Relationships are the foundation of a person’s social support network. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can range from close and intimate to distant and challenging. Having a range of different relationships is important for your mental health, but if a relationship is causing you stress or showing signs of being toxic, it’s a good idea to take some time to clarify boundaries, talk with a therapist, or even end the relationship altogether.
Whether it’s with co-workers, family members or friends, relationships are a vital part of our daily lives. Some people are more naturally able to form healthy relationships, but anyone can learn how to make the most of their relationship experiences.
Intimate relationships can be complicated, requiring trust, communication, intimacy and feelings of romance or love. The need for human connection appears to be innate, and early childhood relationships play a significant role in our ability to form healthy, lasting relationships.
The most important thing to remember about relationships is that they need to be mutually beneficial. A healthy relationship involves compromise and communication, with both parties making an effort to be respectful of each other’s personal space, interests and beliefs. It also means no secrets: if you’re in a committed relationship, everything should be fair game, from your crushes to the weird sexual fantasies you may have. Having close, supportive relationships is linked to lower stress levels, restful slumber, better mental health and stronger physical health.