Relationships are a cornerstone of happiness and living a full life. They provide a sense of belonging, can help you handle stress and have health benefits. Studies have shown that people who have close relationships live longer and are more resilient to adversity.
Most of us want to be in a relationship, or at least have a partner. But not everyone is a good match for each other and sometimes a relationship just doesn’t work out. When this happens, it is important to understand what went wrong and know when it’s time to move on.
Healthy relationships take time and effort to grow and flourish, but they don’t always have to be difficult or exhausting. It is also important to balance relationships with other areas of your life such as work, school, family and friends.
Relationships are a place to learn and practice communication, empathy, mutual respect and understanding, caring, trust, companionship, intimacy and deep love. They also offer a safe environment to learn how to deal with conflict and be your best self.
Needing and being able to form relationships seems to be innate, but the ability to create a stable relationship requires learning how to communicate and empathize with others. Developing these skills starts in infancy, with an infant’s early experiences with caregivers who reliably meet their needs for food, care, warmth, protection and stimulation. These early relationships are thought to establish deeply ingrained patterns of relating to others.