Any type of affiliation or connection between people, whether personal, platonic, good, or bad, is referred to as a relationship. When people talk about “being in a relationship,” they usually mean a specific type of romantic relationship that includes both emotional and physical intimacy, some level of ongoing commitment, and monogamy (i.e., romantic and sexual exclusivity, in which members do not have this type of relationship with anyone else). Romantic relationships, on the other hand, can take many various forms, ranging from marriage to casual dating to ethical nonmonogamy.
It might be difficult to distinguish between the many sorts of relationships and which one yours belongs to. When you fall in love with someone, you have no way of knowing where the relationship will lead. It’s possible that the connection will be ideal. It might also be excruciatingly painful and difficult to bear at times. This individual might be your best friend or romantic interest in your life. However, there is always the possibility of a perfect relationship. Even if you’ve been in numerous relationships before, each new one is an entirely unique experience. Sure, your history might help you plan for the future, but no two relationships are the same.
Family connections, friendships, acquaintanceships, and romantic partnerships are the four fundamental forms of relationships. Work connections, teacher/student partnerships, and community or group relationships are examples of more sophisticated forms of interactions. Some of these sorts of connections can overlap and overlap with one another—for example, two people can be coworkers and close friends at the same time. Within each category, there are various variants, such as codependent friendships, sexless marriages, or toxic family members.
There are a variety of relationship labels that individuals use to describe their relationships with themselves and others, but here are a few of the more common ones:
Different Types of Relationships
A type of relationship can be defined as the type of interaction between two people. Here is the 66 types of relationships that you should know about.
1. Dating Relationship
Dating is the deliberate spending of time with someone to learn more about them, have fun with them, and enjoy being romantic. Dating may sometimes be about determining whether or if there is a chance for a longer-term relationship, or it can just be about having fun with no expectations for the future, which is known as casual dating.
When two individuals claim they’re “dating,” not everyone agrees on what amount of commitment is indicated. Some individuals only use the word when they’re in a defined, committed relationship, while others use it to indicate that they’re merely looking to see if there’s a possibility for a relationship.
2. Committed Relationship
The word “in a relationship” generally refers to a serious, long-term romantic connection between two people. A committed relationship is one in which two or more individuals have agreed to stay together for the foreseeable future. It’s been agreed that the two will continue to spend time together, work on their relationship, and nurture their bond. To signal their connection to others, people in committed relationships may use identifiers such as a boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner.
Being in a relationship in a conventional monogamous relationship also means that the pair will be romantically and sexually exclusive—that is, they will not have any other romantic or sexual partners. Exclusivity isn’t necessary for nonmonogamous partnerships. Marriage is a type of committed partnership in which a couple makes a public commitment to stay together and creates a legally binding union.
3. Casual Relationship
A casual relationship is one in which two or more people are dating, spending time together on a regular basis, and participating in romantic or sexual activities—but there are no plans for the relationship to endure. These are generally more temporary and short-term partnerships, and they may or may not be exclusive.
People in casual relationships are typically attracted to each other and like each other, even if there is no significant emotional connection or desire to expand the relationship. Those in committed relationships may regard each other as life mates, but people in casual relationships may not see each other as such. They won’t call each other boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner.
4. Casual Sex
A casual sex relationship is one in which two or more individuals spend time together only for the purpose of having sex. They may have sex on a daily basis or perhaps have sex once and never see each other again. They may like one other and enjoy each other’s company, but they aren’t looking for a love connection. In most cases, there is no emotional bond, or the bond is purely platonic or friendly, as in a “friends with benefits” arrangement.
A situationship is a romantic connection that hasn’t been established officially, generally by omission. The relationship may have many of the same characteristics as a committed relationship, a casual relationship, or dating, but the people involved have purposefully avoided labeling it—either to avoid making things too complicated, because they’re still figuring out what they want from each other, or because they’re afraid to bring up the “DTR talk” (aka a conversation defining the relationship).
