Throughout our lives, we form many kinds of different relationships – with partners, family and friends. Some relationships are short-term, while others may last a lifetime.
Relationships are frequently between people of different genders, ages and abilities, each with their own personality, beliefs and point of view. It’s no wonder it can be quite challenging to stay on good terms with everybody all the time.
All relationships have their ups and downs; the odd argument doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed or unhealthy, just that you are two people who care about one another but don’t agree on everything.
The hallmark of a healthy relationship is mutual respect and honesty. You enjoy spending time together and are prepared to support each other through good and bad times. You consider the other person’s needs as well as your own.
It doesn’t matter if you are friends, lovers or family – a healthy relationship should bring more happiness than unhappiness into your life. The other person should make you feel good about yourself, not guilty, angry, depressed or upset.
Taking on the role of looking after someone else can sometimes affect the relationship between the two of you so it’s important to seek support in your caring role.
Healthy relationships do not involve power struggles and neither person tries to control what the other one does. Remember that no one should ever force you to do something you don’t want to do or you feel uncomfortable about.
Of course, some relationships are doomed from the outset although neither person sets out to treat the other badly. Having a clash of personalities with someone is very different situation from being in an abusive relationship.
Abuse has no place in any relationship, be it personal or professional. If you are being abused it’s important to seek help, especially if your safety is at risk.
If you have been abused or affected emotionally by an unhealthy relationship, you might find it helpful to seek counselling.
If you are in an adult relationship, it’s also important to look after your sexual health, including contraception and avoiding sexually transmitting illnesses (STIs).