It’s no secret that relationships make us happy. When we spend time with our one and only, our brains are stimulated in specific ways that lead to a feeling of well-being. Studies have even found that the happiness we feel from our loved ones may add years to our lifespans. It’s no wonder why humans place such a high value on being in a relationship—it makes life more meaningful and helps us deal with stress.
Whether they’re romantic or not, all types of relationships can have an impact on our wellbeing. The term “relationship” is so broad, however, that it’s hard to give a definitive definition. It can be interpreted as a wide range of emotional, physical and social connections between people, from platonic friendships to marriage.
The most commonly used definition of a relationship is a close bond between two people. This is referred to as a dyad. Other possible definitions include:
A healthy relationship is balanced and mutually beneficial, but this can look different for each couple. It’s important that each person feels respected, valued and able to get their needs met. This can be achieved by assessing how much time, affection, energy and support is being given and received.
In terms of physical intimacy, it’s important to keep the spark alive, but this doesn’t always mean going on dates or spending hours every day in each other’s arms. Even a few phone calls or writing letters can encourage feelings of closeness.