Each interpersonal relationship is unique since it always involves two unique personalities. When we speak about relationships, usually, we mean the romantic ties between men and women. However, there are different kinds of relationships. People are connected in different ways. The way they feel and behave towards each other is defined by the type of the connection and the level of intimacy.
Where is the line between love and friendship? How to distinguish true love from a temporary infatuation? From time immemorial philosophers, psychologists, and scholars have been trying to understand the nature of love.
Types of Love
Different classifications of love have been created over the centuries. The earliest ones were based on people between whom the feelings emerge. There were 7 of them.
Passionate love. This is a classic understanding of what love is – passion and madness – and this is how we perceive love today. We can’t control eros, and when love strikes us, we just surrender because our instincts are stronger than logos.
Friendship. This type of love is characterized by mutual benevolence between two people. There can be three reasons for their friendly attitude towards each other: usefulness, pleasure, and goodness. Friends mutually benefit from their relationship. Plato believed that the best kind of friendship is that between lovers. Friendship ennobles passion and turns it into a more solid relationship.
Familial love. Another kind of love is the love between parents and children. At the beginning of such relationships, love is not reciprocal (babies don’t realize they love their parents yet). It is a special type of love that doesn’t depend on person’s traits. It arises from familiarity and dependency.
Abstract love. There is a kind of fondness that we feel to other people, nature, and God. It can be called the universal love. It’s close to the concept of altruism.
Uncommitted love. This kind of love is what we call casual love or no-strings-attached relationships. It’s aimed at having fun and possibly sex. Flirting and seducing are integral components of this love. This kind of relationships can be pretty long-lasting unless one of the partners confuses it with passionate love.
Practical love. This type of love eliminates sexual attraction and is based on mercenary motives. The best example is the arranged marriages of the past. Today, it is common among celebrities and politicians. Very often, uncommitted and practical loves co-exist while passionate love can later transform into practical one.
Self-love. It can be both positive and negative. The negative one is akin to arrogance while the positive one is related to a healthy self-esteem.
That was how ancient philosophers understood the concept of love. Those types are still relevant today but they have gone through certain transformations.
Types of Relationships
It’s pretty difficult to compile a comprehensive list of types of relationships as they are numerous. If you search the Web, you’ll find a lot of different classifications offered by different sources. People enter into a particular kind of relationship for a particular reason and with a specific aim. We decided to focus on four essential types of romantic relationships.
Those who’ve never been in any kind of relationship (young people) or those who’ve been in one, often want to start or make a new start with a platonic relationship. Friendship between a man and a woman is possible until one of them falls for the other. The feelings we experience towards our friends and our loved ones are very similar. Common features are attraction, respect, support, emotional intimacy, fun, and pleasure. How to tell one from the other? Obviously, sexual attraction is an inalienable element of love relationships. Very often partners can’t understand what is between them.
2. Non-exclusive relationship
There is a tendency among millennials towards non-commitment relationships. Dating multiple people has become very popular these days. Dating apps facilitate this tendency. People go out on multiple dates and sometimes date several people simultaneously. Some do it to boost their chances of finding a compatible partner; some do it just for fun. Anyway, it’s important to keep things transparent and make sure that your date is OK with being not the only one. Non-committed dating can grow into a non-exclusive relationship. Today, polyamory has been gaining its popularity. Polyamorous relationships are sometimes considered to be the future of love since people are not monogamous creatures. Being in a polyamorous relationship means having more than one romantic and sexual partner. The pros of this non-exclusive relationship are that you don’t cheat and don’t lie to your partner(s) about your other partners.
Many men are afraid of serious relationships, so they decide to date women casually with no strings attached until they feel the time to settle down has come. A casual relationship presupposes the emotional connection but eliminates any plans bringing all this to a serious level. These so-called free relationships can be platonic or involve sex.
This type of relationships has both its advantages and disadvantages. You’ll benefit from it if you just got out of a serious relationship, you are not looking for something long-term, or if you just want to have fun. One of the advantages of a casual relationship is that at some moment you may feel this is all meaningless because you don’t feel happy. Your relationships unfold to a certain stage and then end before you manage to get to know your partner well. Also, deep down, you may still want to find your exclusive soul mate.
4. Serious relationship
Serious relationships are planned relationships. However, there is always a possibility that a casual dating will turn into something bigger. Love is unpredictable. Usually, a person has a strong resolution to find a long-term partner and build a serious relationship that ends up tying the knot and having babies. You take gradual steps, you don’t want to rush things because you know that you have the whole life ahead of you, you get to know each other in order to make sure you are on the same page. Your relationship is based on love, mutual respect, trust, and understanding. You know how to resolve conflicts because you know what compromise is about.
What Kind of Relationship Am I in?
Now that you know different types of relationships, you can understand where you are with your partner or decide which of the types of love relationships is right for you. Knowing this, you’ll have a clearer idea of what you really need.
You should also remember that no matter what relationship you are in, it should make you happy. There are healthy and harmonious as well as unhealthy and toxic relationships. If you feel better when you are with rather than without your partner, if you feel your partner’s support, if you communicate regularly, have shared views and interests, your relationship is healthy. If you don’t get all those things, think about the future of this relationship. You should keep it as long as it makes you satisfied and happy.