Different Types of Relationships

"The experience of love is all the same, what changes are our preferences."

Different Types of RelationshipsWe establish relationships with many different types of people. Our family members, neighbors, co-workers, friends, spouses, significant others, etc. We've been taught that the love is different depending on who we're loving. We even have different names for it such as agape for spiritual love and Eros for sexual love.

The emotion of love is the same regardless of who you feel it for. You want them to be happy, you accept them as they are, and you appreciate some aspect about them. So if love is the same, why does it feel so different depending on who you love?

The distinctions in the loving experience are apparent when we look at how we express our love. The emotions are the same, but how we express it is different depending on who we are loving. You may want to spend more time with your friends than your family members. You might enjoy different activities with your co-workers than you do with your spouse.

When and how we express love is determined by PREFERENCES. You may prefer to spend more time with someone who is outgoing, rather than quiet, or more serious rather than silly. You may be more physically attracted to someone who is short rather than tall, or younger rather than older. There are an endless number of qualities that we might prefer over others. And those preferred qualities determines who, when, and how we express our love.

The focus of this site is on romantic relationships, since this seems to be the area of most interest and concern. This is not surprising since these are the people who we're choosing to share our lives with.

Romantic Love Relationships

A romantic relationship is one where you have a deep feeling of connection to the other person. All systems are go. You accept them as they are, want them to feel good, and deeply appreciate who they are. And vice versa. They fit in with most, if not all, of your preferences in a life partner, i.e.; personality, life goals, beliefs and value systems, etc. One of the ways you desire to express your love for them through your sexuality. Sex is the one key element that distinguishes a romantic relationship from all other types.

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Great, all that sounds wonderful, but why is there so much pain in these types of relationships? (See "Is love painful?" section)

Read Also: Are You In Love or Infatuated?

next: Problems in Relationships

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, November 11). Different Types of Relationships, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Last Updated: June 25, 2015

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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