What Are Relationships?

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Relationships are interactions between two people. These interactions can be romantic or platonic, and they may exist in-person or virtually. While there’s no clear definition of a meaningful relationship, some common characteristics include thoughtfulness, kindness, openness, and intention.

When you’re in a healthy, loving relationship, it triggers certain areas of your brain that make you feel happy. Research shows that this happiness can be contagious, and it makes others around you happy as well. Being in a loving and supportive relationship also makes you more confident and self-assured. This can help you take more risks and pursue your dreams.

A romantic relationship usually involves emotional and physical intimacy, some level of commitment, and monogamy (i.e., not having romantic or sexual relationships with anyone else). This can come in many forms, including marriage, civil unions, casual dating, and ethical nonmonogamy.

In a healthy, loving relationship, both partners treat each other as equals. This includes listening to each other, respecting each other’s boundaries and interests, and working collaboratively as a team. It also means communicating effectively to avoid misunderstandings.

When you’re in a loving, supportive relationship, you can use your partner as a support system when you need it. They can help you work through problems, provide feedback, and help you find solutions that are good for both of you. They can also encourage those parts of your personality that are often hidden or underdeveloped. For example, if you tend to be shy and introverted, they can help you become more outgoing and adventurous.