Whether you call them friends, confidantes, besties, or lovers, the people you share a relationship with make up a significant portion of your life. They’re the ones you turn to when you need someone to lean on, the one you drunkenly dance with at family gatherings, and the person who reminds you how beautiful you are (even when you’re wearing sweats and a t-shirt). They’re your emotional support system and the person who makes you feel like you’re doing a good job in life.
Having a healthy relationship means being open and honest with each other, respecting each other’s independence, and working together to accomplish shared goals. It also includes being affectionate towards each other, and it may include physical contact and sex for those in romantic relationships.
Aside from the obvious benefits, such as feeling loved and being supported, a variety of research suggests that forming a healthy relationship can help you live longer. This is because having a strong social support network can protect you from stress and depression, as well as helping you cope with traumatic events that might otherwise contribute to early death.
Relationships are complex, and the language people use to describe them can change depending on location, culture, and belief systems. For example, the term marriage describes a formal commitment to one another that legally joins two lives and grants each person certain rights and privileges. However, some people may prefer to think of a relationship as monogamous or nonmonogamous.