Whether you’re in a committed relationship or just have some close friends, forming relationships is good for your mental and physical health. Having supportive people around you can help you stay on track with healthy behaviors, keep you accountable and serve as a sounding board for any issues you’re struggling with. Research has also shown that a solid support system can add years to your life!
What Is a Relationship?
A relationship is an association between two or more people characterized by some degree of interdependence, which may be emotional, sexual, or financial. A relationship can be informal, casual or serious, and it may last a short time or a long period of time. A relationship can be between one person and another (a dyad) or between three people or more (a triad).
When we think of romantic relationships, we usually think of a dyad consisting of a couple, with the term “marital” or “pre-marital” denoting different stages of the relationship. However, non-romantic relationships can be just as healthy as those that are, as long as they involve a mutual commitment and involve open communication and trust.
People who are in healthy relationships know that their needs around communication, sex, affection, space and shared interests are unique to them. This is why it’s so important to communicate your expectations and boundaries with your partner and to understand theirs. Those needs may change over time, so it’s important to remember that what worked for you in your 20s might not work for you in your 30s.
Many people stay in unhealthy relationships because they’ve heard that relationships take a lot of work. But the work that healthy relationships do is not nearly as difficult or exhausting as it might seem at times. The work that healthy relationships require is more like the work you might put into a hobby or a school project that you’re really passionate about. That kind of work is fun, inspiring, or engaging, and that’s the kind of work healthy relationships should feel like!
How to Build a Strong, Healthy Relationship
Having a partner you can lean on and share your life with brings peace of mind and joy. It’s comforting to have someone who can hold your hand through tough times and celebrate the good ones. When you find that special person, you want to spend every moment with them. In addition to bringing happiness into your life, being in a stable, loving, committed relationship can lower stress levels, increase restful sleep, and improve overall mental and physical health.
Sometimes, it’s hard to see your partner for who they are, especially if their behavior or beliefs don’t align with yours. Taking the time to learn more about your partner, understanding their perspective and working together toward common goals can help you overcome these challenges. However, if you’re constantly struggling to resolve conflicts, it might be time to consider other options for your relationship.