How Relationships Are Defined

Whether they’re dating, married, in a long-term commitment, or simply living together, many people enjoy the comfort of having a stable relationship. Having close ties to others can add years to life, improve your mental health, and help you cope with stress. Having healthy relationships can also make work, school, and other obligations easier to manage.

Relationships can take on a variety of forms, but are typically defined by emotional and physical intimacy, ongoing commitment, and monogamy (though there are exceptions, such as ethical nonmonogamy). The definition of relationships has evolved over time; it was once more common to talk about premarital or marital status, while now the lines are increasingly blurry between casual relationships, platonic friendships, or committed relationships of any kind.

The most common form of a relationship is a romantic one, with some level of monogamy and emotional intimacy. In romantic relationships, it’s important to communicate openly and honestly, especially about sex and intimacy. This can help prevent misunderstandings and build trust.

Being in a committed relationship is often seen as a mark of success. A person in a committed relationship has someone they can lean on, someone to share their struggles with, and someone who isn’t afraid to go through difficult times together. Being in a committed relationship can reduce loneliness, which is linked to depression and anxiety. It can also improve overall mental and physical health by lowering stress levels, providing restful sleep, improving nutrition, and boosting productivity.

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