We assume that when we tell someone we’re “in a relationship,” they know exactly what we mean. While twenty years ago, we all had a general definition of a romantic relationship, there are different types of romantic relationships out there today. Plus, no two people have the exact same definition of what it means to be in a relationship. However, relationship writing has gotten to the level where we can easily define the different types of romantic relationships to help you understand where you fit?
What is a relationship?
While we often associate relationships with being romantic in nature, that’s not always the case. Relationships are a connection between people and can range from romantic to platonic. If you hear someone say they’re “in a relationship,” they’re usually referring to a romantic relationship that includes physical intimacy. But the types of relationships can vary, and we’re going to show you below.
Basic types of relationships
Now, not all relationships are intimate or romantic. In fact, there are many forms of relationships, such as:
- Familial relationships
- Sexual relationships
- Professional relationships
- Community relationships
- Relationship with oneself
As you can see, relationships can take on various forms. However, now it’s time to focus on the types of romantic relationships.
6 Types of romantic relationships
We know this is what you really want to know, so we’re going to give it to you. Relationship writing has helped us define the types of romantic relationships out there. So, when looking at these types of romantic relationships below, think about your own relationship and see where you stand.
Dating is when two people spend time together, getting to know one another. Dating is usually the time when a couple sees if there’s potential for a long-term relationship. However, it can also be without any long-term goals and focused on having fun. In that case, it’s called casual dating.
With dating comes a lot of grey areas, as not everyone is on the same with the defining what dating is. Some people believe when you’re dating someone, you’re exclusively seeing that person. While other people assume dating means you can see multiple people at the same time.
When someone says they’re in a relationship, it usually means they’re committed to another person and vice versa. A committed relationship is when two or more people decide to invest themselves solely in the relationship. In a committed relationship, the people involved will spend time together and work on developing a strong and cemented connection. People in committed relationships call each other partner, boyfriend, or girlfriend.
In a traditional relationship (monogamous), being in a committed relationship means being romantically involved and exclusive to one another. In other words, they won’t have sex or a romantic relationship outside of each other. Marriage is a committed relationship; however, under a legally binding union.
A casual relationship is when two or more people see each other and engage in sexual activities; however, without the expectation of the relationship becoming something serious or lasting long-term. Casual relationships have both people attracted to one another, but there may not be an intense connection or a desire to connect deeply. They may not even be a part of each other’s lives. In other words, it’s more based on attraction. In these relationships, they will not use terms like partner, girlfriend, or boyfriend.
Casual sex is when two or more people see each other for sexual purposes. They may see each other on a regular basis or occasionally for sexual gratification. While they enjoy each other’s company, they’re not interested in progressing the relationship past sex. There’s usually no emotional connection between the two people involved.
A situationship is a romantic relationship between two or more people that haven’t been openly defined. The relationship mimics a committed relationship, but the people involved haven’t discussed the relationship; thus, there’s no label. While the relationship is based on sex, there are usually deeper feelings involved. This could be because they want to avoid making things complicated or don’t want to bring up the conversation.
Ethical nonmonogamy is a very wide term to label any relationship where people have multiple romantic and sexual relationships at one time. Ethical nonmonogamy indicates that all parties involved are aware of the boundaries of the relationship and consent to them.
Now that you know the different types of romantic relationships, it’s time to figure out where you stand. Where does your relationship fit in this?