Every one of us is part of many relationships in our lives. We cannot escape them. Some relationships are brief and simple while others are lasting and complex. Each one is a connection between two people in which they affect each other. If we and the other person are present and respectful for each other, relationships work. They can be enjoyable journeys during which both parties grow. This is true for romantic partners, parents and children, friends, coworkers and so on. Our own health and the health of our relationships influence each other; if we’re healthy our relationships will likely be healthy and if our relationships are healthy we’ll likely be healthy. It is a mark of maturity when we are able to take care of ourselves fairly well and are available to care for others who are also putting effort into taking care of themselves.

The trouble is it’s easy for relationships to become complicated.

On our own, we are complicated beings and when we are in a relationship with someone else, the situation is doubly complicated. Each person brings needs and wants to the relationship and these factors may not always line up. Conflict occurs when one or both parties are not getting what they need from the relationship. When tension comes up and perhaps builds, it gets increasingly harder to communicate. Emotions come up and we may not treat each other with the respect that we all deserve. Sometimes relationships can be damaged. Sometimes they break apart. There are sometimes relationships that are better to end than to continue.

However there is almost always hope for relationships. If both people want to be with and care for the other person, then the motivation is in place to repair whatever damage may have occurred. This will take effort and consistency, but repair is possible. Often this entails each individual doing work towards growing on their own while also learning a kind way of communicating and treating the other person. For some relationships, having an outside person help this process along is helpful. A counsellor can act as a middle person to hear everyone out and make sure that the relationship is proceeding fairly. A counsellor can provide new perspectives and offer new skills to ensure that the repair happens. Outdated patterns will be changed into new ones that work for everyone.