What Makes a Good Relationship?

Even the best of relationships can flag at times – routine, tiredness, stress, resentments – all take their toll.  There can be complex issues between couples which need exploring and resolving and it is important to address these.   However, based on research and years of experience, it seems that three basic things can help make a good relationship.


We think we communicate but we don’t, not properly.  Anger, irritability, frustration, insecurity – can lead to arguments, nagging and general unpleasantness. Or, our communication can just become dull, only talking about daily chores and ‘administration’ type issues.  Resentments can build up and then it can be very hard to discuss things in a calm, non-judgemental way.

Also, we often fall into the trap of making assumptions about the motivation, thoughts and feelings of our partner

“He doesn’t hug me so he doesn’t love me”

“She constantly has digs at me, she doesn’t like me any more”

There can be lots of reasons for peoples’ behaviour and reactions, so even when you have been with someone for years, it is important to check it out - usually when we make assumptions they are negative ones.  A good therapist will guide you with some very simple communication techniques which can help get the two of you talking, and listening, again.


There is a lot of sound psychological research which demonstrates that having fun together is so important in the quality of a relationship.  The demands of day to day life, the pressure to be ‘grown up’, those adult/parental roles we have to take on board, take their toll.  Relationships can become a battle ground, where we take our stresses out on each other.  Simple pleasures, done together, help ease the strain and create bonding chemicals between partners.  This can help rejuvenate relationships and remind you of how you used to enjoy each other before everything else got in the way. 


Touch is so important, done in the right way it creates chemicals such as serotonin and oxytocin which make us feel good.  Hugs, kisses, cuddles and sex can all contribute to improving how we feel and how we cope with day to day life.

What’s great about a relationship is having someone who really cares, who wants to contribute to your life, who considers your best interests.  Sometimes, if we are struggling with things, we can become insular and either forget, or resist, being affectionate with each other.

A therapist can help you to slowly, at your own pace, re-introduce touch into your relationship and you will soon begin to feel the benefit of giving and receiving affection.  Over 50% of people in the UK report experiencing sexual difficulties in their relationship – a qualified sex therapist can help you explore the reasons why and help you re-build your sex life together.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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