Relationships are any connection between two people that involves mutual trust and familiarity. They are the foundation of your social support network, which is critical for physical and mental well-being. There are many different kinds of relationships, including romantic, familial, platonic, and professional. Some are healthy, and some are unhealthy. Whether they are positive or negative, all relationships have the potential to impact your mental health.
The word “relationship” is used to describe a bond between two people that makes each other feel loved and emotionally fulfilled. In a relationship, there is empathy for each other’s needs and desires, and the ability to compromise in a fair and respectful manner. Often, there is also some kind of affection or desire for one another, which can be expressed through actions like touching, cuddling, and kissing.
A relationship can be either romantic or non-romantic, but it is typically a long-term commitment in which the participants spend time together and work on their relationship to grow closer. People in committed relationships often use identifiers such as boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner to indicate the nature of their relationship to others.
Research suggests that people who have healthy, loving relationships are happier and healthier than those who do not. This is mainly because these people are more likely to have a strong sense of identity and security that comes from being part of a close, stable family or group, as well as the psychological benefits of feeling loved and supported.
While a sense of need for human connection appears to be innate, the skills required for developing healthy relationships appear to be learned in early childhood. It is thought that the most important learning happens during an infant’s earliest experiences with caregivers who meet their needs for food, care, warmth, protection, and social contact. These early attachments are believed to establish deeply ingrained patterns of relating to others that persist throughout life.
A healthy relationship requires good communication and the ability to discuss all aspects of each other’s lives, including successes, failures, financial issues, workplace stress, and personal goals. In addition, a healthy relationship includes the ability to be open and honest with each other without fear of judgment or punishment. Similarly, both partners must respect the boundaries of the other’s separate identities and independence.
Some people stay in unfulfilling relationships because they are afraid to be alone, or because they think that they can “fix” the other person. However, it is important to remember that a relationship requires equal participation and that it is never a way to gain something from someone else. It is also important to be healthy and whole on your own, so you do not have a need for a relationship that can only be met by someone else.
People in meaningful relationships often feel cherished and supported by their significant other, but they can also experience these feelings in other kinds of connections, such as platonic friendships or work-related interactions. For example, people in long-distance relationships may benefit from phone and video calls, letters, and texting to promote a sense of intimacy.