Situationships, on average, have greater emotional engagement than friends-with-benefits relationships but lack the explicit romantic sentiments and commitment of committed relationships. While some individuals thrive in relationships without labels, situationships can arise when two people aren’t on the same page about what they want or when there’s an expectation that the relationship will be short-lived enough that it won’t matter.
6. Ethical Nonmonogamy
Ethical nonmonogamy refers to any relationship in which a person can have several romantic and sexual partners at the same time. It encompasses polyamory, open partnerships, relational anarchy, and a variety of other multi-person relationships. Relationships that are ethically nonmonogamous can be casual, committed, open, exclusive, dating-only, sex-only, or a mix of these, and persons in these relationships may or may not use terminology like a boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner to characterize each other.
Acceptance in the context of partnerships refers to learning to accept your partner(s) for who they are now and as they change through time, including their qualities, actions, and needs. Reflect on your possible inclination to alter, judge, or become quickly irritated by parts of who they are or how they behave as part of the process of truly embracing your spouse.
The terms “active” and “passive” reflect a power balance that is commonly observed in relationships and families. The active individual is often the one who takes the initiative or makes a choice in a scenario. The passive person is someone who is unresponsive, disengaged, indifferent, or dominated (physically or emotionally).
This term and category refer to people who are attracted to each other sexually. The use of this word helps to mainstream the experience of being asexual and gives people who aren’t part of the asexual group a more precise designation.
Individuals with an asexual identity or orientation have little or no sexual attraction to others of any gender. Asexuality is a broad term that encompasses a variety of sexual and romantic identities that characterize people who have little or no sexual desire.
11. Balanced Relationship
A balanced relationship is one in which both parties give and take in equal and healthy quantities. In a relationship, assessing how much affection, energy, love, and to support you give and receive is an excellent method to determine which areas seem balanced and which areas may require more focus or intention. Each relationship’s definition of balance is distinct, and it depends on each person involved feeling valued, respected, and having their needs addressed.
12. Basically, Or Close Friends
These phrases refer to a platonic relationship between two friends who share a lot of love, caring, and nonromantic feelings for one another. In terms of time spent, care, and commitment, these sorts of partnerships might mimic sexual or romantic relationships, but they typically lack the sexual or romantic components.
Flirtation, adoration, and commitment are common in platonic friendships between close friends, but they don’t reveal anything about either party’s sexual or romantic interest or preferences.
13. Changing Or Working Hard
These phrases relate to the act of directing one’s efforts toward changing characteristics of a relationship or an individual participating in one. This “job” is frequently motivated by a desire to improve or enhance the relationship’s satisfaction.
While change or hard work in a relationship can be a sign of commitment, it can also be a symptom of incompatibility or that one partner’s emotional or physical needs are not being addressed.
14. Civil Union
A civil union, sometimes known as a civil partnership, is a legally binding relationship between two people. Only state-level legal protections and privileges are provided by this form of legally recognized partnership. Civil unions have different terms from state to state and do not provide the same federal protections and benefits as marriage.
This is a relationship dynamic in which the emotional and physical boundaries required for a healthy and respectful long-term partnership are absent. Though the word “codependent” is occasionally used to persons or personal characteristics, it more properly describes behaviors, activities, or inclinations.
This is the act of sharing a home with someone with whom you are in a relationship. Taking the decision to cohabitate has various values and assumptions for different individuals, so it’s vital to talk honestly about what it means in the context of your relationship (s).
This word refers to the time between two individuals formally entering into a partnership that entails a long-term commitment to a shared future. Person to person, culture to culture, and relationship to relationship, the values, and objectives assigned to a specific courting might differ.
Dominating, or dominating, is a term that may be used to characterize a person’s or a relationship’s characteristics. Dominating, which is sometimes contrasted with “submissive,” refers to exercising physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or psychological dominance in a relationship, situation, or specific encounter. When a person or relationship dynamic possesses dominant characteristics, it can result in a momentary or long-term power imbalance in the relationship.
