Taking Charge of Your Relationships

Relationships are a vital aspect of your social support network, and research suggests that they can add years to your life. Whether you’re single or in a committed relationship, taking charge of your relationships can help you cope with stress, achieve healthier lifestyles, and enjoy the pleasures that come from close connections with others.

Almost everyone has some form of relationships in their lives, ranging from casual acquaintances to close friends to romantic partners to family members. These people are part of your daily life and often affect your feelings, emotions, moods, and overall health in various ways. Some of these relationships can be positive and supportive, while others may be unhealthy.

Healthy, long-term relationships require open communication and compromise to work well. They’re based on trust that your partner will care for you and keep your best interests in mind—and that they won’t cheat or lie to you. This trust goes beyond believing that your partner is faithful to you; it also includes knowing how to read nonverbal cues.

A happy relationship can help you cope with depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. It can even improve your physical health by lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Moreover, it can increase your self-esteem by making you feel more confident and capable of handling challenges.