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Cohabiting relationships continue to rise, with many partners considering cohabitation to be nearly as serious as, or a substitute for, marriage.LGBT, on the other hand, face unique challenges in establishing and maintaining intimate relationships.As emerging adults mature, they begin to develop attachment and caring qualities in their relationships, including love, bonding, security, and support for partners.

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.The strain of internalized homo-negativity and of presenting themselves in line with socially acceptable gender norms can reduce the satisfaction and emotional and health benefits they experience in their relationships.It is also still considered by many to occupy a place of greater importance among family and social structures. Many older people choose not to marry because of their age, financial and family obligations.They may be regulated by law, custom, or mutual agreement, and are the basis of social groups and society as a whole.

The study of interpersonal relationships involves several branches of the social sciences, including such disciplines as sociology, communication studies, psychology, anthropology, and social work.

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.

Steinberg defines love in terms of intimacy, passion, and commitment, which he claims exist in varying levels in different romantic relationships.

Fisher defines love as composed of three stages, attraction, romantic love, and attachment.

Wills and often reverse mortgages are in effect, and marriage would complicate the relationship.