Romantic relationships are a prominent part of many individuals’ social and emotional landscapes beginning in the second decade of life. Furthermore, the formation and maintenance of a harmonious romantic relationship is considered a hallmark developmental task in adulthood according to major theories of psychosocial development. Romantic relationships are both an outcome of earlier developmental processes and a context for development in their own right. This entry provides a life-span developmental perspective on romantic relationships. Romantic relationships are ongoing, mutually acknowledged, and voluntary dyadic relationships. Expressions of affect and physical intimacy (or the expectation of physical intimacy) characterize romantic relationships. Partners may be of the same or different sex. The following covers the epidemiology of romantic relationships, the genetic and environmental influences on romantic relationship outcomes, ...

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