For others, this change in power is a good thing since it helps with compatibility and attraction. Others may see this change as intimidating, insulting, or nonconsensual. Discussing your observations regarding dominance and dominating qualities in a relationship may help you and your partners approach power dynamics with honesty and intention, as well as provide you a better understanding of the role that power plays in your relationship.
19. Domestic Partnership
This is a term that refers to a relationship between two individuals who are cohabiting and in a relationship but are not legally married. Domestic partnerships have the same legal status as civil unions and marriages, but they do not have the same advantages, rights, or privileges.
This is the time in a relationship before a formal, legal, or ceremonial commitment, but after both partners agree to this future commitment. Some individuals link engagement with a proposal from one person to another or the gifting of a ring, while others may not associate it with any particular action, item, or custom.
21. Friends With Benefits
This word refers to a connection that has characteristics of friendship as well as another relationship dynamic, most commonly romantic or sexual desire. Each individual involved determines the specific advantages that come with friendship, which might differ from relationship to relationship. Some people use the word to express their wish to keep things informal or to interact with other people. Others use this word to express their desire for a friendship-like connection with the added bonus of sex or physical closeness.
22. Long-Distance Relationship
This term is used to describe connections between individuals who don’t reside in the same town, city, state, or country and don’t get to see each other as often as they would if they lived in the same town, city, state, or country.
Marriage, in general, refers to a socially recognized and legally binding arrangement between two individuals that brings their lives together and provides them particular rights and advantages. It’s crucial to note that the way marriage is defined varies based on geographic region, culture, religion, and personal beliefs in both social and legal terms.
24. Monogamous Relationship
This is a partnership in which the participants agree to only have one primary mate, love interest, or sexual partner. Being exclusive is another term for this sort of relationship. People in dyadic relationships, often known as couples, are most commonly described as monogamous. It may also apply to a group of individuals who are in an exclusive relationship who have agreed to exclusively have a physical, romantic, or sexual connection with one other.
25. Nonmonogamous Relationship
Nonmonogamous refers to a partnership that allows for physical, romantic, or sexual involvement or interactions with several people or in multiple committed relationships.
26. Open Relationship
This is a colloquial phrase for a partnership that allows for physical, romantic, emotional, or sexual involvement in many relationships. Some open partnerships are built around a committed main connection, while others don’t emphasize one relationship over other physical, emotional, romantic, or sexual encounters now or in the future.
27. Partner Relationship
This is a broad phrase that refers to anyone with whom you are in a relationship or who you have loving, emotional, romantic, or sexual sentiments. Partner is frequently used in conjunction with another phrase to more precisely express the sort of partner a person is and to provide extra information or context about the partnership in question.
28. Platonic Relationship
This is a connection or friendship that is personal and affectionate but without physical, emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction or exchanges.
29. Polyamorous Relationship
This is a form of connection or relationship dynamic in which several emotional, romantic, or sexual relationships can exist at the same time.
30. Polygamous Relationship
Polygamous refers to the practice of polygamy, as opposed to polyamory, which allows for numerous partnerships that are self-defined or based on an agreement or conditions established exclusively by those engaged in the relationship. Polygamy is a type of partnership in which one person wishes to have many legally or culturally recognized marriages or spouses.
31. Rebound Relationship
This is the brief period immediately following a change in the dynamics of a relationship or the end of a partnership. When the phrase “rebound” is used to describe a person, it usually refers to someone who has just terminated or modified the parameters of a relationship and is the focus of that person’s attention, affection, love, romantic, or physical desire.
32. Anarchy Relationship
Relationship anarchy, often known as RA, is a concept invented by queer feminist Andie Nordgren. It’s a relationship type or dynamic that only has rules, expectations, roles, and agreements that are consciously approved by the people in the relationship (s). A relationship anarchist’s precise words and ideals vary from person to person and relationship to relationship, although basic principles such as nonmonogamy and absence of hierarchy are commonly shared.
