Advah Advah 7 years
Bella - starting to wonder if we didn't date the same guy, hah! (remembering a scene like that still sends shivers down my spine)
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
Runningesq - ME TOO! That drives me crazy. I also agree with the "conflict is normal" advice. I've known couples who never fight, and it's usually because one partner is just a doormat who is afraid of upsetting the other.
skigurl skigurl 7 years
this made me feel good about my relationship!
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
these pieces of advice are really spot-on and refreshing, I'd definitely check out the book
sparklestar sparklestar 7 years
Yep, me and my boyfriend tick all the boxes. We have conflicts... who doesn't?! Me and my ex used to fight all the time but never come to resolutions, it was horrible. His reaction to an arguement would be to leave the house and then hope I'd calmed down by the time he got home! BIZARRE!! Me and boyfriend had a disagreement the other night but we don't shout. We talk it over like reasonable people and come to a resolution. We actually managed to have a falling out over something half an hour before his parents arrived for Mothers Day lunch but by the time they knocked on the door we'd sorted it out!! We're both secure and stable enough to disagree with the other without fearing that that is going to spell the end of the relationship. Neither of us even consider breaking up because we know we're 100% happy together the rest of the time.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
I really like number 2. I love my husband dearly and he is the most important person in my life, but I have my own career, my own friends, my own hobbies, my own passions. I think it's sad when couples are WE WE WE all of the time !
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
Very realistic.
amandachalynn amandachalynn 7 years
I would say that we never argue, but that doesn't mean we don't have conflicts. We both let the other have their say without butting in. I also think this is all great advice.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
Yeah, it took me a while to figure out that everyone argues. I'd have friends who were all "we never argue!" and feel like my relationship was somehow off. Now I get that it's totally normal. Everyone has problems, even the couples who never fight.
Beauty Beauty 7 years
Agreed — this is all level-headed, good advice. When we started dating, my ex said that he and *his* ex never argued. This seemed strange to me, because I feel like all couples argue — what matters is how you get through it. When we came up against our first big challenge, I tried to come up with solutions that would work for both of us. He freaked out and dumped me because he saw the problem as a sign that I wasn't The One. Looking back, the no-argument thing was a red flag. I should have paid attention to it.
Advah Advah 7 years
The first excellent point is something it took me a really long (and difficult) time to realise. Definitely something to keep in mind.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
These are all really good, grounded bits of advice.
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