Bonding Principles Within Relationships

This treatise constitutes my analysis of relationships, primarily of the human "romantic" sort, much of this can apply to general relationships.

Bonding Requirements

1. Utility. How useful the person is to the other, what resources they can give in terms of usefulness, money and practicality, meeting needs, care and support, etc. Any relationship exists to satisfy a need or needs that only another entity can fulfil. The quality of a friend is how many of ones needs the friend satisfies. In humans needs include in-built emotional desires (requirements for happiness) caused by the drive to form a stable relationship for rearing a child.
2. Similarity. A commonality of ways of thinking and behaving, interests and ways of living. This promotes occasions where positive interaction can take place, as well as understanding. Common tastes are less important than sufficient understanding of someone to know how and why they react in particular ways because that creates a sort of unspoken communication that makes it easier to achieve pleasant interactions.
3. Emotion. A positive neurochemical sensation created by thoughts of and interactions with the person. In love, pleasing chemicals probably serve to promote neurological change for imprintation and are triggered by positive signs from the first two steps. Emotions primarily exist as a feedback mechanism that needs are being satisfied which is why empathy and sympathy are vital for maintaining relationships.
4. Imprintation. How used to the person one is. Extended regular contact with any person or thing leads to getting used to them or it, and that creates a bond which grows over time as neural pathways adjust to include the person. This sort of bonding is long term and encouraged by any regular positive interaction. In love, I suspect that the majority of neurological adjustment takes place during the emotion phase which is time limited because neurological growth is not needed forever; once the paths have adjusted to include the other person the changes are small, not requiring a flood of positive neurochemicals.

All of these things are created and reinforced by regular communication and interaction, which is made positive by having sufficient understanding, empathy and tolerance.


1. The satisfying of mutual needs is the most important factor in a relationship.
2. It's not necessary for two people to be alike providing that each understands how the other would react in a certain situation. This has implications for politics and the relationships between countries.
3. People who understand other people's behaviour are more likely to love. People with unpredictable or closed personalities would find it harder to locate a partner.
4. Meeting new people is pleasurable, particularly for people who can understand how other people think and behave. Intelligent empathic people tend to understand the personalities of those with less intelligence more easily; therefore intelligent empathic people are likely to have more lovers than unintelligent people.
5. Love emotion is not necessary for long term love, it just speeds up the imprintation process. Regular positive contact with anyone or thing can create long term love, even if the other ingredients do not match. This would be relevant in situations with a limited number of options. Two people on a desert island would eventually imprint and form a stable relationship, providing their interactions were more positive than negative.
6. As a population of available partners increases, the chances of locating someone that one can understand will increase and vice-versa. Thus, there is an optimal population for forming stable relationships which depends on the probability of a person locating another partner (which can vary according to social interaction and communication ability). Therefore communicationally isolated communities are likely to contain a higher proportion of stable relationships than communities that communicate and interact with large numbers of people.

Mark Sheeky, 25 July 2009