Relationships are the cornerstone of a healthy life. They add meaning to our lives, motivate us to take risks, and provide a supportive safety net when we fall. They also give us fuel to pursue our dreams and ambitions, knowing that we have a ride or die in our partner who will cheer us on even when things go wrong.
Relationships can be romantic, platonic, intimate, or non-intimate. Generally, when people talk about being in a relationship, they mean a relationship that involves emotional and/or physical intimacy, some level of ongoing commitment, and monogamy or ethical nonmonogamy. But relationships can be many different things, and the terms we use to describe them can change over time.
The definition of a relationship can vary, and may be defined by your cultural context or beliefs. For example, some people consider all friends to be part of their “relationship network,” whereas others may only see significant other and family members as their true romantic partners.
A romantic relationship is a close, mutually-defined, intimate, non-exclusive association between two people who are in a sexual or romantic arrangement. It can be casual, formal, open, or monogamous, and it may include other types of relations such as familial, friendships, or business partnerships.
Regardless of the nature of your relationship, there are certain characteristics that all healthy relationships share. For starters, a balanced relationship is one in which each person gives and receives the amount of love, attention, affection, and energy they need. A balanced relationship also includes respect for each person’s unique interests, hobbies, and goals. This may be as simple as allowing your partner to spend time on their own hobbies without feeling jealous or being upset that they want to watch their favorite shows alone instead of spending the evening with you.
Additionally, a balanced relationship is one in which the couple respects each other’s privacy and personal space. This can be as simple as being respectful of each other’s time and not attempting to intrude on each other’s personal space, or it can be more complicated, such as avoiding the temptation to text each other every minute or being considerate when visiting each other’s families.
Finally, a balanced relationship is one in which both people are willing to compromise. This can be as simple as accepting that you will both sometimes disagree on something, or it can be more complex, such as deciding when to put a disagreement aside in favor of pursuing your shared goals. Lastly, it is important to be willing to apologize when you make a mistake or hurt your partner.