Relationships are the interactions we have with others — including family members, friends, colleagues, and romantic partners. They may be short-term, like a summer fling, or long-term, as in the case of marriage or a long-time friendship. We also use the word relationship to describe interactions that don’t involve people, such as a business relationship or an academic one.
A thriving, committed relationship can bring you joy and happiness that isn’t found in isolation or loneliness. Studies show that when you’re with someone you love, certain parts of your brain light up. That’s why so many of us seek out relationships.
However, it’s important to remember that not all relationships are created equal. A healthy, fulfilling relationship is one that balances out giving and taking in a way that makes both parties happy. A good way to assess whether your relationship is balanced is by thinking about how much affection, support, and energy you give and receive.
Oftentimes, we get in situationships because we don’t know what we want or need. In these situations, we may feel pressure to “hook up” for fear of being alone or because we’re filling a void that doesn’t actually exist. Keeping this in mind, it’s important to commit at your own pace and avoid the temptation to rush into something just because your friend shacked up with her boyfriend. Having healthy, long-lasting relationships takes time. It’s a journey that’s worth the investment. Read on to learn how to build and maintain a healthy relationship.