Relationships 101

Relationships are the connections we share with other people. These include romantic, platonic and familial relationships. We also use the word to describe our relationship with a country or organization, as in “the United States and China have a long-standing relationship.”

A good relationship can bring you a sense of safety, so you feel free to try new things, knowing you have a soft place to fall if they don’t work out. It can also help you keep on track with healthy habits, as your partner may encourage you to stay active and eat healthfully.

In a healthy relationship, you talk to each other regularly and listen to each other well. You can discuss disagreements without being afraid of hurting one another or retaliating, and you strive to fully understand each other. You can also laugh together, and you are not afraid to be playful or even flirt with one another. Having a healthy relationship includes communicating about sex and intimacy, so both partners feel satisfied with their sexuality.

When you’re in a relationship, it’s easy to let your needs take a back seat to those of your partner. But you’re both adults and need to make your own choices based on your own goals, values and needs. You have to be able to tell each other when you’re unhappy or when your needs are not being met. If you’re not able to communicate openly, conflict is likely to occur. When you’re stressed by conflicts, it can lead to physical symptoms, such as stomach upset, trouble sleeping and chest pain.