Worth Living Ambassador Haddi Browne
Hello, my name is Haddi. I am a Research professional and a Psychology graduate. During my course, I volunteered within various mental health services, which included working on a helpline for people affected by mental illness, organising activities for inpatients on a psychiatric ward, and working in a therapeutic community for people with severe mental illnesses. For me, the most interesting parts of my degree were learning about different mental illnesses and their causes and treatments.
Relationships are one of the most important aspects of our everyday lives and are central to our wellbeing. Research carried out by Mind and the largest provider of relationship support, Relate, found that:
Mental health problems can put a substantial strain on romantic relationships. Three in five people with mental health problems said it caused partnerships to break-up in the past. Four in five people said that it had affected their sex life.
There are unique benefits of close relationships for people with mental health problems and open communication is vital. Anyone finding their relationship hard to manage should seek appropriate support and advice.
60% of people surveyed thought that being in a relationship has had a positive impact on their mental health.
If you are experiencing difficulties relating to mental health problems in a relationship, find out more about managing your mental health or a loved one’s mental health by visiting the information and support pages of the Mind website. To get tips on coping with your mental health in a relationship, visit Relate’s website.
Here are some tips from Psychology Today on fostering a deep and loving relationship:
Kind, constant, and honest communication. Without talking, your relationship will not survive. The more you communicate, the closer you will be.
The willingness to work through difficulties and disagreements. Throwing in the towel, even if you don’t walk out the door, is not the path to happiness. You must face the discomfort that comes with differing opinions and ideas.
A sense of humour, some fun, and a bit of distraction from the rigors of daily life. You can’t spend all your free time “working” on your relationship—don’t make it a hobby. Discuss what you like to do, where you’d like to go, and how you both like to have fun. Then go do it.
Sharing life lessons with the one you love. When you discover something about life, or you make a self-correcting move that is healthy for your relationship, let your partner know. You’ll be surprised by the positive response.
Emotional support, validation, and compliments. If you don’t feel that you partner likes and respects you, there will not be a strong connection. You have to lift each other up and let each other know the depth of your caring.
Love, intimacy, romance, and sex. These are the cornerstones of a loving relationship. Being great roommates just won’t cut it. There has to be the desire to be together as a couple. You may think the spark has gone, but there are too many ways to rekindle it. All you have to do is try.
Sharing goals and dreams that resonate with both of you. We are happier when we are working toward a goal than when we have achieved one. Make sure you always have something to look forward to and that you are pursuing it as a couple.
Compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness. These will show you the way through a difficult time. If you are together for a while, there will be losses, challenges, and some things that you just can’t fix. Weathering the storms together is a big part of what relationships are all about.
A mutual desire to step outside the box. The tried-and-true is good, but the never- attempted-before may be better. Couples who share new experiences together develop a stronger bond.
Being able to admit mistakes and to talk about them. We all screw up. Learning to understand and let go of mistakes that you or your partner make will turn your life around and give you more time for joy.
Just as we need to breathe to survive, your love needs a breath of fresh air to flourish. Giving your relationship what it needs to thrive is a truly loving gesture.