33. Significant Other
This is a gender-neutral and inclusive way to refer to someone you’re dating or in a relationship with. This is a broad word that may be used to describe someone in a number of relationships, including (but not limited to) monogamous, polyamorous, casual, formal, committed, or open ones.
34. Sexual Accomplice
This is a broad term for a relationship in which you have sex or have physical closeness with someone.
This is a gender-neutral phrase that refers to someone who is involved in a legal relationship, such as a marriage or civil union.
These are colloquial words for partnerships in which one or more of the participants do not intend to commit to a longer-term or future relationship.
37. Relationships Within The Family
Our family, also known as relatives, are those with whom we share some type of kinships, such as blood (as with parents, brothers, and sisters), marriage (as with non-blood aunts and uncles or step-parents), romantic connections (as with a parent’s girlfriend or boyfriend), or adoption. Family members include siblings and parents, whom you may see every day as a child, as well as cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, whom you may not see as often.
Acquaintances are persons you may run across on a frequent basis but who are not family or friends. They may be a neighbor who lives down the street from you and whom you greet whenever you see them, a business colleague, or someone you’ve met a few times at a social gathering but don’t know well. It is critical to treat acquaintances with politeness and respect since having harmonious relationships with those around you, such as coworkers, college classmates, neighbors, and others is a vital method to minimize stress and conflict. Relationships that begin as acquaintanceships may grow into friendships over time as you get to know the individual better and see them more often.
39. Romantic Relationships
A romantic relationship is one in which you are passionately drawn to the other person’s personality as well as their physical appearance. The other individual in the relationship reciprocates this. A romantic relationship is one in which a boyfriend and girlfriend (in a heterosexual relationship) or a boyfriend and boyfriend (in a gay relationship) or spouses (in a marriage), or life partners are involved (in a civil partnership or long-term unmarried relationship). People in a love relationship will visit each other regularly, and while they are away, they will frequently communicate, such as via phone. Some people who are in love relationships share a home.
40. Talking/Hanging Out/Kicking It
This stage might begin with a crush, those ooey-gooey sensations that make you want to spend more time with one person than the others. It’s usually informal and short. It might continue weeks, months, or even years as both parties “work things out.” Hanging out does not imply a serious relationship, but it does imply that you enjoy one other’s company.
41. The Independent Relationship
Being self-sufficient is beneficial. Being in a meaningful relationship, on the other hand, necessitates compromise and sacrifice. You don’t want to brag about your independence. Sure, you and your spouse need to be self-sufficient to the point that you can operate without each other, but absolute independence in a relationship is never a healthy indication.
42. The Toxic Relationship
When a couple is attracted to and even loves each other, but there is no compromise or understanding, the relationship becomes toxic. You appear to have opposing viewpoints and interests, which leads to disagreements and conflicts, yet you remain committed to your spouse.
43. The “Just For Now” Relationship
Two persons in a “just for now” relationship are not searching for anything serious. They’re seeking a lighthearted and temporary companion to help them adjust and heal after a long-term relationship or a traumatic split.
44. The Best Friends Relationship
This is a relationship in which both partners feel comfortable chatting and communicating, but there is a lack of intimacy in the relationship. Every close relationship requires sex, and a relationship without it is bound to fail at some time.
45. The Truly Compatible Relationship
The greatest, most ideal romance was saved for last! This is a beautiful, healthy relationship built on mutual respect, trust, and real love. It is made up of two people who are willing to make sacrifices for one another and who love and respect one another. This is the type of relationship we’re all hoping for. And, fortunately, it has already been discovered by a large number of individuals. Relationships are difficult, and not everyone is as prepared as they appear to be or believe they are.
