While the need for human contact seems to be universal, the skill to form true, lasting relationships comes primarily from early childhood development. Some research suggests that the capacity to form a healthy, stable, enduring relationship begins at birth, in the earliest years of a child’s interactions with a caregiver who consistently meets the child’s physical and emotional needs for security, food, warmth, attention, safety, stimulation, and interpersonal contact. In these years of development, the developing brain processes primary needs, and forms them into more complex relationships with various caregivers. However, when a relationship is established with inconsistent and/or less than adequate care, a sense of loss and frustration can develop, and an individual can experience abandonment, withdrawal, depression, and anxiety. These symptoms can perpetuate into later stages of life, when they occur with a romantic partner, a family member, friend, or other significant individual in one’s life.
The term “attraction” refers to the process by which two people develop a sexual attraction for each other. It can also refer to the process by which two people develop an emotional attraction for each other. Both concepts can have varying definitions according to the particular culture in which they are used. However, in Western cultures, the term “attraction” typically refers to the tendency to develop close attachments and frequent communications with another person, regardless of their gender, age, religion, or race. This also extends to relationships within families, friendships, schools, and any other group of people who are closely related.
Most people define the word “romantic” as relating to love, while “comfortable” and “common” would more appropriately define a romantic relationship. Romance is broad but includes any enduring romantic relationship in which there is deep, undying passion, which are not only sexual, but also includes an emotional bond that is shared between two people. Most often, when we think of relationships as being “romantic,” it is assumed that the relationship involves a person coming into a relationship with someone they feel very deeply attracted to. While some relationships do experience this level of intimacy, relationships often go further and include romantic thoughts and feelings, which can include infatuation, obsession, and jealousy.
When we speak of a “high value” or “high value proposition”, it refers to something that is very important to one or both partners. In the case of relationships that focus on high emotions or high values, these types of relationships often last longer than relationships that focus on one variable, such as monetary exchange. A classic example of this is that of a long-term committed relationship. In this type of relationship, one or both partners usually enjoy high emotions. They may discuss everything with one another, talk about deep personal issues, and even consider deep, meaningful spiritual beliefs. These types of relationships often last the test of time due to the high value placed on the relationships.
Although some people use physical intimacy to attract others, most people use this tactic in relationships that are less committed. For example, many couples use physical intimacy to spark new connections or even to spark off previous relationships. Sometimes this physical act occurs in an initial relationship that is not emotionally committed. However, once these relationships enter into the more serious phase of commitment, physical intimacy becomes more meaningful as it is an outward expression of feelings and ideals that are held internally. For example, if two people share similar values and beliefs, they will be attracted to one another. They do not need to discuss their intentions with each other, they do not need to engage in “getting to know you” psychological profiling, and they may find that physical intimacy can be a great way to deepen their relationship.
Another example of a less-serious, but more intimate, relationship is that of a casual relationship. This type of relationship involves spending time together as much as possible. However, there is no romantic intent or idea behind the time spent together. This type of relationship usually lasts from one weekend to several weeks.
Relationships in which there is no romance involved or any form of emotional investment are considered relationship anarchy. This means that two people will get along just on superficial levels. They will have no sexual or emotional ties and will engage in few if any romantic gestures. One may flirt, but the other person probably will not. The result is that these relationships, while potentially fun, are also short-lived and tend to fade away quickly.
In general, relationships that are successful include two variables that contribute to their success: the first variable refers to how well the parties fit together and the second variable refers to their level of compatibility. A successful relationship refers to a situation in which the parties are able to maintain some level of intimacy. If for example, one partner moves out of the house and has no one to spend time with, this relationship refers to the fact that neither party feels left out by the other. On the other hand, a relationship that is experiencing difficulty in this area may be a relationship anarchy.