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© Love Matters | Rita Lino

Types of relationships

A relationship means different things to different people, and what makes one person happy could make another unhappy.

What sort of relationship do you want to be in? Marriage is important for many people, for example, but not everyone wants to get married. Some couples want to live together and spend a lot of time in each other's company, while others prefer to give each other more space.

Everyone manages relationships in their own way. It's important to make sure that you and your partner want the same kind of relationship and have similar expectations.

Committed relationships

Being in a committed relationship means deciding together on the rules of the relationship and accepting them. It normally means being loyal and ‘exclusive’ to each other. You don't make out or have sex with anyone except your partner.

Commitment isn’t just about sex though – there's also emotional commitment. This means being honest about your feelings for each other and trusting each other in all areas of life. It’s likely that you're in a committed relationship if you've been with the same person for a long time, made a mutual promise to be faithful, shared a room or a home, established close financial ties – or if you're married.

The easiest way to find out if you've managed to pass the commitment test is to have a talk about it with your partner. Evaluate what both of you want from the relationship and from each other. This honest and open discussion should show the level of commitment you have towards each other.

Read also: Signs you're falling in love

Open relationships

Couples who are in open relationships allow each other to date or have sex with other people. It means they're honest with their partners about sleeping with other people and ideally don't see it as a hindrance to their relationship.

There are different reasons why couples might agree to open relationships. Some people really believe in loving more than one person at the same time. Some are looking for the closeness of a steady relationship without giving up the thrill of new sexual experiences with other people. For others, it could be because of lack of sexual compatibility or living far away from each other. Or maybe they’d really prefer to split up, but because of circumstances – children, family, money – they choose to stay together but have other relationships too.

Some couples who find open relationships work out well for them. But many run into problems. It seems like an appealing idea at first, and you think you’ll be able to cope with the emotions. But in reality, there’s no avoiding it: you end up feeling jealous. This can damage the whole relationship.

The best thing to do before entering into an open relationship is to have a long talk about it and share your concerns and insecurities. Then it might be good to test the waters by seeing how it goes for an agreed period of time before making the final decision.

Live-in relationships

In some cultures, it's okay for couples to live together without being married. In Kenya, live-in relationships aren't a socially accepted norm, but more and more young, urban couples are choosing to live together anyway.

Partners may choose to live together without getting married for various reasons. It could be because they want to maintain their single status, or because of financial reasons or because they're gay and can't marry legally.

Many people also use live-in relationships to find out if they're comfortable living together before they get married. 

Live-in relationships need a lot of commitment and many couples who live together don't see themselves as any different from married couples. Many countries in the West give long-term live-in relationships the same legal status as marriages in case of separation.

Married relationships

Marriage is a legal union between two people and also signifies social acceptance of the relationship. In some cultures, two people can only start living together when they're married.

The decision to get married could be made by the couple, or their families could also be involved. When the couple falls in love first it's called a 'love marriage', and when parents and families set everything up it's called an 'arranged marriage'. Many marriages involve elements of both.

A marriage is usually celebrated with a wedding, and married couples often celebrate their wedding anniversary every year.

Did you learn something new?

Chika Mercy
Sun, 10/20/2019 - 08:27 pm
I met this guy online, for years now we've been communicating properly, encouraging each other and supporting each other's career. But we never meet one on one. After like 6years, he came to Lagos,we met. He likes me and loves him. But the issue there is that he told me he has a girlfriend whom he met at the camp before finishing his youth service this year (2019) and he don't want to hurt me. Though the girl in question resides in Enugu and both are graduates. I'm still schooling. Every time he keeps disturbing to visit him and each time I visit he demands for sex. We later had sex actually but I'm hurt and depressed seeing the way he advertise the girl on WhatsApp and call her in my presence. I've tried to let him go but he won't let me be. Please what should I do.

Hello Mercy, it appears you want or wanted different things from this relationship especially because he was already in another relationship as he had mentioned to you. All he seems to want from you is sex. It is unfortunate that you already had sex, all you can do now is to break it off and move on. Let him know your decision, be sure to be clear and firm. You may have to take more drastic measures to make it difficult for him to reach you which will also help you move on. Have a look at the following article for more tips;-

Hello Dicky, thank you for reaching out. Love is an intense feeling of deep affection towards another person.  Love is warm, it is kind and patient. Love is forgiving. Love is a feeling of a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone. 

Check this article for more information on what love is;-

If you feel this way about your partner, sex is but one aspect of your relationship, as long as you are both caring, loving, patient and respecting of each other, that is all that matters and sex will come when you both feel it is right. 

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 05:57 pm
I have never felt an attraction to any one before, not even a crush I don't know if I have a problem or if my standards are too high.

Hello PDavid, thank you for reaching out to us. Firstly, you do not have a problem, nor are your standards too high (there is no such thing!) . You probably haven't found the right person just yet and that is completely ok. Skim through this article for some advice thats right up your alley:

Love Matters Team

i have a boyfriend we have been for years living together with out getting married and we love each other as time goes on he begins to change when I ask him when are we going to see my parents he tell dis year the year will pass another he will say dis year and the year will pass that is what he kept doing now what will do

Hi Joy, thank you for reaching out to us and we are sorry you are going through a hard time. When it comes to matters of marriage, it is completely normal for partners to sometimes feel nervous or anxious about it. Keep in mind this is a life-long commitment that you will both be embarking on and though it is definitely exciting, approaching ones parents can be nerve-racking for fear of rejection or misunderstanding. As such, communication is an important part of any relationship. Have an open and honest conversation with your partner. Explain how their actions are affecting you and the relationship. Try not to be confrontational because that would put them on the defensive and the resulting conversation would not be productive.  Be ready to listen to their fears and feelings and respond to them as well. Furthermore, we are here to help guide you. Go through the following article with your partner and all the best :) Stay safe Joy and have a wonderful week ahead!

Hello Berry! Thank you so much for your lovely message and we really appreciate you! Feel free to go through more of our content to help you make more informed decisions and do not hesitate to get in touch with us in case you have any questions. Have a wonderful week and stay safe!

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