A rebound, according to Zhu, is a relationship that someone enters soon after a breakup when they haven’t dealt with the emotional consequences. “Emotionally, rebounds are an easy way to avoid bad feelings linked with a breakup, such as sorrow, hurt, grief, and loss from a previous relationship,” she adds. This is when things start to get a little tangled. “It usually originates from a misunderstanding and a lack of clarity regarding expectations,” Zhu adds. Rebounds, on the other hand, rarely end well or mend a shattered heart caused by someone else.
47. A Good Fit
A healthy relationship feels balanced, safe, secure, and supportive for all parties involved, whether monogamous or nonmonogamous. It’s all the good things, according to Cohen: open conversation (even when you don’t agree on something), support in your own endeavors, and the freedom to openly communicate your deepest thoughts. It’s the wonderful sensation of being heard, understood, and cherished in every way.
48. Controlling Relationship
One spouse takes the lead in the relationship, while the other just follows the rules. This may have a significant influence on a person’s self-esteem and is frequently triggered by a lack of trust or a desire for power. It may take a long time for you to realize that your partner is dominating rather than protecting you. It might cause feelings of irritation, helplessness, and even a desire to seek consolation elsewhere.
49. Grieving Relationship
You’ve both recently lost someone or gone through a difficult time. You join together out of a sense of belonging and comfort. It feels nice at first, but after a while, it starts to seem empty or like a substitute for what you’ve lost. This isn’t to say the relationship can’t work or isn’t worthwhile. These connections can be quite beneficial in helping you get through your sorrow.
50. Negotiation Relationship
Both of you are content with each other, yet there are times when both of you must negotiate and make concessions in order to keep the other partner satisfied. This may appear to be a lot to deal with, yet it can be a really rewarding relationship. It’s healthy and mature to learn how to meet your spouse in the middle. It teaches you how to put your attention on the connection rather than on yourself. It aids both couples in achieving a healthy equilibrium.
51. Pastime Fling
You’re in love with your spouse, but not to the point where you’re making future plans with them. You’re content for the time being, but you know deep down that the relationship won’t work out or continue forever. Because it is centered on the present, this is a fairly frequent form of connection. A fling isn’t concerned about the past or the future. You may have a connection, a shared passion, or a friendship, but you aren’t concerned about the future. These are the relationships that are most likely to terminate on amicable terms.
52. Trophy Relationship
You’re dating your spouse because it improves your appearance or provides you with something materialistic. This sort of relationship is best suited for gold diggers and guys with trophy wives. The love in this relationship may be genuine, but the partnership’s basis is based on superficial and financial considerations rather than emotional compatibility.
53. Distracted Relationship
This sort of connection occurs in many college sweethearts some years later. Both spouses are in love, yet their feelings diminish with time. They’re too preoccupied with their jobs or their children to devote enough time to each other. This is a very common connection. Because both spouses are growing apart rather than together, many early marriages go from magical and romantic to preoccupy and mundane. Their relationship suffers as a result of their other commitments.
54. Imperfect Relationship
You’re aware that your relationship isn’t ideal, yet you don’t want to change it. So, because you’ve accepted your spouse, you don’t grumble. This can either be a good or a terrible thing. There is no such thing as an ideal partnership. It’s fantastic that you’ve accepted this and that you’ve found happiness together. However, living with genuine issues and ignoring them because you believe you don’t deserve anything greater leads to low self-esteem and anger.
55. Unhappy Relationship
You’re unhappy in your relationship, but you’re staying for reasons other than love. This may be for the kids, so you aren’t alone, so you don’t have to date again, or just because you miss what you had before. This happens all the time. Many sorts of relationships can become unpleasant at some time, yet many individuals would rather be alone or confront reality than be unhappy in the wrong relationship.
56. Complicated Relationship
Complicated relationships are the most difficult to manage. Both partners may be aware that things aren’t going well, but neither of you knows how to address or resolve the problems. There may be anger, distrust, or a variety of issues, but instead of dealing with them properly or at all, they are mismanaged or, worse, ignored. Couples counseling or therapy can help a troubled relationship. This will encourage both parties to be open and honest about their desires.
