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Love is one of the most profound emotions known to human beings. There are many kinds of love, but many people seek its expression in a romantic relationship with a compatible partner (or partners). For these individuals, romantic relationships comprise one of the most meaningful aspects of life, and are a source of deep fulfillment.
While need for human connection appears to be innate, the ability to form healthy, loving relationships is learned. Some evidence suggests that the ability to form a stable relationship starts to form in infancy, in a child's earliest experiences with a caregiver who reliably meets the infant's needs for food, care, warmth, protection, stimulation, and social contact. Such relationships are not destiny, but they are theorized to establish deeply ingrained patterns of relating to others. The end of a relationship, however, is often a source of great psychological anguish.
Maintaining a strong relationship requires constant care and communication, and certain traits have been shown to be especially important for fostering healthy relationships. Each individual should, for starters, feel confident that their partner is willing to devote time and attention to the other. They must both also be committed to accommodating their differences, even as those change over time.
In the 21st century, good relationships are generally marked by emotional and physical fairness, particularly in the distribution of chores necessary to maintain a household. Partners in strong relationships also feel grateful for one another, openly provide and receive affection, and engage in honest discussions about sex.
In good relationships, partners try to afford their partner the benefit of the doubt, which creates a sense of being on the same team. This feeling, maintained over the long term, can help couples overcome the challenges they will inevitably face together.
Every relationship represents a leap of faith for at least one partner, and even in the happiest couples, the very traits that once attracted them to each other can eventually become annoyances that drive them apart. Acquiring the skills to make a connection last is hard work, and threats may spring up without notice. In short-term, casual relationships, neither partner may see a truly viable long-term future together, but often only one takes action, in some cases ghosting the other, walking out of their lives with no communication, not even a text.
For some couples, infidelity is both the first and last straw, but a surprising number of relationships survive betrayal, some only to have their connection upended by everyday threats such as a loss of interest in physical intimacy, or a waning of positive feeling in the wake of constant criticism, contempt, or defensiveness. Even staying together for decades is no guarantee that a couple will remain connected: The divorce rate for couples over 50 has doubled since 1990.
Romantic relationships often burn hot at the beginning. While the initial feelings of passion usually lessen in strength over time, feelings of trust, emotional intimacy, and commitment grow stronger.
Open relationships are a form of consensual non-monogamy. While there is a primary emotional and often physical connection between the two people in the relationship, they mutually agree to intimacy with other people outside of the relationship.
Toxic relationships can be stressful, harmful, and even abusive. If you are in a toxic relationship with someone in your life, work on creating strong boundaries to protect yourself. Talk to a mental health professional or consider terminating the relationship if it is causing you harm.
Haupert ML, Gesselman AN, Moors AC, Fisher HE, Garcia JR. Prevalence of experiences with consensual nonmonogamous relationships: Findings from two national samples of single Americans. J Sex Marital Ther. 2017;43(5):424-440. doi:10.1080/0092623X.2016.1178675
1. Avoid Opportunity. In one survey, psychologists at the University of Vermont asked 349 men and women in committed relationships about sexual fantasies. Fully 98 percent of the men and 80 percent of the women reported having imagined a sexual encounter with someone other than their partner at least once in the previous two months. The longer couples were together, the more likely both partners were to report such fantasies.
For years, men have typically had the most opportunities to cheat thanks to long hours at the office, business travel and control over family finances. But today, both men and women spend late hours at the office and travel on business. And even for women who stay home, cellphones, e-mail and instant messaging appear to be allowing them to form more intimate relationships outside of their marriages. As a result, your best chance at fidelity is to limit opportunities that might allow you to stray. Committed men and women avoid situations that could lead to bad decisions -- like hotel bars and late nights with colleagues.
A famous study of cardiovascular health conducted in Framingham, Mass., happened to ask its 4,000 participants what topics were most likely to cause conflict in their relationship. Women said issues involving children, housework and money created the most problems in their relationships. Men said their arguments with their spouse usually focused on sex, money and leisure time. Even though the lists were slightly different, the reality is that men and women really care about the same issues: money, how they spend their time away from work (housework or leisure) and balancing the demands of family life (children and sex).
The scientific analysis of interpersonal relationships involves several branches of the social sciences, e.g. communication, psychology, anthropology, social work, sociology, and mathematics. This scientific analysis had evolved during the 1990s and has become \"relationship science,\" through the researches of Ellen Berscheid and Elaine Hatfield. This interdisciplinary science attempts to provide evidence-based conclusions through the use of data analysis.
Romantic relationships have been defined in countless ways, by writers, philosophers, religions, scientists, and in the modern day, relationship counselors. Two popular definitions of love are Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love and Fisher's theory of love. Sternberg defines love in terms of intimacy, passion, and commitment, which he claims exist in varying levels in different romantic relationships. Fisher defines love as composed of three stages: attraction, romantic love, and attachment. Romantic relationships may exist between two people of any gender, or among a group of people (see polyamory).
While many individuals recognize the single defining quality of a romantic relationship as the presence of love, it is impossible for romantic relationships to survive without the component of interpersonal communication. Within romantic relationships, love is therefore equally difficult to define. Hazan and Shaver define love, using Ainsworth's attachment theory, as comprising proximity, emotional support, self-exploration, and separation distress when parted from the loved one. Other components commonly agreed to be necessary for love are physical attraction, similarity, reciprocity, and self-disclosure.
Early adolescent relationships are characterized by companionship, reciprocity, and sexual experiences. As emerging adults mature, they begin to develop attachment and caring qualities in their relationships, including love, bonding, security, and support for partners. Earlier relationships also tend to be shorter and exhibit greater involvement with social networks. Later relationships are often marked by shrinking social networks, as the couple dedicates more time to each other than to associates. Later relationships also tend to exhibit higher levels of commitment.
Most psychologists and relationship counselors predict a decline of intimacy and passion over time, replaced by a greater emphasis on companionate love (differing from adolescent companionate love in the caring, committed, and partner-focused qualities). However, couple studies have found no decline in intimacy nor in the importance of sex, intimacy, and passionate love to those in longer or later-life relationships. Older people tend to be more satisfied in their relationships, but face greater barriers to entering new relationships than do younger or middle-aged people. Older women in particular face social, demographic, and personal barriers; men aged 65 and older are nearly twice as likely as women to be married, and widowers are nearly three times as likely to be dating 18 months following their partner's loss compared to widows. 59ce067264