Why Relationships Matter
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 many, romantic relationships comprise one of the most meaningful aspects of life, providing a source of deep fulfillment. The need for human connection appears to be innate—but 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.
Failed relationships happen for many reasons, and the failure of a relationship is often a source of great psychological anguish. Most people have to work consciously to master the skills necessary to make relationships endure and flourish.
How to Build a Healthy Relationship
Strong relationships are continually nurtured with care and communication. Although relationships can take many forms, certain traits have been shown to be especially important for 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 the differences and challenges that inevitably emerge.
In the 21st century, good relationships are generally marked by a sense of fairness, emotional as well as physical—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 in life. That feeling, maintained over the long term, can help couples overcome many difficulties.
How to Find Love
Finding a partner with whom to share a life is a wonderful—yet sometimes difficult—process. Whether it's conducted online or in-person, the search will likely push an individual into unfamiliar settings to encounter potential partners. In order to be successful, it is often necessary to go outside one's comfort zone.
Dating is a process by which people spend time with others in order to gradually determine whether a particular person is suitable as a potential mate. Determining whether a connection reflects temporary infatuation or true love can sometimes be challenging, but research suggests that there are revealing clues in behavior.
One possibly counterintuitive indicator of a potential match is one's sense of self. Someone who would make a good partner may push an individual to discover new activities or beliefs that expand their self-concept. Another early signifier may be stress: Repeatedly interacting with someone whose impression matters deeply to someone can fuel anxiety.
Other indicators include being highly motivated to see the person and investing a significant amount of time, emotion, and energy into the budding relationship.