How Do Relationships Work?

Whether they’re romantic or platonic, relationships provide many benefits including lower stress levels, restful sleep and improved mental health. In addition, positive relationships can help you feel more capable, which can encourage you to take risks and follow your dreams.

Relationships are essential to our overall health and happiness, but how they work can vary wildly from person to person. For example, you might have a relationship with your significant other, your family or friends. Some of these relationships are long-lasting, while others end in divorce. The quality of a relationship can also be determined by the amount of mutual trust, respect and communication.

Everyone has an image in their mind of how a relationship should work. In the ideal scenario, both people carefully balance their time together with time to themselves. They pursue engaging, invigorating interests on their own while helping each other with the household chores and cooking gourmet lasagna for the extended family at Thanksgiving (although not all of these things will happen at the same time).

A healthy relationship requires a fair amount of giving and taking. Some aspects of the give and take may be more apparent than others, but both partners should strive to create a balanced relationship that feels satisfying to them.

A good relationship is marked by natural reciprocity, which means that your partner does things for you because they genuinely want to, not because they feel like they owe it to you. They’re able to talk openly about their feelings without taking your criticism personally, and they’re able to listen with empathy when you have an off day.