Having healthy relationships is crucial to your mental and physical health. Whether you’re married, living together or just dating, different types of relationships help form your social support network and have the potential to add years to your life. While some people thrive on being single and enjoy a self-sufficient lifestyle, research has shown that having close relationships provides benefits such as lower stress levels, restful sleep, improved mental health, and strong physical wellbeing.
When it comes to determining what type of relationship you are in, some people struggle to distinguish between “friendship with benefits” and a “relationship.” Others have a difficult time navigating the creaky bridge between “unofficially partnered” and “fully committed.” In addition to these confusions, there is also the misconception that you need to be in a certain relationship status to be happy. This article will help clarify aspects of defining the relationship, signs of moving to the next level, and tips on creating a supportive community.
A healthy relationship is based on mutual respect, trust and honest communication. Mutual respect means valuing who the other person is and respecting their boundaries. Trust is a belief that the other person will do what they say they will. This includes not only trusting that they won’t cheat on you, but also trusting that they will listen and understand you. Honesty is important in a healthy relationship because both partners must be willing to be open and share with one another their thoughts, feelings and concerns.
In a healthy relationship, both partners maintain independence and have other social connections outside of the partnership. This may include spending time with friends and family, pursuing hobbies or activities they are passionate about, or working on their career goals. Having independent interests helps maintain mutual respect and keeps both partners feeling like they can be themselves without being dependent on the other person. In addition, it prevents jealousy from setting in when each person sees other people enjoying time alone.
Ultimately, being in a relationship is about finding someone who brings out the best in you, makes you smile when you are down, and understands you in ways no one else can. It is about forming a support system that will lift you up in times of trouble and challenge you to become a better version of yourself.
Relationships do take work. However, it shouldn’t feel hard or exhausting. Think of it more like a hobby or school project that you’re really into—it takes some effort but it’s fun and satisfying. If you can apply this mindset to your relationship, it will be easier to stay motivated and committed. In the end, you will reap the rewards: a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life.