We are all at the centre of a big network of relationships; with family, friends, acquaintances, teachers, pets, partners and all sorts of other people.
When they are healthy, these relationships help us to thrive. As well as helping us enjoy the good times, they see us through the bad times too, holding us like a safety net when we’re at risk of falling.
What all good relationships have in common is that they are based on respect, trust, and communication. That’s true whether it’s your relationship with your best friend, your teacher or your partner.
Most people have more than one romantic relationship during their life. Going out with different people helps you find out who you are compatible with and what you want from a relationship.
It’s also fine not to be in a relationship at all. Lots of people are single and many are single by choice. They aren’t interested in love or romance, and that’s totally fine.
The most important thing, if you do choose to be in a relationship with someone, is that it should be a positive experience. It won’t be perfect every day – all relationships go through ups and downs -but it should be fun and help you feel good about yourself.
Brook and Enduring Love?
Enduring Love? was a two year Open University research study which interviewed over 5,000 couples in long-term relationships. The researchers asked the couples about various aspects of their relationships and what made them endure and the results were fascinating.
Brook teamed up with Professor Jacqui Gabb, who headed up the study, to create the relationships section of the Brook site covering all aspects of relationships, based on the findings of the research.
This section aims to give advice and information that is based in reality. It is based on what real couples said – rather than the myths and stereotypes we are bombarded with through stories, films and songs about love and romance.
It’s true that relationships often start out with romance. You feel an amazing sense of togetherness, and the differences between you don’t seem to matter. Everything is perfect – it feels quite magical and ‘unreal’ – and in a way it is.
But for a relationship to last and endure, most couples will need to move from this magical place into a phase where their relationship can survive the reality of everyday life – and the reality of each other.
The Open University
About Enduring Love?
Professor Jacqui Gabb of the Open University, talks about the Enduring Love? research project and summarises what it uncovered.
Relationships rely on flowers, chocolates, never arguing and having endless sex, right? WRONG! Read the top 8 myths busted by the Enduring Love? research project.
Looking for a relationship
From being happy in yourself, to taking the plunge if you meet someone; here’s our advice if you’re looking for a relationship.
Research shows that the key to lasting relationships was less about grand gestures and more about everyday acts of kindness.
The Enduring Love? research project showed that communication can make or break a relationship. Read more about it here.
The truth about sex & intimacy
We’re surrounded by messages that tell us that sex is essential for a successful relationship. The Enduring Love? research showed this simply wasn’t the case.
Breaking up with someone is rarely easy but breakups are an inevitable part of relationships. Read our advice for dealing with them.
Arguments: what causes them?
Relationship experts say it’s impossible to be close to someone without arguing. Learn more about what causes them.
Dealing better with arguments
Experts on relationships say it’s impossible to be close to someone without sometimes arguing. But if its getting you down, here is some advice on dealing better with arguments.
Is arguing with your partner always a bad thing?
Here’s some advice from Relate, the UK’s largest provider of relationship counselling services.
Spending time together…and apart
It’s a myth that spending every moment together is key to a strong relationship. The Enduring Love? research showed time apart is as important.
Trust and jealousy
Trust creates a strong bond between people. Jealousy undermines trust and can drive people apart. Read more about each emotion, here.
I’ve been cheated on
It’s hard to say what cheating is, as it’s different for so many people. Read our guide to discussing it and dealing with it.
Cheating on someone you care about is a hurtful thing to do. But the reasons why it happens can be complicated.
Learn more about non-monogamy which means having more than one partner, or having sex with other people as well.
Sex: what if you want different things?
When it comes to sex, what we want and enjoy can change over the course of a relationship and leave you out of sync. Read more about how to navigate this.
Recognising an abusive relationship: Sophie’s story
Sophie, 25, shares her experiences of being in an abusive relationship with her piece on ‘8 things I wish I’d known’.
Social media and relationships
Brook guest blogger Sophie, 25, muses on the topic of social media and whether it makes relationships easier or harder.
Things you only learn when you start a new relationship
Brook guest blogger Sophie, 25, shares her thoughts on starting a new relationship; the high, the lows and the meeting-of-the-family.
Abuse in relationships
Read about the signs that tell you you are in an abusive relationship.
Love: is it really all about putting someone else before you?
Our guest blogger Sophie, 25, shares her thoughts on love and what it really means to put someone else first.
Sex, relationships and your rights
Read about your rights and responsibilities when it comes to relationships and sex.
This article is by courtesy of Brook