Have you ever felt that celebrating your achievement with your lover/spouse was more satisfying than sharing it alone?
Or, in trying times, pouring your heart out in front of your mum or pa helps you feel lighter?
Or welcoming the change at work became easier because you forged a friendly bond with your colleagues?
Or perhaps just having a tete-a-tete with your best friend made your ordinarily downcast mood better for no apparent reason?
A life devoid of emotions and companions appears to be completely lifeless. Having serious, trustworthy connections allows us to be our authentic selves. Relationships are a crucial aspect of our lives, from boosting our emotional well-being to generating stability to having someone to lean on and trust in times of need and vent to in times of hardship.
We are all born with emotions. Our natural self yearns for social connections, the cornerstone of developing relationships. Relationships, whether romantic, friendship, or family, are crucial for happiness and living a full life.
Thanks to technology, staying in touch and maintaining good relationships have become incredibly easy nowadays. All you need is an intention to value it and keep it going.
What is a Relationship?
A relationship is a bond between two people. Technically, it is the state of two or more people being connected by blood, feelings, or some other alliance and how they behave.
Relationships offer emotional safety, fulfillment, and a sense of belonging that eventually aids in human emotional development.
We are inherently endowed with our family relationships, we don’t choose them. Besides our family, we choose people to be a part of our life based on our interaction with them and how we feel around them, whether they are our life partners, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or acquaintances.
We enter into a broad range of partnerships. Each one is unique in its way, and none of them require any level of physical intimacy, emotional attachment, or commitment to be considered to “be in a relationship.”
Our furry friend whom we can tightly cuddle to forget all our worries or Someone we say “Hi” to every day on the way to work and a wide range of people we don’t realize but we have built a relationship with them.
To a larger extent, the quality of our life is determined by our relationships because we all are designed to be a part of a highly interconnected social-ecosystem. Whatever their nature, relationships are essential for your physical and emotional well-being.
Different Types of Relationships Between Humans
There are many types of relationships that we have in a lifetime. Let’s take a look.
A. Based on ‘who you are in a relationship with,’ relationships can be :
1. Family Relationships
They say, “In times of tests, family is the best.”
We can describe a family as a unit of members related to one another by birth (consanguinity), marriage or adoption (affinity), and living together.
Our parents, siblings, spouse, and children constitute an immediate family, and our grandparents, uncle and aunts, cousins, and other closely related kin are extended family.
Families ideally provide stability, order, and safety as members grow up and learn to contribute to their communities. It ensures communicating, caring for one another, overcoming obstacles, continuing family traditions, and creating a sense of belonging for each member.
Families are the fundamental social groups. Healthy families will enable their children to build stronger ties outside of the house.
It would be accurate to state that family is where we learn the fundamentals of relationships and life lessons.
2. Friends Relationship
Friendships are crucial bonds that people maintain throughout their lives. In a sense, having friends enables us to delegate some of the emotional stresses of daily life.
Friendship is a relationship that is free from any obligation and societal norms. The logistical support and good association we receive from friends reduce stress and make life easier.
Friends are important nodes in a personal network, according to the current study. Friendships boost an individual’s life satisfaction by offering companionship (along with more social trust and less stress).
The positive correlation of friendship with life satisfaction is a powerful indicator of how this relationship is essential for one’s emotional well-being.
3. Romantic Relationships
Of course, this relationship has romance in it. Love and attraction for another individual are traits that define romantic relationships.
According to Sternberg’s triangular theory of love (Sternberg, 1986, 1988), Intimacy, passion, and decision/commitment are the three different aspects of love.
In loving relationships, intimacy refers to feelings of closeness, connection, and affinity.
Passion describes the emotions that lead to romance, sexual desire, physical attraction, and other related behaviors that characterize committed relationships.
The decision/commitment refers to the decision and commitment to uphold that love and nurture the relationship.
A couple may be in one of seven types of relationships (Infatuation, Friendship, Empty love, Romantic love, Fatuous love, Companionate love, or Consummate love), depending on which of these three factors is present.
As per Sternberg’s theory, a romantic relationship is a combination of passion and intimacy.
Here are some of the most common fundamental kinds of romantic relationships:
a. Casual Relationship
Casual relationships frequently involve dating interactions that may include sexual activity, with no expectations of monogamy or commitment.
Adolescents and emerging adults frequently engage in casual partnerships.
Research suggests that situations like one-night stands, booty calls, being sex buddies, or friends-with-benefits characterize this type of relationship.
