The Importance of Relationships
Relationships are the connections we make with others that help us feel supported, understood, and loved. They can be with family, friends, acquaintances, and romantic partners. While some people may prefer to be single, being in a healthy relationship is important to most of us. Research has shown that relationships can contribute to better mental health and more restful sleep, more self-esteem, and greater overall happiness.
When we talk about being in a relationship, most of the time we mean a long-term, committed romantic connection with a partner who is not only physically intimate but also emotionally supportive. This kind of relationship is often referred to by identifiers such as boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, and significant other.
Relationships come in all shapes and sizes, and many of them overlap. For example, a person might have casual acquaintances who are people they smile at or say hello to in the halls of school or work and who they talk with occasionally about surface-level topics, and close friends with whom they have shared interests and activities.
In a healthy relationship, each partner works hard to meet the needs of the other. This includes providing emotional support and a sense of safety to be vulnerable with each other, helping with difficult or embarrassing tasks, and respecting the other’s boundaries and needs. It also means maintaining a meaningful and fulfilling physical intimacy, which can be a challenge when both partners have busy lives.
Ideally, the partners in a relationship are not afraid to respectfully disagree with each other. When differences arise, they are able to talk about them without aggression or defensiveness, and they find ways to resolve conflict. They are willing to try new things, take risks, and make compromises to reach their goals together. They are also able to celebrate their wins and provide encouragement through the ups and downs of life.
A healthy relationship also helps you to grow as a person, and it can improve your communication skills. Your partner can show you areas in your personality that need to be worked on by offering constructive criticism and positive feedback. They can also give you a boost when you need it by telling you how much they appreciate you.
Having healthy relationships can add years to your life, and they can be an essential part of a happy and fulfilled existence. However, you can’t always control how other people treat you, and if a relationship is harmful or toxic, you should look for ways to create clear boundaries, seek professional help, or even end the relationship. Having good relationships can add meaning to your life and reduce the risk of depression, stress, and illness. For this reason, everyone should strive to form at least a few close relationships. If you are unsure of where to begin, check out our article on How to Form Relationships.