A relationship usually expresses the bond and intimacy between two (or sometimes more) people. The understanding of intimacy is different in every relationship.

There is no general definition of a good relationship.

People can have different kinds of relationships and ways of living. For example:

A relationship can be a combination of these kinds of relationships and ways of living and can develop from one kind of relationship to another.

You can choose which kind of relationship is best for you. If you are in a relationship, you and your partner can talk to each other about your feelings and expectations. Look together to find what suits you both.

Love and sex in a relationship

Some relationships are based on love between both partners, other relationships are not. In some cases love can grow in a relationship. The feeling of love can also change over time.

A relationship can be sexual, but it does not have to be. You and your partner decide if, when and how you have sex. Forcing someone to have sex in a relationship is called partner violence. It is forbidden by law.

If you have unprotected sex with various partners, you may have an increased risk of STIs. Use a condom to protect yourself and your partner.

Making a relationship work

Relationships can change over time. Talking to each other is often important in a relationship. Most often it is also necessary to invest time and energy in your relationship to make it work.

Finding things you have in common often helps both partners to feel positive about the relationship.

People can also have difficulties or problems in their relationship. Solving a problem together can make you feel closer to each other. Ask for professional help if you cannot solve it together. Sometimes the problems cannot be solved, and the relationship ends.

More information or help needed?

CAW - Centrum Algemeen Welzijn
Centre for general well-being - Help with all kinds of issues: a difficult relationship, medical, financial, administrative, legal or material problems, family problems,... CAWs also provide assistance to victims of violence and abuse. Find a CAW in your neighbourhood:
Family doctor
You can talk to a family doctor about almost every intimate issue. If necessary the family doctor can refer you to a specialised health professional. Find a family doctor in your neighbourhood:
Wijkgezondheidscentrum
You can visit a family doctor in a community health centre. Other care professionals such as nurses and social workers also work at community health centres. Care is provided free of charge. Find a community health centre in your neighbourhood:
More health professionals

Dictionary and translations