The word ‘relationship’ induces a mental image of two people living they’re happily ever after, romantically but the different types of relationships make it a much broader concept than that mental image.
The popular term ‘relationship’ has many facets, and not all are identical. Therefore, you can say that the answer to ‘what is a relationship’ varies from person to person.
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What is a Relationship?
A relationship is a connection between two or more people. It can be platonic, romantic, rivalry, familial, professional, etc. The link can be anything stretching from a brother-sister or teacher-student relationship to a girlfriend-boyfriend or landlord-tenant relationship.
Meanwhile, a romantic relationship is defined as a connection that encompasses physical [sexual] and emotional intimacy.
The phrase ‘in a relationship’ means ‘in a romantic, monogamous relationship,’ i.e., the partners have decided to be sexually and emotionally exclusive towards one another and not have other partners.
Types of Romantic Relationships
The idea of ‘what is a romantic relationship’ is, for many people, limited to two people being in a sexually and emotionally intimate companionship. Although that is a type of romantic partnership, it hardly covers all grounds. To understand that better, here’s a breakdown of the different types of companionship.
Dating is more like a starting phase in a relationship where two individuals are getting to know each other physically and emotionally. It is the period in which the partners can either figure out what kind of relationship they want to have in the future and set the foundations for it or think of the present and have fun in each other’s company without any future obligations.
While the term dating is commonly used to refer to a stable, monogamous relationship, some people use it to label their relationship as the ‘getting to know each other’ phase.
This is the most common of all types of relationships. In a committed relationship, the partners have moved past the beginning dating phase. They have agreed to spend time engaging in intimate activities together to develop and strengthen their relationship for the foreseeable future. People in committed relationships might refer to their partner as ‘boyfriend,’ ‘girlfriend,’ or ‘partner.’
Committed relationships are known to last longer because of the efforts and trust between both partners.
A casual relationship takes place when both the partners have agreed upon being in a romantic relationship with each other for the time being without any hardcore plans to continue the relationship for a longer duration of time. In this romantic partnership, two people regularly spend time together without assuming the relationship’s future.
These relationships are, more often than not, short-lived.
This relationship is a ‘no strings attached’ partnership where the couple has settled upon spending time together for sex and sex only. Like in a casual relationship, the partners might be attracted to one another. Still, they are not interested in an intimate relationship due to a lack of emotional depth in this relationship.
The partners don’t refer to one another as ‘boyfriend,’ ‘girlfriend,’ or ‘partner’ as they don’t feel emotionally attached. This relationship may be short-lived and can also be called friends with benefits.
This kind of relationship exists between two people who don’t label their partnership, usually intentionally. There is no complicated set of rules to define this kind of relationship. It is typically something between a committed relationship and a casual relationship.
The partners either don’t want to take the pressure of defining the relationship as they aren’t sure what they want, or they haven’t had ‘The Relationship Talk’ yet.
There are different situations, people who meet everyone in a while for sex, people who engage in sexting only, a crush, people who are together without a label, etc. Situationships work great for some, while it may cause a dilemma due to a lack of communication on this topic. It isn’t ideal as the partners are on different pages about the relationship in most cases.
All of the above relationships cover significant ground in types of romantic relationships, but they are all monogamous. Ethical non-monogamy is an extensive term for all kinds of nonmonogamous relationships. It includes all the relationships where a person is emotionally and/or sexually intimate with more than one partner at a time.
We should stress the term ‘ethical’ here as any act around lying, infidelity; dishonesty is unethical. For example, cheating on your partner is not considered ethical non-monogamy. In an honest, nonmonogamous relationship, all the partners- sexual and romantic- must have the choice to know about everything going on.
The word relationship is a vast term including all kinds of possible connections in this world. A romantic relationship is a wing under which all the emotional and sexual types of the relationship fall.
When defining a relationship romance, it is ideal for sitting down and having a thoroughly detailed conversation about what you and your partner want from each other. Themselves to avoid complications in the future when one of you wants something the different is not ready for.
How to define a romantic relationship?
You can define a romantic relationship as an emotionally or sexually intimate relationship between two or more people.
What screams ‘you’re not my type’ in relationships?
In relationships, people opt for casual sex partnerships, casual relationships, or ethical nonmonogamous companionship with those, not their type.
What type of relationships last longer?
Committed relationships last long as both the partners know what they want and are ready to work for it as their connection runs deep.