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Why Your Relationships Matter  

...Only connect.                  -- E. M. Forster

Connection counts.

Connecting with others may be the most important thing you do in life. Relationships really matter. In fact, many people feel there is nothing more important in the world than their close relationships.

Where do they stack up in your life priorities?  Take time to self-reflect and know yourself -- know your values and your goals

Human beings are biologically programmed to form close bonds.

Connections to others satisfy a basic human need for us to be close to and supported by others. We are happier, healthier and even live longer when we have strong close relationships in our lives. And relationships with our romantic partners are a primary source of the close bonds we need to thrive. 

It's the quality of our bonds that matter. 

Not all close relationships satisfy our needs for connection.  Human bonds can be unhealthy -- the ties that bind can be constricting, hurtful, even abusive.  Or there can simply be a "dis-connect" -- two people living together, but alone, indifferent and not genuinely connected to one another. 

Creating "solid gold" relationships may sound simple, but it's harder than you think (especially if you're in the early stages of a relationship).  It may also be more rewarding.  Learn from Voices of Experience: Rewards of a Solid Gold Relationship. (need to create link here?)

Being in an unhealthy relationship can be unhealthy for you. 

Woman with cold, sneezing into tissueIt can hurt your physical health.

People in stressful and unhappy relationships get sick more often, and take longer to recover from illnesses and injuries.

It can hurt your psychological well-being.

People in unhealthy relationships are more likely to be sad or depressed, may have more difficulty concentrating, may be more anxious and moody, and may have more difficulty dealing with other stressors that exist in their lives.

On the other hand, being in a happy and stable relationship is associated with lower levels of depression and higher levels of overall life satisfaction. And healthy relationships help people cope successfully with external stressors.  

It can make it harder to succeed in college or your job.

Research suggests that being in an unhealthy relationship, especially one where your partner does not support your educational or career goals, is associated with lower motivation and achievement in college. And significant life stressors, like those create by an unhealthy relationship, make it more difficult to concentrate on your work or pay attention to the potentially significant long-term consequences of poor work performance.

It can be harmful for your children.

It is unhealthy for children to be exposed to their parents' unhealthy romantic relationships, especially when they see a lot of disrespect and hostility, or even abuse, in those relationships. They tend to do more poorly in school, have more problems interacting with peers, and are more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety. And when they get older they're more likely to have unhealthy relationships themselves. 

It makes sense to think not only about how your relationship might be impacting your children, but also self-reflect on how your own family background may be influencing your current relationship choices.

Unhealthy relationships = not so good for you; relationships that rock = super good for you.

A high quality, solid gold, relationship can have long-lasting and cumulative positive effects on your physical, emotional and mental health.   A good relationship does not compromise your personal growth or autonomy -- indeed a good relationship is good for your Self.   It's a win-win. 

So what makes a relationship golden?   What makes a relationship solid and strong and happy?  What's healthy, and what's not? Move on to learn about the characteristics of relationships that rock.Move On!