A relationship is any kind of association or connection between people. It can be romantic, platonic, positive or negative. Often, when people use the term “relationship,” they mean a romantic connection that involves emotional and physical intimacy and some level of ongoing commitment. This can include a formal marriage, a civil union, casual dating, or ethical nonmonogamy.
In a healthy relationship, both partners give and take equally. This balance can look different for each person, depending on their individual needs and goals. For example, some people value freedom more than bondage in a relationship, while others may want to make sure they spend enough time together each week to feel connected and valued.
When someone is in a loving relationship, they strive to be their best self and encourage their partner to do the same. This can mean supporting their partner in eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding drugs or alcohol. Healthy relationships also help people find meaning in their lives. Research suggests that having close relationships can add years to a person’s life.
Intimacy in a relationship often refers to sex, but it can also be non-sexual activities such as touching, kissing, cuddling, and talking. Intimacy is important for people in romantic relationships, and it is possible to have a happy and healthy relationship even without sex. Regardless of the type of intimacy, a healthy relationship is built on respect, trust, and open communication. They also support each other’s interests and work as a team.