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Relationships’ Types and Differences Essay


Developing relationships is an important aspect of life. Relationships can be studied and developed under different circumstances. The main motivation of exploring this topic is the role relationships play in different aspects of life. Any interaction between people necessitates the development of certain relationships that promote mutual understanding and respect. This paper will explore relationships under three aspects, namely types of relationships, types of lifestyles, and issues that affect relationships. The purpose of this paper is to discuss types of relationships, how they vary in different lifestyles, and how certain issues affect them.

Relationship types

There are many types of relationships experienced during development. As an individual develops, he/she experiences different relationships in different stages of development. Common types of relationships include family relationships, intimate relationships, professional relationships, and friendships (Duck, 2000, p.34). Each of these relationships is expressed in a different stage of development. However, two or more relationships can be present at the same time.

Family relationship is the first relationship a baby experiences. Aspects of family relationships that affect a child’s psychosocial development include family’s health, parenting techniques, family’s economic standing, and discipline (Duck, 2000, p.37). Important aspects of such relationships include physical contact and emotional attachment. As children age, family relationships become more critical in their mental, social, and physical development. At the age of 6, parenting techniques applied matter a lot. It is important for parents to apply varying degrees of parental warmth and control (Feldman, 2005 p.24). Children need loving and affectionate parents in order to cement family relationships. Adolescents experience strained relationships because, at that age, they become defiant and disobedient. Youths and old people need family relationships for social and financial support.

Intimate relationships involve physical or emotional intimacy. Individuals experience this type of relationship when they engage in passionate sex and become emotionally attached (Feldman, 2005, p.28). This relationship usually develops after individuals attain emotional maturity, usually after adolescence. Its onset is characterized by emotional attachment towards members of the opposite sex. It usually involves sexual attraction between people of the opposite sex, romantic feelings, and yearning for emotional and personal attachment (Ewiner and Freedheim, 2003, p.41). Intimate relationships fulfill the human need for love, a sense of belonging, and the urge to be cared for. Love is an important aspect of intimate relationships.

A friendship develops between people who share common traits or values. Children start to develop friendship relationships early in their development process. Friendship exists in different forms. However, certain aspects are common in all of them. These include honesty, sympathy, altruism, compassion, understanding, and trust (Ewiner and Freedheim, 2003, p.43). Friendship is important in psychological development because it enables people to express themselves, develop communication skills, grow emotionally and socially, and develop a sense of belonging. Friendship usually develops between people who share common traits, backgrounds, interests, and occupations (Ewiner and Freedheim, 2003, p.45). Friendship starts early in childhood and continues in old age. Individuals find friends at all stages of development. In childhood, children learn to share things, while in adolescence learn to relate and maintain friendships.

A professional friendship develops between people who share common occupations. However, it also develops between people in different careers. People develop professional relationships later in life when they start working. These relationships develop between colleagues, employers, and employees, and between employees and clients (Hoyer and Roodin, 2008, p.73). They teach people how to treat others with respect, how to be honest, how to be responsible and accountable, and how to communicate and behave appropriately. They determine the degree of success that individuals attain in their careers. Establishing good professional relationships is key to a prosperous career. Many professional relationships do not go beyond the expectations of the career that one engages in. However, some friendship relationships result from professional relationships (Hoyer and Roodin, 2008, p.74). This happens when professionals with similar interests, hobbies, and goals meet.


People adopt different lifestyles that determine the relationship they develop. Common types of lifestyles include marriage, singlehood, and divorce (Noam and Fischer, 2001, p.63). Each of these lifestyles is motivated by certain aspects of living that determine its course. They experienced in different stages of life when a person reaches an age at which he/she is capable of making well-informed decisions.

Marriage involves two types of relationships that include friendship and intimate relationships (Noam and Fischer, 2001, p.65). Before two people get married, they first establish a friendship that helps them know each other. Marriages are based on emotional, social, sexual, financial, and spiritual needs. In marriage, friendship morphs into an intimate relationship that keeps two people together, committed to each other. Marriage teaches people to care for others, to be responsible, to love, to be faithful to one partner, and to be honest (Noam and Fischer, 2001, p.66). Relationships in marriage are based on love, mutual feelings, trust, and honesty. Lack of these qualities in marriage leads to misunderstandings and conflicts that compromise the stability of marriage (Noam and Fischer, 2001, p.63). In most cases, such occurrences lead to divorce. Divorce is one of the unfavorable outcomes of marriage that married couples try to avoid.

Divorce refers to the termination of a marriage because of strained relationships between partners. Couples divorce because of reasons such as unfaithfulness, dishonesty, lack of accountability and responsibility, and lack of sexual and emotional attachment (Ratele Duncan, 2003, p.74). These are based on poor relationships between couples. Children are most affected by divorce because it compromises their development. Divorce is a stressful experience for both partners because it affects their lives adversely. Household chores, finances, living arrangements, and children’s developments are negatively affected (Ratele Duncan, 2003, p.74).

