Love is one of the most profound emotions known to human beings. There are many kinds of love, but most people seek its expression in a romantic relationship with a compatible partner. For many, romantic relationships comprise the most meaningful aspect 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. A great deal of evidence suggests that the ability to form a stable relationship begins 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 appear 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.
All About Relationships
Finding a partner with whom to share a life is a wonderful—yet sometimes difficult—process. The desire to do so may push people into unfamiliar settings to encounter potential partners. Dating, or setting up meetings in advance, is a process by which people spend time with another person in order to gradually determine whether the person is suitable as a potential mate. Determining whether a connection reflects temporary infatuation or true love can sometimes be challenging—and research suggests that there are revealing clues in behavior. One possibly counterintuitive indicator is one's sense of self. A good partner can push people to discover new activities or beliefs that expand their self-concept. Another is stress: Repeatedly interacting with someone whose impression matters deeply 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.
Building 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. Both individuals should feel confident that their partner is willing to devote time and attention to the other, and that they are committed to accommodating the differences and challenges that inevitably emerge. In the 21at century, good relationships are generally marked by a sense of fairness in the distribution of the chores of maintaining a household. Partners also feel grateful for one another, openly provide and receive affection, and engage in honest discussions about sex. In good relationships, partners always afford their partner the benefit of the doubt, which creates a sense of being on the same team in life, a feeling that can help couples overcome many difficulties.