57. Emotional Affair
This is the type of hidden relationship you have with someone who isn’t your partner. You may not know it, but you’ve developed feelings for this individual. So much so that you’d put your own relationship in jeopardy to be with this other person.
58. Love-Hate Relationship
This partnership has a lot of chemistry and sexual desire. But, for all of the love and enthusiasm, there is also a lot of anger and frustration. You’re both madly in love with each other, but you can’t stand each other at times. Unfortunately, this is frequently the type of relationship depicted on television or in films. Noah and Allie in The Notebook, for example, had this relationship, which required a lot of effort.
Do you know someone who has a loud passion fight in front of others and then is spotted hardcore making out an hour later? That is a love-hate relationship, and it is possible that you are in one. This can be entertaining for a short period of time because it is intense and overwhelming. However, in the long term, it is more effort and worry than it is worth.
59. Insecure Relationship
Both of you are free to live your own lives and make your own pals. And no matter how hard you try to persuade your spouse that you are faithful, he or she may always suspect you of cheating or being interested in someone else. You could be the one who is suspicious of your partner’s motives or conduct. Patience and understanding may go a long way in assisting your spouse. But there’s only so much you can do. This is an issue that the insecure individual must largely solve on their own.
60. Abusive Relationship
This is a relationship in which one person has power over the other, either verbally or physically. This is an intolerable condition that must be remedied as soon as possible. It’s not only hazardous, but it’s also against the law. If a spouse tries to control you or puts their hands on you, move away and get assistance from someone you can trust. This is the only way to defend oneself, no matter how difficult it may appear. Many individuals attempt to tell themselves that it was a one-time occurrence or that it was forgiven, but that is never the case.
61. May-December Relationship
Are you dating or dating someone who is at least a decade and a half your senior or junior? Then you’d be eligible for the relationship between May and December. Of course, compatibility is important, but you also need to learn to deal with differing expectations from each other, family, and friends’ perspectives. Although age is simply a number, it may affect many aspects of a relationship, including having children, retirement, energy levels, and interests.
62. Sacrificial Relationship
This is the worst kind of unconditional love. You’re dating someone you genuinely adore, but your partner doesn’t appear to feel the same way about you as you do about them. One person is continually giving more, and the other is taking in a sacrificial relationship. It’s unjust and imbalanced. This type of relationship, no matter how much love there is, can only result in harsh arguments and hopeless tears.
63. On and Off Relationship
On-again, off-again relationships are quite prevalent. We’re willing to wager you know at least one couple that has broken up and reconnected several times. Unfortunately, you may be a member of that pair. These friendships come to an end for a reason. Grief, loneliness, and an ideal version of your ex that only lives while you’re not together are all factors that contribute to the makeup. As a result, on-again, off-again relationships have a poor likelihood of lasting success.
64. Stepping Stone Relationship
This is the sort of relationship where you’re simply in it to move on to the next. You may not know it at the time, but it was something you needed to go through to get to the next stage of your life. This was a short relationship for me following along and disastrous one. My ex-boyfriend was charming and made me feel special. That confidence boost was just what I needed to move on in my life and feel good about myself and my love life.
65. Fun Relationship
This is an exciting and enjoyable connection. You’re unconcerned about catching up with friends or relatives. There’s no need to be concerned about when you’ll label items or go on to the next stage. Instead, you are savoring each other’s company every day. For those who are adept at communication, a pleasant relationship is ideal. If this isn’t done, the relationship may sour if one person has different expectations than the other.
66. True Love
This is the most difficult sort of relationship to locate. It is, nevertheless, well worth the effort, patience, and time. You’re both compatible, understand one another, and accept one another. You aren’t perfect, yet you may still be happy despite your flaws.