Types of Relationships

Relationships are any affiliation or connection between people, whether it be romantic, platonic, advantageous, or harmful. When someone talks about “being in a relationship,” they typically mean a specific form of a monogamous romantic relationship that involves both emotional and physical intimacy. There are other different kinds of romantic relationships, though, such as marriage, casual dating, and ethical non-monogamy.


Family ties, friendships, acquaintanceships, and romantic partnerships are the four fundamental forms of relationships. Work ties, teacher-student partnerships, and community or group interactions are examples of other, more complex types of relationships.

Some of these kinds of connections might cross over and occur simultaneously; for instance, two people might be close friends as well as coworkers. Within each category, there are other subcategories, such as toxic family members, and codependent friendships.

Types of romantic relations.

There are many categories people use to describe their relationships with others and with themselves, but the following are some of the most common fundamental kinds of romantic relationships:


Dating is the act of spending time with someone consciously in order to get to know them better, have fun, and develop a love relationship. Dating can occasionally be about assessing the possibilities for a more committed relationship or it can simply be about enjoying oneself without any regard for the future, a practice known as casual dating.

There is disagreement about how much commitment two people imply when they claim to be “dating.” Some people only use the phrase when a clearly defined, committed relationship is already in existence, while others use it to describe just investigating potential relationships.

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Devoted partnership

The phrase “in a relationship” refers to a committed, long-term romantic relationship when used in reference to couples. When two or more individuals decide to stay together for the foreseeable future, that relationship is said to be committed.

There is an understanding that the two will keep up their time together, seek to strengthen their bond, and keep their connection alive. People who are in committed relationships may decide to refer to their partner as their boyfriend, girlfriend, or other identifiers.

Being in a relationship in a classic monogamous relationship also implies that the pair will be sexually and romantically exclusive, i.e., they will not have any other sexual or romantic partners save one another. One type of committed relationship is marriage, in which the couple publicly makes a commitment to remain together and creates a legally binding partnership.

Short term partnership

A casual relationship is one where two or more people are maybe dating, spending time together frequently, and having romantic or sexual relations—but there are no expectations that the connection will persist in the long run. These kinds of relationships are frequently shorter-lived, situational, and may or may not be exclusive.

Even if there may not be a strong emotional connection or a strong desire to strengthen the connection, people in casual relationships typically enjoy and are drawn to one another. People in casual relationships might not be as interwoven into each other’s lives as those in committed relationships, who may view each other as life partners. Usually, they won’t refer to one another as a boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner.

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Morally Neutral Monogamy

The broad meaning of ethical nonmonogamy includes any relationship where people can have multiple romantic and sexual partners at once. It encompasses a wide spectrum of multi-person relationships, including polyamory, open relationships, relational anarchy, and many more. Relationships that are ethically nonmonogamy may or may not use the terms “boyfriend,” “girlfriend,” or “partner.”


An undefined romantic relationship—typically by omission—is referred to as a situationship. The couple may share many characteristics with a committed relationship, a casual relationship, or dating, but they have purposefully chosen not to categorize their relationship.

This may be done to avoid complicating matters or because they are still figuring out what they want from one another. Situationships typically contain more emotion than friends-with-benefits relationships but lack the overt romantic sentiments and commitment of committed relationships.

While some people thrive in relationships without labels, situationships can frequently occur when there is a disagreement between the partners over their goals or when there is a presumption that the relationship would be brief enough for it not to matter.

Casual Hangout

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Two or more persons hang out together in a casual sex relationship primarily to participate in sexual activity. They could have sexual relations with one another on a regular basis or only once. They may get along well and enjoy each other’s company, but they aren’t looking for a love relationship. The bond is typically strictly platonic or friendly, as in a “friends with benefits” scenario, or there is no emotional connection at all.