relationships and mental health

Having relationships in our lives is fundamental to our well being. Whether they constitute relationships with family, work colleagues, friends or a sexual partner they are the main source of experiencing and developing love, support and happiness. When relationships go wrong however, which they may do in any of the above scenarios, they can also become a source of great pain, upset and anguish.

So, what makes for a successful relationship and how do we avoid the things that make relationships go wrong? Well, we cannot always avoid wrong turns, we are all human, sometimes we misjudge, make mistakes and of course change. Changes in relationships are therefore not always wrong at all, but a simple progression in our lives

Relationships are not meant to be perfect. However, there are some pointers that have been found to contribute to the more successful of relationship outcomes. These pointers seem to be consistent no matter what type of relationship we apply them to.

Accept each other’s differences.

Individualism and opinion. We all have them, they are often all different, not necessarily opposing, but different. Try to force these to change and you head for disaster. Rather, see differences in a more positive light. It is interesting to have different points of view, and healthy to maturely discuss them. But accepting another’s opinion means not getting heated or argumentative when concerning it. There is often no right or wrong view, only different viewpoints. Accept this and there is no room for argument, only a broadening of one’s personal education learning why people believe the things they do.

Allow for and respect each other’s boundaries.

Boundaries can be emotional, physical, spiritual and material. Learn to notice where one person stops and another begins. Use boundaries not to separate and segregate in a relationship, but to work together. Use them to create a balance for harmonious living.

Operate in the present.

During discussions stay within the topic at hand and move forward from there. Do not bring up topics of personal controversy from the past. This is a common occurrence, especially when one is stressed or heated, but usually has no constructive result. Stay focused, interested and productive in your approach to mutual conversation and actions.

Respect and support decisions.

We don’t always agree on the right courses of action for any given situation. Each person is different and has the right to make mature decisions about their life and direction. There is always room for constructive opinion to ensure a person has thought things through appropriately, but ultimately, in any relationship, respect for choices made and support during transition periods holds the relationship strong and brings people together.

Negotiation and compromise.

Be aware of and continue to develop abilities too negotiate and compromise. During times of differences, opinion or wishes, nobody should have to lose out or give in. All parties should be able to talk to reach mutually beneficial solutions and come to an agreement for action that everyone can enjoy.

Sharing one’s feelings.

We concentrate more here on sharing positive feelings – although sharing negative ones, such as concerns or fears, is ultimately also beneficial in building trust and generating closeness.

Positive feelings such as sexual intimacy, love and kindness can be the pinnacle of every successful relationship. Again everyone is different and each person, couple, family or group has their own requirement or goal-set for reaching a level of closeness they feel content with. Whatever that level, it can be achieved by working together and bringing one another those exchanges of intimacy, positivity, caring and sharing.

All of this might sound like hard work, requiring academic proportions of learning with no room for failure. However these things are what we all try, in one form or another, to reach every day of our lives.

They are part of our natural co-existence and always have been.So much so that sometimes, today, we hardly even notice ourselves doing them or trying to receive them. Most of the time, where problems have occurred in a relationship, it is really just a case of taking a step back, looking at the ‘big picture’ and perhaps analyzing how we, individually, could change for the better.

Human beings are naturally sociable creatures and therefore have a knack for forming bonds with others.Relationships problems often arise not because we never learned what to do, but because we have lost touch with our instincts.

Much work on improving a relationship can start with the individual. If one person is clear and reasoned about what they want and more consistent about how they ask for it, the whole relationship can begin to be put on a different basis.


Remember, happy and harmonious relationships is a key for mental health.