Mental Health Experts Share Their Top Relationship Advice
Being in a healthy relationship has significant mental health benefits; learn if your relationship is good for you—and what to do if it isn’t
October 11, 2021
The most important part of our lives are often the people in it. Relationships between family members, friends, and loved ones can be incredibly meaningful. Romantic partnerships, in particular, have a profound impact on our emotional well-being.
Keep Reading To Learn
- What a healthy relationship consists of
- How to maintain realistic expectations of your relationship—and your partner
- Ways to recognize relationship “red flags”
The Pillars of a Healthy Relationship
A healthy relationship should consist of alone time, open communication, and safety.
This can include a few key concepts.
Even though a healthy relationship is marked by love, boundaries still exist. Each partner should have access to their own personal space and feel okay retreating into it if they need time alone.
Communication is one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship. Partners must talk with one another in a civil way, even if there’s a disagreement.
Trusting another person can take time. We often fear being vulnerable, afraid of how we will be seen, or if we will be judged for our characteristics, opinions, or actions. It’s important to let each other know you can rely on one another. Having a sense of safety is crucial to the long-term success of your relationship.
No one should ever be forced to do something they don’t want to do. A person should be free to agree or disagree with anything their partner proposes and should also be able to share this without fear of repercussions.
How Healthy Relationships Improve Mental Health
People in healthy relationships experience significant mental health perks.
- People in healthy relationships feel like their lives have purpose. Someone in a romantic relationship may feel that they’re not only living for themselves, but also for their partner.
- Relationships are a source of physical affection, which research has shown reduces anxiety and depression, and increases immune system function.
- In a healthy relationship, people have an empathetic listener in their life. Partners can discuss problems that may arise during the day and receive a trusted second opinion. Having consistent support relieves stress and provides safety.
- Partners can encourage each other to improve their well-being. This may include urging each other to follow a healthy diet or pursue work-life balance. Couples may—and should—engage in healthy activities together, supporting one another’s interests and finding mutual interests over which to bond.
- Partners in a healthy relationship root for and support each other. If someone takes on a new project or wants to overcome a challenge, having the involvement, encouragement, or emotional support of a partner can be incredibly helpful.
Maintaining a Mentally Healthy Relationship
Dr. Lisa Coyne highlights the effects of mental wellness on relationships and explores the ways in which communication can positively impact the relationship’s dynamic.