What are relationships?
Relationships cover a wide range of people including friends, family, sexual relationships, marriage, work colleagues, neighbours and tutors. They apply equally to heterosexual, gay, lesbian or bi-sexual people.
How do relationships affect you?
Good relationships can be very supportive and enhance our lives. Most relationships however go through difficult patches and need our willingness to explore these times and change or compromise.
Relationship difficulties can produce or stir up feelings that may relate to past hurt, anger, disappointments, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness. This can be quite frightening and may make one irritable or withdrawn.
What may affect a relationship?
All sorts of things can make relationships difficult although some measure of argument and disagreement can be quite healthy.
Some relationships however can be abusive (physically, sexually or emotionally) and there are various places you can go to get advice and information.
Sometimes relationships struggle because of different expectations – you may expect your friend to be there for you when you are upset but they may not notice you are upset. Under such situations, you may have to ask for support.
Family relationships can become strained as you grow older or circumstances change. For instance, an elderly parent becoming increasingly dependent and you may have to renegotiate your position in the family or household.
Factors such as finances, pregnancy, health, housework, housing, work difficulties, unemployment and study can all put a strain on relationships whether you are a couple, living independently, in a shared house or at home.
What can help with relationships?
If you are experiencing a hard time in one relationship, try to seek positive vibes and remind yourself how much you are valued by others.
Try to talk openly about your feelings and what you are finding so difficult with the person involved. Often it can help to discuss the situation objectively in a confidential and non-judgmental way and counselling can help with this exploration.
Before entering into living arrangements with friends, family or lovers, it may be helpful to talk about your expectations and the household e.g. housework, money etc.
Remember, if you feel that you are putting in more than you get out of a relationship, feel bullied or put down on a regular basis, you have the right to finish it. You don’t have to stay in a relationship if it is not right for you.