A relationship is a connection between two people that may be casual, romantic, or committed. It may involve a mutual dependency (emotional, physical, or financial) and frequent communication.
Love is a powerful force in relationships. It can drive you to put your partner’s happiness above your own and to do anything for them. In some cases, it can be the glue that keeps a couple together through hardship and disappointment. But the nature of love varies from person to person, and some people aren’t willing to make the sacrifices it takes for a relationship to work.
Committed relationships often require exclusivity and commitment, which can be formalized through marriage or a nonmonogamy agreement. Other couples prefer to keep their relationships casual and short-term, while still regularly spending time together and engaging in romantic or sexual activities.
Healthy relationships include open and honest communication, respect, and trust. It’s important to be able to recognize your partner’s nonverbal cues and “body language” to understand their emotional state and what they need from the relationship. It’s also helpful to have a good understanding of the importance of touch, which promotes bonding and increases the release of oxytocin. Frequent, affectionate touching like holding hands or kissing can boost feelings of intimacy and satisfaction.
Despite the many benefits of being in a relationship, it can be challenging to identify when one is meaningful. There’s no set checklist to determine whether a relationship is right for you, but some indicators can help.