Life & Style | Relationships

Maintaining healthy relationships

Clinical psychologist Dr Saliha Afridi says the key to contentment is having solid bonds with your partner, family and friends. She shares her golden rules.

  • By Louisa Wilkins, Features Writer, Aquarius
  • Published: 00:06 August 1, 2010
  • Aquarius

  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Clinical psychologist Dr Saliha Afridi

Invest time

"People can become passive about their relationships. They think that just because they have a relationship, they do not have to invest into it anymore. If you want your relationship to grow then you must spend time with that person. Don't take a relationship for granted. Just because you are in a relationship, doesn't necessarily mean you have a bond or connection."

Circle of trust

"Having a large family is not the same as having strong relationships with a large family. Life can be very lonely if you do not have safe and loving relationships - build a strong inner circle of family and friends with whom you can be yourself, expose yourself and discover yourself."

Be positive

"Encouragement is a crucial ingredient in healthy relationships. If we are critical of others - co-workers, children, employees, family members - we discourage them and it weakens the relationship. But at the same time it is important to talk about things that are bothering you. Find healthy, responsible and assertive ways of communicating with others."

Start over

"Forgiveness is such an important skill and leads to a healthier self and healthier relationships. Reflect on why you want a person in your life, know that forgiving does not mean that you will go back to trusting them again quickly, or that you are condoning what they did - it just means that you are able to move on."

Evolve together

"Just because you have a connection now, does not necessarily mean that your connection will maintain itself. People change over time - what they want out of life and what they aspire to. To maintain a healthy relationship throughout these changes, you have to find new ways of re-connecting."

Think long-term

"A strong relationship is not free of pain and is not based on a pass or fail system. When faced with difficult times, be accepting and see things on a continuum. Every relationship goes through ups and downs, but a strong relationship goes through the difficult times, rather than ending them or walking away."

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