Relationships are the bonds and connections we share with others. A relationship can be as simple as a friendship or as complex as a marriage. Relationships are usually mutually beneficial and involve the giving and receiving of affection, trust, respect, and support. The balance of give and take is different in each relationship, but a healthy relationship should feel balanced and supportive to both people involved.
A significant other, also known as a soul mate or SO, is the person you love and who loves you back. They support you through the highs and lows of life, and they cheer you on when you need a boost. Research shows that being in a long-term relationship can lead to lower stress levels, restful sleep, and improved mental health.
Sometimes, we have chemistry with someone that is undeniable, but they aren’t relationship material. These relationships can be called friends with benefits, casual relationships, or just hooking up. While these relationships can be fun and exciting, they aren’t always beneficial in the long run.
In a committed relationship, you’re fully invested in the other person, and you choose to be romantically and sexually exclusive of others. You may or may not decide to marry, and the specifics of a committed relationship vary from couple to couple. In a nonmonogamous relationship, you don’t agree to be exclusive with one other person, but you do still care for and love them deeply. Some people also use the term relationship to refer to a non-romantic connection, such as a teacher/student relationship or a community relationship.