Young adults find casual relationships enticing as these types of relationships lack commitment, communication, and accountability, according to sexual and reproductive health researcher Anabelle Bernard.
The objective and boundaries to remaining in casual relationships are apparent between the partners. However, personal and social engagement levels can further lead to long-term emotionally committed relationships.
b. Open Relationship
An open relationship is one where one or both partners are not monogamous and have additional romantic or sexual partners.
Both partners acknowledge that they may engage in sexual activity with other individuals.
Monogamy is a sexual or emotional (usually both) relationship with only one partner at a time, rather than multiple partners.
Exclusivity in the relationship is the main characteristic of this type of relationship.
This relationship can also be termed a Marriage, Matrimony, Partnership, or Long-term.
Monogamy is encouraged by many religions and is occasionally mandated. Researchers have found a monogamy gene associated with monogamous behaviors.
Polygamy is a partnership where a person typically marries more than one partner. It involves many marriages or spouses that are recognized by law or culture.
Around the world, diverse societies support, accept, or forbid polygamy to varying degrees.
Often, polygamy is confused with the term polyamory. Polyamory is having intimate relationships with multiple partners at the same time. It might or might not include marriage. While in polygamy, one person is married to multiple partners.
The only similarity is that polygamy and polyamory are non-monogamous relationship structures.
Situationships are relationships that don’t have a name; they’re more intimate than friendships but not quite relationships. It’s a relationship without commitment.
When the relationship is undefined, lacks consistency, responsibility, and deep emotional connection, and is more convenience based, it falls under situations.
A situationship can give an enjoyable, stress-free opportunity to experience relationship benefits without making a significant emotional commitment. But in the longer run, it can be stressful due to a lack of stability and your identity as a partner.
4. Professional or Work-Based Relationships
These relationships exist between two or more individuals working in a professional setting.
These relationships are typically more formal than those outside the workplace.
This professional relationship, founded on trust, understanding, respect, formal etiquette, and communication, can be maintained with co-workers, colleagues, mentors, managers, or clients working within a company or organization.
An Acquaintance is a form of casual connection, less intimate than a friend. This is a relationship we have with people whom we meet in our daily life.
Say, David, I meet him daily on my route to Paddington, and we are “Hello Buddies.” He is not a stranger to me but also not in my circle of close friends and family.
Acquaintances give us access to a wider range of social networks than our intimate friends and families, who frequently have similar networks. We do not know folks that they do. Relationships that begin as acquaintances occasionally develop into friendships when you get to know them better and see them more regularly.
This kind of relationship is crucial as connecting to a larger community is a requisite in urban existence.
Having a relationship with fleeting contact in public frequently reflects a society’s moral character and health.
B. Addressing different facets of human relationships requires understanding personality traits and individual variances. Based on the nature and behavior of individuals in a relationship, relationship counselor and expert Robert Taibbi identifies the following types of relationships
- Accepting-Balanced: This is an ideal relationship situation where partners are supportive of each others’ goals and aspirations. They recognize each other’s accomplishments and work as a team. When a relationship becomes monotonous, they know how to revive it.
- Competitive-Controlling: This relationship between two strong personalities competing for power and attention. Instead of being a team, they tend to win an argument and try to be superior to the other.
- Passive-Active: One partner is more active while the other takes a passive one. These characteristics work well together but are difficult to endure in the longer run. Over time, an active or passive spouse may grow weary and burned out of the apparent drama and/or feel in control.
- Aggressive-accommodating: One partner is aggressive and intimidating while the other stays accommodation out of fear more than passivity. This type of relationship might be characterized by emotional or physical abuse.
- Disconnecting-Parallel: The partners lack emotional connection skills and find ways to avoid closeness. They emphasize their respective routines. They are together but lead disconnected parallel lives.
Impact of Relationships on Health
The quality of relationships covers both positive and negative qualities. While emotional support from our significant other boosts our mood, immune system, and neurological system, conflict and stress emanating from strained and unhealthy relationships lead to risky health conditions.
The bright side of relationships
The benefits of social and romantic relationships on health are varied and many. People who spend more time together create happier, more productive societies.
Solid scientific evidence shows that social relationships affect various health outcomes, including mental health, physical health, health habits, and mortality risk.
Scientific data support the following premises on social connections and health:
Social connections significantly impact health. Social connections influence mortality risk, physical and emotional well-being, and health-related activities.
Over ten years, Berkman and Breslow’s prospective study in Alameda County found that greater overall involvement with formal (e.g., religious groups) and informal (e.g., friends and relatives) relationships were related to more beneficial health behaviors.
