Relationships are the people and things that make up your support system and help you feel connected to others. They can be both romantic and non-romantic, but research shows that having healthy relationships can help with mental health, stress, sleep quality, and overall well-being.
A relationship can be a dyad (two people), triad (three), or an alliance (more than two). You can also have a platonic relationship, which is more like a friendship without the intimacy of sex or physical contact. Having a relationship means having someone to share your life with, and to have someone that you can rely on.
In a healthy relationship, there is mutuality in terms of giving and receiving affection, energy, and love. It’s important to understand your partner’s non-verbal cues and know when they are “in” or “out” of the mood for affection, and to respect their boundaries when they ask for space. Physical intimacy is important in a healthy relationship, whether that’s hugs and kisses, hand holding, or intimate conversations. It’s also important to schedule regular couple time, even if it’s just an hour after work or during the weekend.
Being in a relationship can be emotionally exhausting, but it’s usually rewarding, too. The closeness of a significant other can provide emotional comfort, and the companionship is a healing balm when you’re fighting your own internal wars.
If you are in a healthy, loving relationship, the memories you create with your partner can be inspiring and uplifting. Those moments become the “golden memories” that you can look back on when life becomes challenging.
You can learn a lot about yourself in a relationship, and you can also improve your communication skills by practicing with your partner. If you’re a poor listener, for example, your partner can teach you how to be a better one. They can also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, which can be a good way to evaluate the relationship.
If you’re in a bad relationship, don’t give up on it just yet! Sometimes the sting from a mistake will just wear off, especially if you’re both committed to moving forward and not repeating it. However, if you’re both unable or unwilling to move forward, it may be time to end the relationship. Be sure to communicate your unhappiness to your partner before you take the final steps to end the alliance. You might both decide that you are better off as friends or even solo. Be honest about your feelings and don’t hold grudges. Then, you can move on and find a new path in life.