Relationship(s): a connection, an association, specifically an emotional association between two people. (Oxford) A state of connectedness between people, objects, or events; to be associated or connected with something. (NCIt)

Partners in happy relationships tend to think in positive ways about each other. (Wood, 76) People who consistently use negative labels to describe their relationships heighten awareness of what they don't like. (Wood, 104) A sound relationship should include a sense of responsibility and commitment towards each other. (Dalai Lama, 103)

Complementary Relationships: a relationship between parties of unequal power. (Floyd, G2) Characterized by an unequal balance of power, such as a marriage in which one spouse is the decision maker. (McCornack, 290) 

Conflict: a process between two people who perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources, or interference in achieving their objectives. (McCornack, 286) A situation in which a person feels pulled between two or more opposing desires, motives, or goals. (Hockenbury, 480) A stressful condition that occurs when a person must choose between incompatible or contradictory alternatives. (Coon, 507) Occurs when two forces or outcomes compete with one another. (Bamford, 10/24/10)

Dysfunctional Relationship Beliefs: harmful illusions about romantic relationships that yield destructive outcomes, such as believing that if your partner sincerely loves you, he or she will automatically understand how you think. (McCornack, 349)

Equity: a theory predicting that a good relationship is one in which your ratio of costs and rewards is equal to your partner’s. (Floyd, G2) The balance of benefits and costs exchanged by you and a romantic interest that determines whether a romantic relationship will take root (after attraction is established). (McCornack, 332) Fairness based on the perception that both partners should invest roughly equally in a relationship and befit similarly from their investments. Perceived equity is a primary influence on relationship satisfaction. (Wood, 332)

Intimacy: a condition of close feelings shared between two people. Includes emotional intimacy and physical intimacy. (NCIt) Emotional bonding or union between ourselves and others. (McCornack, 242) One of three dimensions of enduring, committed romantic relationships. Intimacy refers to feelings of closeness, connection, and tenderness between lovers. (Wood, 333)

I-Thou: a way to perceive a relationship based on embracing fundamental similarities that connect you to others, striving to see things from others’ point of view, and communicating in ways that emphasize honesty and kindness. (McCornack, 14) Fully interpersonal communication in which people acknowledge and deal with each other as unique individuals who meet fully in dialogue. (Wood, 333)

Loyalty Strategy: a passive, constructive approach to a relational problem in which individuals rely on time rather than on open discussion to solve the problem. For instance, Paul and Nathan know they have problems with their bills but believe that in a few months they’ll spend more carefully and correct the budget. (McCornack, 347) Silent allegiance to a relationship and a person when conflict exists. Loyalty is passive and tends to be constructive. (Wood, 334)

Marriage: a sociological & anthropological concept. Different from “marital status.” (MeSH)

Marital Status: a demographic & statistical concept. Different from “marriage.” Includes marital state, divorce, widowhood, singleness. (MeSH)

Mixed-Status Relationship: association between people at different levels of power and status in an organization, such as a manager and a salesclerk. (McCornack, 418)

Neglect Strategy: a passive, destructive approach used to handle a relational problem whereby individuals may avoid each other, not speak, or complain about the problem without offering solutions. For example, when credit card bills arrive in the mail, Paul tears them open and rants about his and Nathan’s climbing debts, and Nathan finds excuses to be out of the house. (McCornack, 347) Denial or minimization of problems. Neglect is passive and tends to be destructive. (Wood, 334)

Relationship Devaluation: the realization that your partner doesn’t love and respect you as you expected. For example, Billie is deeply hurt to discover that Jake is also dating Sharon and lying about it. (McCornack, 351)

Relationship Dialectics: opposing tensions between ourselves and our feelings toward others that exist in interpersonal relationships, such as the tension between wishing to be completely honest with a partner yet not wanting to be hurtful. (McCornack, 327) Opposing forces that are normal parts of all relationships. (Wood, 335)

Relationship Goals: goals of building, maintaining, or terminating relationships with others through interpersonal communication. (McCornack, 21) Guidelines that friends or romantic partners have for their relationships. Usually, relationship rules are tacit, not explicit, understandings. (Wood, 335) Also referred to as 'relationship rules.'

Relationship Maintenance: efforts that partners make to keep their relationship in a desired condition. They may show devotion by making time to talk, spending time together, and offering help or support to one another. (McCornack, 342)

Relationship Stages: editor's note - stages as described by Steven McCornack in relationships between two people. Listed in common order of occurrence, but varies by individuals involved. (McCornack, 333-340) Editor's note - listed in order of usual progression.

Initiating: stage of relationship development when people meet and interact for the first time. (Floyd, G3) In which two people meet and form their first impressions of one another. For instance, Owen introduces himself in an e-mail to Ruth after reading her profile in an online dating site, and she responds with her telephone number. (McCornack, 334)

Experimenting: stage in which partners have conversations to learn more about each other. (Floyd, G2) Two people become acquainted by sharing factual information about themselves and making light conversation or small talk. They talk about their jobs and where they went to school, and they discover they both like jazz. (McCornack, 336)

Intensifying: stage when people move from being acquaintances to being close friends. (Floyd, G3) Characterized by deeper self-disclosures, stronger attraction, and intimate communication. For example, dating for more than a year and talk with excitement about a future together. (McCornack, 336)

Integrating:stage in which two people become a couple and begin to share an identity. For example, share an apartment together and spend time with one another’s families. (McCornack, 336) When a deep commitment has formed and there is a strong sense that the relationships has it’s own identity. (Floyd, G3)

Bonding: when partners publicly announce their commitment. (Floyd, G1) Stage in which an official, public ritual unites two people by the laws or customs of their culture. For example, Ruth marries Owen in her hometown church. (McCornack, 337)

Differentiating: stage in which the beliefs, attitudes, and values that distinguish you from your partner come to dominate your thoughts and communication. For example, arguing over whose family they are going to visit for Thanksgiving and how little time he has spent helping her fix up the house. (McCornack, 338) Stage of dissolution when partners begin to see their differences as undesirable or annoying. (Floyd, G2)

Circumscribing: stage of relationship dissolution characterized by decreased quality and quantity of communication between partners. (Floyd, G1) Partners avoid talking about topics that produce conflict.(McCornack, 339)

Stagnating: stage when couples are barely communication with each other. (Floyd, G4) For instance, day after day, they speak only to ask if a bill has been paid or what is on television, without really listening to one another’s answers. (McCornack, 339) 

Avoiding: stage in which one or both individuals in a couple try to distance themselves from one another physically. For example, changing jobs to have an excuse to travel away from home frequently. (McCornack, 339)

Terminating: stage in which one or both partners end a relationship. (McCornack, 339) The relationship is officially over. (Floyd, G6)

Symmetrical Relationships: relationships characterized by an equal balance of power, such as a business partnership in which the partners co-own their company. (McCornack, 290)

Workplace Relationship(s): any relationship with your supervisor, coworkers, or subordinates in a professional setting. (McCornack, 404)