In a research study, Umberson and fellow researchers found out that relationships partially affect our health behaviors because of the control or influence partners(s) have on our health behaviors. For instance, a spouse may monitor, prevent, control, or enable healthy behavior in ways that benefit a partner, such as exercise, a healthy diet, and following medical regimens.
Cohen and fellow researchers in their study found that social support may indirectly impact health by improving mental health, lessening the impact of stress, or cultivating a feeling of meaning and purpose in life.
Research findings support that relationships determine health outcomes throughout life. Relationships have immediate (mental health, health behaviors) and long-term, cumulative effects on health (e.g., physical health, mortality).
Emotionally supportive childhood environments enhance the healthy development of regulatory systems. The immunological, metabolic, and autonomic nervous systems and hypothalamic activity demonstrate favorable development with long-term benefits for adult health.
The Dark Side of Relationships
Overworked, strained, conflicted, or abusive relationships can be detrimental to health.
While social relationships are most people’s primary source of emotional support, they may also be tremendously stressful.
Marriage is many people’s most visible source of support and stress. Low marital quality has been linked to impaired immunological and endocrine function and depression.
According to sociological studies, marital stress degrades physical health, and the detrimental effect of marital stress on health worsens with age.
A prospective finding states that there is a tendency to engage in specific risky health behaviors in reaction to stress due to unhealthy relationships.
For example, stress is linked to increased alcohol consumption in adolescence and weight gain in middle age.
Relationships with risk-taking peers lead to additional unanticipated negative health impacts, such as increased alcohol consumption. Or having an obese spouse or friend increases the risk of personal obesity.
The costs and benefits of social ties are not fairly spread throughout the population. Middle-aged persons, particularly women, frequently have extraordinarily high caregiving obligations as they balance raising children, caring for spouses, and caring for aging parents.
Key Factors in Maintaining Relationships
Though they seem simple, relationships are, by nature, complicated. The length of a relationship is determined by many factors, including timing, lifestyle, desires, sexual compatibility, personalities, and many others.
On the other hand, nurturing a connection is analogous to growing plants in your garden. It needs a specific amount of nutrients to blossom into a lovely connection.
Here are the 5 keys to unlocking lifetime subscription to healthy and satisfying relationships
- Communication: Communication is always the simplest key. Only effective communication can provide clarity to any misunderstanding and resolve conflict. Be an excellent listener, and make sure you’re being heard. Open communication fosters understanding, which is essential for maintaining the health of a relationship.
- Respect: Give Respect to earn respect. Respecting each other’s emotions and physical and emotional needs is the fundamental building block of any relationship. A relationship might deteriorate when a person’s feelings or needs are ignored or not respected.
- Trust: Have each other’s back. Keep your promises and be trustworthy. Be the person who does what she says.
- A balance of Heart and Brain: Know when to listen to the heart and when to heed your brain. Sometimes stepping back is necessary as moving forward. Don’t let emotions control you; don’t be so practical that you disregard your sentiments. It takes the brain to understand the psychology of a relationship and the heart to nurture it.
- Set Boundaries: Never forget the ‘You’ in a relationship. Self-respect and self-worth will remind you to hold yourself to your standards. Setting Limits to letting others (s) in a relationship know what you truly expect from them is equally important.
Relationship with Self
The most important relationship is with yourself because your interactions and behavior with others reflect it.
If you don’t have a healthy connection with yourself, you can’t have a healthy relationship with anyone else.
Research shows growing self-awareness and acceptance influence the development of personal habits, and attitudes and affects the individual’s health preservation and enhancement-based behavior. This ultimately leads to positive changes in one’s relationship with oneself and others. A healthy relationship necessitates a solid foundation, which can only be provided if you are content.
They say,” You can’t pour from the empty cup.” Taking care of yourself is building a healthy relationship with yourself. It is the prerequisite to building healthy relationships with others.
So remember to nurture yourself, live a healthy lifestyle, and embrace yourself for who you are. First and foremost, make yourself happy!
Relationships will come and go throughout your life. There will be enduring friendships and romantic relationships that change your life. Of course, poisonous settings, traumatic breakups, and grieving following a friend’s loss of contact will also occur. These connections help you learn more about your identity and strong, occasionally elusive love.
You can experience new things and broaden your horizons by making new relationships.
Don’t forget to keep up your time with your friends and family. These connections are also crucial. Build a support system while taking care of your relationship with yourself. Value the relationships in your life as they inspire you to love and be your best self, even on your darkest days.