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Interpersonal relationships are dynamic systems that change continuously during their existence.Like living organisms, relationships have a beginning, a lifespan, and an end.In ancient times, parent-child relationships were often marked by fear, either of rebellion or abandonment, resulting in the strict filial roles in, for example, ancient Rome and China.Freud conceived of the Oedipal complex, the supposed obsession that young boys have towards their mother and the accompanying fear and rivalry with their father, and the Electra complex, in which the young girl feels that her mother has castrated her and therefore becomes obsessed with her father.It can be used to avoid making an assumption about the gender or relational status (e.g.
Sibling relationships are affected by parent-child relationships, such that sibling relationships in childhood often reflect the positive or negative aspects of children's relationships with their parents.Romantic relationships may exist between two people of any gender, or among a group of people (see polyamory).The single defining quality of a romantic relationship is the presence of love. Hazan and Shaver define love, using Ainsworth's attachment theory, as comprising proximity, emotional support, self-exploration, and separation distress when parted from the loved one.Older women in particular face social, demographic, and personal barriers; men aged 65 and older are nearly twice as likely as women to be married, and widowers are nearly three times as likely to be dating 18 months following their partner's loss compared to widows.The term significant other gained popularity during the 1990s, reflecting the growing acceptance of 'non-heteronormative' relationships.
Psychological research has painted a much tamer picture.