Here’s “Just the Facts,” a series where we scour Greatist’s archives for the most vital need-to-know nuggets on any given subject. It’s the no-noise info you gotta have, the way you gotta have it.
Relationships are a big part of our lives — from romantic to friendships, family, co-workers, and even the barista who knows your favorite drink. Each one is unique, and what constitutes a good kinship for one person will likely look different for another.
As social creatures, we need connections to help us thrive — but with so many variations, a bit of guidance is always welcome. So, here are 30 must-know facts to help you maneuver the wide (and often rocky) relationship waters.
We’ve rounded up some interesting relationship-related figures to break the ice.
1. 6 out of 10 people want to seal the deal
Whether your ideal wedding involves simply signing some papers down at City Hall or having a lavish bash with your entire crew, getting married is an experience that 60 percent (as of 2010) of people want to have.
2. 24 percent of people see social media as an unwelcome third wheel
Feel like your partner gives their scrolling more attention than they give you? You’re not alone: In fact, 24 percent of people think social media has a negative effect on their relationships.
3. Gettin’ jiggy 1.5 times a week is just fine
You don’t have to do it on the daily to keep a relationship going. Those in their 20s have sex on average 1.5 times per week, and research shows an extra weekly sex session doesn’t necessarily equate to greater happiness.
4. 25 percent of us are good at telling ghost stories
You’ve gone on a few dates, you think you have a connection, and then… nothing. Being ghosted makes you feel really crappy, and unfortunately happens more than you might think. Know that 25 percent of us have gone through it at one point.
There’s no such thing as a cookie-cutter relationship. They come in all different shapes, sizes, and flavors.
5. Practice eliminates peculiarity
Relationships stand on core values such as trust, commitment, kindness, and respect. And interpersonal connections aren’t limited to one other person. It’s important to understand their differences and be aware of the steps to successfully maintain them.
6. Giving boo-level attention to your bestie doesn’t have to be weird
As this writer found, platonic intimacy — where you lavish as much value and attention on your friendships as you do your significant other — can really enrich your life.
7. Going the distance is doable
A tip of the cap to the long-distance relationshipers. It’s tough, but as this article reveals, there are steps you can take to help keep the flame alive and boost your resilience as partners.
8. There isn’t one bi(nary) code
You may have heard that a bi-sexual individual is simply someone who’s experienced attraction with two genders. Reality check: There’s more to it than that.
9. Commitment doesn’t always need to be contained
Polyamory isn’t simply having many sexual partners without strings attached. In fact, it may still involve a solid commitment.
10. Only you can find your romantic north star
Categories like gender, age, race, and class are often used as lenses through which we can identify ourselves. Go ahead and add romantic orientation to the list. Check out what this means and how it can even influence your approach to dating.
Here are some nuggets to take with you before you dive head-first into the pool of luuurve for the first time.
11. There’s such a thing as a first date prep list
If ”Be yourself” is not the advice you’re looking for ahead of the first date with your new crush, panic not: These 12 fail-safe tips will see you through smoothly.
12. A dud first date doesn’t always mean the chances of a relationship have bombed
So, there were no fireworks during the first date. That doesn’t mean you should end it there: There are numerous reasons why a second date could be just the ticket to establishing a connection and seeing sparks fly.
13. Catching feels can make you forget yourself (not in a good way)
In the excitement of a new relationship, it’s easy to get caught up and lose track of your routine, friendships and even your beliefs (no judgement, we’ve all been there). But — along with these other self-care tips — it’s important to stay grounded and true to yourself.
14. Sliding into the DMs can lead you down a slippery slope
From sneaking looks at their texts, to constantly comparing yourself to their ex, we’ve rounded up 20 common dating habits to steer clear of.
To the relationship vets, here are some handles to help you keep perspective and good momentum to pull through rough patches.
15. There’s a six-essful path to a long-term relationship
There are six factors crucial to maintaining happy and healthy long-term romantic relationships. Unsurprisingly, sex is one of them, but what about the others?
16. Small love gestures can lead to big love gains
While date nights are important, they don’t always have to involve grand gestures or pricey activities. In fact, as one expert put it, partaking in smaller actions on a more frequent basis can be just as beneficial.
17. Doubts aren’t necessarily damning
While relationship doubts may arise over time — and can be unsettling — not all of them need to be a big cause for concern. Take a look at how to start resolving them.
18. Fireworks don’t last forever, and that’s OK
As time passes in your relationship well beyond the honeymoon stage, it’s natural for some fireworks to start to fizzle out. But knowing the difference between boredom and real problems is key.
Thanks to things like emotions and subtext, relationships can be full of conversational minefields. Keep these thoughts in mind, and you’ll find ways to keep your convos a lot sweeter.
19. Using a lighter tone encourages the best results
So, your partner left their wet towel on the floor after a shower (again) and you’re not gonna let it go this time. As the old saying goes: “It’s not what you say, but how you say it” — and, as experts reveal, taking a gentler approach is key to achieving a positive outcome.
20. A good argument > a bad fight
As much as we might wish things could be sweetness and light all the time, the truth is: People argue. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep things civil, healthy, and avoid doing damage to your relationship in the long term.
21. Opening up can help close the gap
Sometimes vulnerability can be seen as a weakness (especially in men). However, opening up emotionally can actually help bring you closer as partners.
22. A well placed mediator can be a secret sauce for your relationship
Relationship therapy isn’t just a final resort for when the Grim Reaper comes a-knockin’ for your relationship. In fact, checking in regularly with a professional is a great way to help keep lines of communication open and strengthen your bond.
As high as those relationship highs can be, there can also be some pretty hideous lows — but even the choppiest of waters can be successfully navigated.
23. Though it can sometimes feel like it, reclaiming control is never out of your reach
A controlling relationship can take many forms. Here’s how to identify them and find the path to freedom, as one writer reveals from her experience.
24. Sometimes the issue is you
Relationship self-sabotage is totally a thing, through behaviors such as withdrawal, jealousy, and clinginess. Here’s how you can recognize the concern.
25. Trojan horses can run rampant in your relationship
Psychologist Dr. John Gottman recognized ”the Four Horsemen,” aka negative behaviors, that can spell doom in any relationship. Grab the reins before things get away from you.
26. You can learn to break up better
From kicking off the awkward conversation to seeing a loved one hurting, breaking up is never easy. The good news? There are approaches you can take to help minimize the pain and fallout.
Being with others has positive impacts on our physical and mental states that extend well beyond butterflies and warm feelings.
27. Cuddling is like chocolate for your brain
Even if you aren’t normally the touchy-feely type, grabbing a blanket and cozying up with your partner encourages the release of dopamine and oxytocin in the brain — leading to feelings of pleasure and reward.
28. Puckering up keeps you in your prime
As if we needed another excuse to smack lips, kissing has been shown to alleviate everything from headaches and high blood pressure, to period cramps, and allergies.
29. Nothing beats partners in (well-being) crime
Studies show that being in a monogamous relationship can lower depression, improve your heart health and immunity levels, and even lower your cancer risk.
30. We get by with a little help from our friends
Rewards can come from platonic relationships, too: Spending quality time with pals aids in everything from lowering the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body, to reducing your risk of dementia.
We’re going to stop there, so we can go spend some quality time with our nearest and dearest. But hopefully, we’ve expanded your understanding of relationships, their importance, and doing what you can to ensure they run smoothly. And remember, if yours doesn’t look the same as someone else’s, that’s totally A-OK.
Chantelle Pattemore is a writer and editor based in London, UK. She focuses on lifestyle, health, beauty, food, and fitness.