Family or intimate relationships with a partner – can be a great source of love, pleasure, support and excitement. However they can also be a source of grief and anguish if they go wrong.

Research into what makes relationships work successfully – whether family relationships, friendships or partnerships – tend to come up with the same few things:-

Acceptance of difference

People in successful relationships do not try to force the others to be exactly like them; they work to accept difference even when this difference is profound.

Capacity for boundaries

People are aware that there is a point where they stop and the other person begins. Sadly, it is unrealistic to expect others to solve all our problems or meet all our need – even though we may hope for this at times.

Operating mainly in the present

Once relationships either focus on repeatedly picking over past events, or else are based only on the hope that things will be better tomorrow, they tend to go off the rails.

Respect for individual choice

It is accepted that each person has the right to decide their own direction in life, the relationship then adapts to follow this.

Skill in negotiating

Once each individual has decided what they want, the couple or family are able to work out a way to fulfil these different goals without anyone having to compromise totally.