Relationship support

Being in a relationship can be one of the most fulfilling experiences a human being can have – if it’s a healthy, balanced, and supportive relationship. However, sometimes it’s easy to forget that relationships are consistently growing and changing, as are the people in them. Each partner in the relationship brings their personalities and experiences, their feelings and thoughts, and their goals and needs and as we go through these things as individuals, they impact our relationships too.

All relationships go through cycles. Many start with the thrilling stage of discovering the other person, then the development of agreeing a commitment, and then perhaps ‘settling down’ or even building a family together. Eventually, many find that as their relationship matures some of the early enthusiasm is lost, but it is replaced with a different level of comfort and intimacy. It’s normal for relationships to change over time, just as it’s normal to experience some disagreements and difficulties in relationships too, especially when one or both members of the relationship are experiencing stress or struggles with their mental health.

There are many things that can impact on your relationship, but the physical and emotional health of both of the individuals will make a big difference. That’s why it’s important to consider how you’re both feeling personally, and how this is impacting you as a unit.
 

Relationship support workshops

Wellbeing Matters offers 1.5 hour Relationship Support Workshops on a range of topics, including some major themes we know impact on relationships. Exploring how we relate to others can help us forge healthier relationships with everyone around us, whether at home or professionally.

Relationship support workshop - book your place

 

Resources

Whether you’re considering your romantic partner, or your relationships with your colleagues in the office, the themes that impact our relationships with those around us are often similar.

  • Conflict resolution
  • Boundaries
  • Work related stress
  • Loneliness
  • Compassion in relationships

 

Conflict resolution

Conflict, arguments and differences of opinion are a natural and unavoidable part of life. Conflict can help us to grow and help us to understand, clarify and explore different challenging situations in our relationships. While the outcome of conflict can be a deeper understanding and strengthened relationship, it can also lead to difficulties in the relationship.

When you’re in conflict with someone, it is most often based on different perceptions of the facts or situation when the people involved are feeling emotionally heightened. Learning to deal with conflict in a calm way, whether personally or professionally, requires listening, acknowledging, accepting, and communicating assertively and with compassion.

Conflict resolution skills - Assertiveness - Mediation - Empathy - Active listening - accountability - problem solving - facilitation. On lilac background with icons

Here are some resources about conflict resolution you may find helpful.

Short clips

VIDEO: Julie Gottman on What Works in Couples Conflict (3:37)

How Not to Be Defensive in Relationships (5:31)

If you have a bit more time

Brené Brown's Life Advice on Emotions Will Leave You Speechless (4:22)

Esther Perel explains why couples fight | SVT/TV 2/Skavlan (16:24)

 

Boundaries

Boundaries are limits we set for ourselves and other people, that decide how we’re willing to be treated in relationships and how we’re comfortable treating others. Boundaries can be physical, like how or when we want to be touched. Or emotional, like how emotionally intimate we’re willing to be with someone.

Boundaries dictate how much we’re willing to give and take, of ourselves physically and emotionally, or of our financial or physical resources. We use boundaries in relationships all the time, for example, whether your relationship is monogamous. Consider how much you give and take in relationships. Is what you give reasonably balanced with what you get back? If not, it may be time to explore your boundaries.

Close up photo of a painted white boundary line seen through a tennis net on a clay tennis court

Here are some videos looking at boundaries.

Short clips

Healthy Boundaries in Relationships - YouTube (2:10)

Tea and Consent - YouTube (2:49)

If you have a bit more time

5 Reasons To Set Healthy Boundaries with Toxic People - YouTube (6:10)
 

Work related stress

Trying to find a work-life balance is a common struggle. After living through years of a global pandemic, the restrictions around this, constant distressing news stories and the cost of living crisis, stress for many of us is at an all time high. Working in the health and social care system and the innate pressures of this sector mean that many staff are finding themselves tired and stressed.

Working in a challenging environment can reduce your ability to manage stress and to cope with the demands of your work as you normally would. This can be on a spectrum of severity, ranging from difficulty motivating yourself, to more serious burn out or compassion fatigue. Work related stress doesn’t stay at work. It follows us home and impacts our mood and relationships there, too.

Nurse or carer in blue uniform with blond ponytail presses doorbell at flats before visiting a patient

Loneliness

Feeling lonely isn’t always about feeling alone. Most often, it’s about feeling misunderstood, unheard, unimportant, or abandoned. Loneliness is often accompanied by periods of low mood and anxiety too, and it can feel especially difficult to experience loneliness while in a relationship with someone. This can also be difficult for partners to hear or understand.

Often when we’re feeling lonely, what we’re really recognising is that one of our emotional needs isn’t being met. Is there something you need to talk about, something you’re worried about, or someone in particular you’re thinking of that’s bringing up that feeling? Consider which need you may actually want to be soothed by someone else.

Aerial picture from a distance looks down at 12 people scattered across a wide public square - walking in ones or twos but mainly alone
Here are some resources about loneliness.

Short clips

Quit social media by Dr. Cal Newport - TEDx - YouTube (1:12)

If you have a bit more time

The lethality of loneliness: John Cacioppo at TEDxDesMoines - You Tube (18:44)

Loneliness - The Silent Health Crisis - The Feed - YouTube (17:21)
 

Helpful websites for loneliness

mind.org.uk - tips to manage loneliness  

mentalhealth.org.uk - 15 things to do if youre feeling lonely

ageuk.org.uk - how to overcome loneliness

 

Compassion in relationships

From a psychological point of view, compassion is the process of feeling or showing sympathy and concern for others. It involves understanding the suffering of another and wanting to make it better, something which requires emotional intimacy.

While many of us are able to feel compassion for those we love, it can be much harder to find compassion for ourselves and our own experiences. However, this can be an important part of the path towards building strong and authentic relationships with ourselves and those around us.

Two people hugging and looking at lake and mountains - facing away from camera with raincoats on and hoods up - age gender and race unknown

Watch these clips to get a new way of looking at why compassion matters.

Short clips

A short story on kindness - YouTube (3:05)

Being Kinder to Yourself - YouTube (3:09)

If you have a bit more time

Anger, Compassion, and What It Means To Be Strong | Russell Kolts | YouTube (13:00)

Paul Gilbert: How Mindfulness Fosters Compassion - YouTube (22:23)

Brene Brown's Life Advice (11:57, contains ads)

TED Talk: The Power of Vulnerability - Brené Brown (brenebrown.com) 20 mins
 

Useful websites to find out more

Relate | The relationship people

Compassionate Mind

Brené Brown (brenebrown.com)

Esther Perel - Your Guide to Relational Intelligence

The Gottman Institute | A research-based approach to relationships

Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (aft.org.uk)

 

 

Relationship support workshops

If you want to find out more, book a place on our online relationship support workshop. Latest course dates are shown in the booking form.

Relationship Support Workshop - book your place

 

What would you like us to cover in future relationship support workshops? Fill out our short, anonymous survey:

Survey: What do you want to see in our Relationship Support workshops?

 

You may also be interested in

Mental Health First Aid training - learn how to support colleagues 

REACTMH Training - how to have supportive conversations about mental wellbeing

Other ways we support you