Relationships are a central part of human existence. These can include romantic, familial, platonic or casual connections. Some relationships are long term and involve sex or physical intimacy while others are more fleeting.
Regardless of the type, healthy relationships are important for humans as they support our emotional, psychological and mental health. These connections also help us thrive and live longer. Loneliness and isolation are linked to poor physical and mental health and can have devastating consequences for our wellbeing. Having strong and positive social connections is associated with reduced depression, increased self esteem, better immune system function, and increased empathy.
A thriving relationship requires mutual respect, healthy communication, intimacy, companionship and deep love. It also involves understanding one another, giving and receiving help, and unflinching support. It is a long-term bond that brings out the best in you and helps you to become your most authentic and best self.
Many of us are in relationships that serve different purposes – some may be intimate, some may involve children or friends and some may have a legal commitment such as marriage. The purpose of a relationship can change over time as people develop and learn from their experiences, and this is normal. Sometimes the goals we have set for our relationships can be challenged and this is also normal. When this happens it is important to talk about it openly and respectfully. If you are in a relationship that no longer serves your needs it is okay to leave it.