A relationship is a close association between two people, especially one that involves emotional and physical intimacy. There are many different types of relationships, including family relationships, friendships, acquaintanceships, and romantic relationships. Many of these types of relationships can overlap and intersect with one another, and they can be formal or informal.

A healthy relationship requires trust. You must be able to trust your partner not to cheat on you or hurt you emotionally or physically, and you must also be able to trust them with your feelings. Trust isn’t something that comes easily, but if you find yourself in a relationship where trust is lacking, it might be time to consider moving on.

Another important aspect of a healthy relationship is effective communication. You and your partner should be able to discuss your needs and wants openly, without judgement or blame. This includes being able to talk about difficult subjects, like sex and intimacy. Effective communication is also key to resolving conflict. Some couples prefer to communicate quietly, while others enjoy raising their voices and passionately discussing their differences.

In addition to being a source of support, loving relationships can also be a catalyst for personal growth. For example, if your spouse or significant other encourages you to adopt healthy habits like exercising and eating well, it can be easier to follow through on these changes. Additionally, having a supportive network can help you cope with stress and depression.

Although it is true that some people thrive on being alone, research shows that having close friends and a strong social life can add years to your life. People who are surrounded by supportive, loving relationships tend to be happier and more resilient in the face of hardships. Relationships can also give you a sense of purpose and meaning in your life, which is an important part of mental health.

People in healthy relationships are aware of the impact their behavior has on their partner, and they strive to be respectful and considerate of their needs. They make it a point to regularly spend time together, to remember details about each other’s lives, and to work as a team. They are genuinely interested in what their partner has to say and try not to criticize or judge them.

A relationship can be monogamous, nonmonogamy, casual, committed, or polyamorous. Committed relationships may include marriage or other formal agreements, while casual relationships are usually more short-term and nonexclusive. Regardless of the type of relationship, it is generally considered to be serious if the couple plans on spending a substantial amount of time and energy together. They may also share finances, living space, and personal belongings. This commitment can be mutual or unilateral.