In some cases, divorce has positive effects on relationships. This mainly happens in cases where certain family members are victims of domestic violence and abuse. This emancipates them from pain and suffering and improves their relationship with each other. However, many cases of divorce result in strained child-parent relationship (Ratele Duncan, 2003, p.75). For example, a divorced mother may need to work extra hours in order to cater for her children. This reduces the time spent with children, and this strains their relationship.

Singlehood refers to the state of being unmarried because of reasons such as the need for financial stability and freedom, and negative experiences (Ratele Duncan, 2003, p.77). Many people choose singlehood because of negative experiences in their childhood. For example, someone who experienced divorce in childhood may prefer to stay single to avoid the stress that results from such an experience. In addition, many people consider marriage tiresome and outdated because of the requirement of committing to one partner for a lifetime. People who choose not to get married embrace singlehood as an alternative to marriage. Many people choose singlehood because it guarantees freedom, does not require commitment, and has fewer responsibilities than marriage (Sigelman and Rider, 2011, p.43).


Issues that affect relationships include age, communication competency, and personal values. These issues can either strain or augment the quality of relationships depending on individual perception. Age is an important aspect of good relationships because of varying levels of maturity of individuals in a relationship. Age matters because people of a similar age have the same level of maturity and can, therefore, understand each other and connect perfectly (Sigelman and Rider, 2011, p.51).

In addition, age affects relationships because psychological development occurs at all ages. Therefore, it is important for people who are in a similar development stage to form relationships to ensure that they last. For example, the age difference is responsible for strained relationships between parents and children because of differences in perspective (Noam and Fischer, 2001, p.73). Many relationships involve people whose ages are close. Relationships between people of different ages only succeed only if people involved have similar maturity levels (Sigelman and Rider, 2011, p.53). However, if their maturity levels are different, their relationship fails because they have different emotional, physical, and psychological needs.

Communication competency is an important aspect of a good relationship because it promotes understanding and eliminates conflicts (Noam and Fischer, 2001, p.78). It plays a key role in the development and sustenance of healthy relationships. Lack of proper communication results in problems that affect relationships. Misunderstanding and conflict compromise relationships because they promote hatred between people (Feldman, 2005, p.33). However, with good communication, relationships strengthen and bond people together.

Communication is important for expressing and reciprocating feelings. Many relationships are based on mutual and emotional feelings. The only way to express feelings is through proper communication. Communication competency means that an individual is able to choose words wisely during conversations in order to avoid hurting others (Feldman, 2005, p.79). In addition, it means that an individual possesses the ability to understand other people without distorting their message.

Personal values affect relationships because they determine the level of commitment and quality of the relationship. These values include honesty, trust, generosity, compassion, empathy, and understanding (Ewiner and Freedheim, 2003, p.39). A relationship that lacks these qualities does not last long and fails miserably. People in such relationships do not respect each other and engage in frequent fights and conflicts. To avoid these occurrences, it is important for people to practice these values in their relationships.


Relationships comprise a core part of life because they determine how people interact and deal with each other. All aspects of life are based on relationships, which take different forms. Types of relationships include family relationships, friendships, and intimate relationships. People have different experiences in these relationships at different stages of their development. Relationships are important in different lifestyles that people adopt. Examples of lifestyles include marriage, singlehood, and divorce. These lifestyles are determined by the quality of relationships of people involved. People learn various things in these relationships at different ages in life. For example, children do not form romantic relationships because such relationships are developed after a certain stage of development. However, they develop friendship, which is common I all stages of development. Experiences from these relationships enable people to develop physically, emotionally, socially, and psychologically.


Duck, S. (2000). The Social Psychology of Personal Relationships. New York: Wiley.

Ewiner, I., and Freedheim, D. (2003). Handbook of Psychology, Developmental Psychology. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Feldman, R. (2005). Development across the Life span. New York: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Hoyer, W., and Roodin, P. (2008). Adult Development and Aging. New York: McGraw- Hill Education.

Noam, G., and Fischer, K. (2001). Development and Vulnerability in Close Relationships. New York: Routledge.

Ratele, K., and Duncan, N. (2003). Social Psychology: Identities and Relationships. New York: Juta Company Ltd.

Sigelman, C., and Rider, E. (2011). Life-span Human Development. New York: Cengage Learning.

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Dillon, Trey. "Relationships' Types and Differences." IvyPanda, 21 May 2020,

1. Trey Dillon. "Relationships' Types and Differences." IvyPanda (blog), May 21, 2020.


Dillon, Trey. "Relationships' Types and Differences." IvyPanda (blog), May 21, 2020.


Dillon, Trey. 2020. "Relationships' Types and Differences." IvyPanda (blog), May 21, 2020.


Dillon, T. (2020) 'Relationships' Types and Differences'. IvyPanda, 21 May.

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