Thursday, 21 April 2011

Intimate relationship

An intimate relationship is a particularly close interpersonal relationship, and the term is sometimes used euphemistically for a sexual relationship. The characteristics of an intimate relationship include an enduring behavioral interdependence, repeated interactions, emotional attachment and need fulfillment. Intimate relationships include friendships, dating relationships, spiritual relationships, and marital relationships  and there are individual differences in both the quality and quantity of these relationships. Several stages in intimate relationships have been identified: the beginning or development stages (e.g., attraction and dating), relational maintenance and repair (e.g., forgiveness), relational stress ors (e.g., conflict and betrayal), and relational termination (e.g., models of dissolution).

Intimate relationships play a central role in the overall human experience. Humans have a universal need to belong and to love which is satisfied within an intimate relationship. Intimate relationships consist of the people that we are attracted to, whom we like and love, romantic and sexual relationships, and those whom we marry and provide and receive emotional and personal support from. Intimate relationships provide people with a social network of people that provide strong emotional attachments and fulfill our universal need of belonging and the need to be cared for.

The systematic study of intimate relationships is a relatively new area of research within the field of social psychology that has emerged within the last few decades. Although the systematic study of intimate relationships is fairly recent, social thought and analysis of intimate relationships dates back to early Greek philosophers. Early scholarly studies were also interested in intimate relationships but were limited to dyads or small groups of people in the public and narrowly examined behaviors such as competing and cooperation, negotiation and bargaining, and compliance and resistance.

Physical intimacy is characterized by romantic or passionate love and attachment, or sexual activity.

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