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We are all at the centre of a big network of relationships; with family, friends, acquaintances, teachers, pets, partners and all sorts of other people. 

When they are healthy, these relationships help us to thrive. As well as helping us enjoy the good times, they see us through the bad times too, holding us like a safety net when we’re at risk of falling.

What all good relationships have in common is that they are based on respect, trust, and communication. That’s true whether it’s your relationship with your best friend, your teacher or your partner.

Most people have more than one romantic relationship during their life. Going out with different people helps you find out who you are compatible with and what you want from a relationship.

It's also fine not to be in a relationship at all. Lots of people are single and many are single by choice. They aren’t interested in love or romance, and that’s totally fine.

The most important thing, if you do choose to be in a relationship with someone, is that it should be a positive experience. It won't be perfect every day - all relationships go through ups and downs -but it should be fun and help you feel good about yourself.

Brook and Enduring Love?

Enduring Love? was a two year Open University research study which interviewed over 5,000 couples in long-term relationships. The researchers asked the couples about various aspects of their relationships and what made them endure and the results were fascinating. 

Brook teamed up with Professor Jacqui Gabb, who headed up the study, to create the relationships section of the Brook site covering all aspects of relationships, based on the findings of the research. 

This section aims to give advice and information that is based in reality. It is based on what real couples said – rather than the myths and stereotypes we are bombarded with through stories, films and songs about love and romance.

It’s true that relationships often start out with romance. You feel an amazing sense of togetherness, and the differences between you don’t seem to matter. Everything is perfect – it feels quite magical and ‘unreal’ – and in a way it is. 

But for a relationship to last and endure, most couples will need to move from this magical place into a phase where their relationship can survive the reality of everyday life - and the reality of each other.

Page created: February 2016
Next review due: February 2017

The Open University