What Is A Relationship?

What is a relationship?

Dear disari,

According to dictionary.com relationship means "a connection, association, or involvement" and "connection between persons" and "an emotional or other connection between people."

As far as defining the relationship further, we need to get the generalities out of the way. Are we talking about a relationship between father and son, mother and daughter, teacher and student, or boyfriend and girlfriend? These relationships have similarities and they have differences.

For example, if we are discussing teacher and student, we would not talk about intimacy issues, similar to what would be discussed with a husband and wife.

A relationship can be a good relationship, a bad relationship, or possibly defined by the level of association or the basis of the connection. For example, if you have a cousin, but you have never met the cousin or have only seen the cousin a few times, you have a relationship because you are related to this person (i.e. association), but may not have a deep relationship, knowing everything about this cousin since you do not have the "involvement" portion of the relationship. That doesn't mean that you do not have a relationship with your cousin. It is a matter of what type of relationship, which in this case is not defined by "good" or "bad."

Now, you may be asking what defines a romantic relationship. Going back to our textbook definition, the "involvement" that two people have in each other's lives would be defined as a relationship. The depth of that relationship may differ depending on how much time they spend together and how much the two people allow one another to "know them," their thoughts, feelings, viewpoints, personality. The decision of how deep to take a relationship has to be a mutual decision, and does not often survive, or survive well, as a one-sided endeavor.

To define a relationship could take us deeper and deeper into the academics of the word relationship and what it means, not only academically, but to each of us, individually. I mean, a person could have a "relationship" with their breakfast cereal, by the mere definition as "connection," but most of us would probably find that out of the scope of our interpretation of relationship.

Deborah E
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Deborah is a #1 Jazz Singer, as well as a lifelong musician, songwriter, and sound engineer. She is also a writer who pursues a love of positive psychology. She is a thesis short of having her doctorate in psychology.
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