Relationships – What Are They?


In a healthy relationship, the people involved are emotionally supportive, respectful and caring. They are able to listen without judgement and speak honestly, even when things get tough. Often, this means expressing positive feelings like love and admiration to each other. They also work together to solve problems and make decisions, rather than letting the problems fester and cause further distance between them.

They are a team, fighting together to overcome obstacles and to achieve their goals. They support each other’s strengths, and encourage the other to be their best self. They are there for each other during difficult times, and they make time to have fun and enjoy life. They understand each other’s nonverbal communication and can read each other’s body language to know how they are feeling. They are able to communicate effectively, even about difficult topics like finances or sex.

Traditionally, a formal commitment (such as a wedding) determined the status of a couple’s relationship. They were either premarital or marital, and there were well-defined social norms that dictated the acceptable behaviors and interactions for each type of couple.

However, it is now widely accepted that relationships can be meaningful without a formal commitment, and many people have found satisfaction in a variety of ways, including long-term friendships. Indeed, research suggests that close relationships can add years to your life and improve your health. This is particularly true for older adults.