A relationship is any kind of association or connection between people, whether intimate or platonic. Most often, when someone says they are “in a relationship,” they mean a romantic and/or sexual partnership involving some level of commitment or exclusivity. Relationships can be in-person or virtual and can include both friends and family members. There are many different types of relationships and some are more important or fulfilling than others.
Positive relationships add meaning to our lives and help us cope with stress. They can also be a source of support and encouragement as we pursue our goals and dreams. They can give us the confidence and self-assurance to take risks and follow our passions. However, the extreme reality is that without healthy and supportive relationships, a person can quickly become depressed, isolated, and physically unhealthy.
People in healthy relationships prioritize spending time together, but they also respect each other’s need for personal space and time on their own. They communicate regularly, listening attentively to one another and trying to understand each other’s point of view. They double check that they’ve understood each other correctly so there are no misunderstandings.
They make an effort to get to know each other’s interests and needs, and they work collaboratively as a team to achieve shared goals. They remember details about each other, such as dates and events that are meaningful to them, and they treat each other with respect. They also make time for fun activities that don’t require much interaction, such as enjoying a hobby or seeing friends.
When it comes to sex and intimacy, they communicate openly about their needs, desires, and boundaries. They are respectful of each other’s bodies, and they avoid engaging in activities that are damaging to their physical or mental health. They also set clear expectations and boundaries about their sexual activity to avoid confusion or conflict.
Healthy relationships can also offer opportunities for personal growth, as both partners can encourage the best parts of each other. For example, if one partner tends to be more outgoing and adventurous than the other, they may challenge them to slow down and relax more often.
There are also a number of benefits that can be gained from being in a healthy relationship, such as lower stress levels, restful slumber, improved mental health, and more. While everyone’s situation is unique, close relationships are beneficial to most people and can improve their quality of life. For some, that may mean a relationship with a spouse or significant other, while for others it might be more of a platonic friendship or group support system. Regardless of the type of relationship you have, making an effort to cultivate a positive and supportive network is worth the investment. After all, studies have shown that having strong social ties can add years to your life!