Define Relationship

January 23, 2013
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What is the meaning of a real relationship? My opinion of a real relationship is not defined by the gender of your companion or the status you are calling each other. You don’t have to be someone’s boyfriend or someone’s girlfriend to be in a relationship. According to the Collins English Dictionary a relationship is “the mutual dealings, connections, or feelings that exist between two parties, countries, people, etc.” Therefore, just because you are not technically “dating” the other person, that does not mean you’re not in a relationship with them. As long as you care, respect, and accept that other person in a sense that is more than friends and they share this affection, then you are in a relationship with that person.

However, that does NOT mean you can say that you are in a relationship with someone who does not have feelings back. In order for it to be a real relationship BOTH people have to know how either one feels. Also, if neither of you are ready to “define” the relationship, that’s fine. For example, my boyfriend and I have always been best friends. But for a while we were not ready to call it dating even though we called each other baby, babe, hun, etc. and we truly loved each other. Just because we didn’t want to call it dating does not mean we weren’t in as much as a relationship as any other couple.

Therefore, it’s not a requirement to have the world know that you’re in a relationship, and that’s fine!
?But I will warn you, being in a relationship takes hard work and commitment regardless of your public relationship status. In my opinion, these are the top six guidelines to being in any relationship:

1- SELFLESSNESS: You must put your partners’ needs before your own. It’s your job to care for them and show them you’re not selfish and greedy (ex: share, ask how their day was, be helpful, show kindness, etc.).

2- RESPECT: You have to be able to show your partner that there is mutual respect in the relationship. Never insult, tease, or make fun of your partner (or anyone). This shows that you don’t care about their feelings and have no respect for them. Respect means a lot in a relationship. With no respect, there is no relationship. Show the person that you honor them and their judgment (ex: do what they want to do instead of what you want to do, listen to them when they talk, ask them caring questions etc.).

3- TRUST: In order for a relationship to thrive there must be trust. If you do not trust your partner then how will you cope with them having to leave your sight without you accusing them of cheating (or committing other wrong doings)? You can’t. If you don’t trust that person then it’s not a relationship. You have to trust them to show all the qualities that you show them. You have to believe that they care enough about you to not cheat, steal, harm, or leave you. Yes sometimes trusting is scary, but sometimes you have to take that risk. Don’t think just because you don’t call it dating means that if they leave or “cheat” then it won’t hurt the same as it would if you we calling it dating, because it will.

4- HONESTY: Of course honesty and trust go together, but trusting in someone and being honest to someone are completely different things. To some people trusting is harder than being honest, and to others vise versa. But in reality both are difficult to do. To be honest means that you can not keep secrets from your partner (if the relationship isn’t as serious yet there is no need to blurt out super personal information). It also means that you have to be honest in order for them to be able to trust you, its “quid pro quo” (give, take). This means no stealing, cheating, lying and everything along those lines (no loopholes). Even though you aren’t “dating”, it is still possible to cheat. If you in any way have relations with another person behinds your partner’s back, its cheating (if they know and don’t care then it’s not a relationship). Therefore, regardless of your definition of cheating, if you act like you’re dating someone, treat them like you’re dating them.

5-FORGIVENESS: You have to be able to forgive your partner. Just because you argue does not mean give up. Every couple argues. Even best friends argue. But you can’t stay mad at them. You have to learn to forgive (that doesn’t mean that you have to forget). In some relationships, couples argue more than others. But stay strong and push on, as long as you both able and willing to forgive, it will work out fine.

6-LOVE: You do not necessarily have to be “in love” with that person. However you have to LOVE i.e. caring, kindness, nurturing, gentleness, etc. You have to show your partner all of the qualities listed above. These are the mandatory monomers of a strong and lasting relationship. But you must also remember to enjoy the relationship. It shouldn’t feel like a requirement or a job.

Overall, to be in a relationship does not mean you are necessarily “dating”. If you have all of the above qualities (AS MORE THAN FRIENDS) and you both feel the same way. Than CONGRATS! You’re in a relationship. Just remember that this is only my opinion, your definition of a relationship may vary, and that’s perfectly fine. All relationships are beautiful, and each one has a purpose. Whether you call it dating or not, you are just as much a couple as the two people holding hands and kissing on the park bench.

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