Relationships 101

Relationships encompass a massive range of human connections. There are family relationships, friendships, acquaintanceships, and romantic bonds. Each type of relationship requires its own set of skills to maintain and nurture, which is why people often struggle with the word. In this article, we’ll discuss some tips to help you navigate the many types of relationships that exist in the world.

The Biological Foundations of Relationships

Our brains are wired to bond with other humans. When we meet someone, our brains release oxytocin and vasopressin, which create that “we’re in this together” feeling of attachment. Over time, this bonding increases as we interact with our partners and become more attached to them. This is why it’s important to be transparent about your needs and desires with your partner in order to create a healthy bond.

When it comes to romantic relationships, the most common definition is a close emotional connection between two people that may or may not involve physical intimacy and feelings of love. However, this is just one piece of the puzzle that goes into creating a meaningful and fulfilling romantic relationship. Other factors include communication, trust, respect, and compromise.

The benefits of relationships

It’s no secret that a positive relationship is good for you—both mentally and physically. A healthy, long-term relationship can reduce stress levels, boost self-esteem, and help you achieve your goals. Relationships also give you a safe space to try new things and chase your dreams, knowing that you have someone cheering you on from the sidelines.

Getting into a relationship isn’t always easy, and it can be difficult to determine if you are in a happy, healthy one. However, it’s important to not throw in the towel prematurely if you encounter some rough patches—especially if the problems aren’t major red flags like cheating or abuse.

The psychology of relationships

Psychologists have been studying the psychology of relationships for years, trying to figure out what makes them work and why some fail. While some of the findings are complex, there are some basic principles that most of us can understand.

A couple of examples of the more nuanced types of relationships are casual acquaintances and intimate friends. Casual acquaintances are people we might meet by chance and hang out with from time to time based on our shared interests or schedule. While they can be valuable for fostering social connectedness, casual acquaintances are not particularly deep or emotionally meaningful.

Intimate friends, on the other hand, are people with whom we spend more time and have more in-depth conversations. These are the people you trust to listen to your deepest secrets, and they will be there for you when you need them. This type of relationship requires a lot of time and effort to maintain, but it is usually a rewarding experience. This type of relationship can also be difficult to balance with other obligations, such as work and children. Therefore, it’s important to make time for each other in the form of dates and regular couple time.