Online course in Health & Psychology

Understanding Romantic Relationships

Get an introduction to romantic relationships, considering the types of relationship and the early stages of relationships.

Understanding Romantic Relationships

  • Duration 4 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours

Build a foundational knowledge of romantic relationships and how they start

Why and how do we choose a romantic partner, or partners? What challenges are faced in the early stages of a romantic relationship? What types of romantic relationship are there? Get answers with the first course in a series exploring romantic relationships.

You’ll learn about the types of romantic relationships people have around the world (including monogamy and polyamory), and understand how people make choices when they enter a relationship. You will explore research on attraction and mate selection, and consider processes and challenges in the early stages of relationships.

What topics will you cover?

  • Types of relationships from around the world, including monogamy, consensual non-monogamy (e.g., polygamy, polyamory), same-sex and different sex relationships, friends with benefits, “love” versus arranged marriages, and married versus unmarried committed relationships.

  • Deciding on the kind of relationship you want: pros and cons of singlehood, how relationship beliefs shape our goals, perceptions, and thoughts about relationships, balancing personal goals with cultural/social/family expectations.

  • The types of factors that influence attraction and where to meet partners: physical characteristics, personality, relationship goals and values.

  • Early relationship milestones and challenges: moving from initial attraction to dating to commitment, assessing compatibility with personal goals.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Identify different types of relationships that individuals have around the world.
  • Explore factors associated with the decision to enter a relationship, such as personal goals and social expectations.
  • Describe attractive. Students will learn what is considered “attractive” and how these perceptions vary (or not) across cultures.
  • Investigate in detail the theories and research about dating and early relationship milestones (e.g., sexual initiation).

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in relationships, you don’t need any previous experience of the subject.

Who will you learn with?

Jennifer Harman

Jennifer Harman

I am an associate professor of social psychology at Colorado State University. My areas of research are related to power and aggression in relationships, and on promoting healthier families.

Who developed the course?

Colorado State University, a land-grant institution and a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University-Extensive, is one of the United States’ leading research universities.